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 In addition to the above hurdles, has the process of learn- ing to fly become a bit too clinical? Perhaps my grandparents had similar thoughts concerning the big band sound vs. rock and roll. And no, I didn’t listen to Glen Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington or Tommy Dorsey on my Walkman. Admit- tedly, this impression of today’s flight training comes from an airline pilot near the end of a 30,000-hour career whose restricted radiotelephone operator permit says 1972. Also, my opinions and writings about aviation often lean towards the emotional gratification that flying elicits more often than aviating techniques or training.
Who’d-a-thunk that so many GA pilots would routinely fly single-pilot jets and prop-jets in the flight levels? GA airplanes have become more complicated in power, avionics, speed and the airspace environment in which we operate. The upside to a more clinical approach to training is our best-to-date situational awareness, access to real-time data (especially navigation, engine parameters and weather), fuel efficiency and our ever-improving safety record. And our safety record has occasionally been a newsworthy topic for the less technically informed public.
Train Wreck
A disaster or failure; a disorganized, problematic, or chaotic person or thing; an incongruous situation.
With cameras literally everywhere (including the prolifera- tion of inflight Go-Pro and snooping drones) and images and stories attained by them distributed worldwide in minutes or seconds, the last thing GA needs is bad press. While there were indeed some astonishing gaffes at Boeing, we could argue back-and-forth about the media’s part in the ground- ing of the 737 MAX. It used to be that the most dramatic of crashes was a train wreck. So much so as to create the metaphor of “train wreck” to describe the highest order of vivid, intense and dire of outcomes. The analogy could de- scribe everything from a bad marriage to an election, golf game or a ruined Thanksgiving dinner.
Due to air travel popularity and its elevation over (pun intended) train travel, the ambiance of relaxing train travel has succumbed to the sometimes tense and arduous, but high-speed and economical airlines. And now, videos (even TV shows) of sensational air disasters populate our media, becoming the new train wreck. But even so, “airplane wreck” doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as colloquially as does “train wreck.” So, the train wreck metaphor has wings (I couldn’t resist), and for now, a colloquial confrontation of metaphors will never leave the station (again, couldn’t resist).
Besides the effects of poor pilot performance on public opinion, we all understand the benefits of clinical-like train- ing: pilots and pilot hopefuls must navigate the expense to rent or buy, the cost of the aviation support system, hull, engine and liability insurance, time constraints, airspace restrictions, traffic congestion, a wide range of aircraft performance, and the time needed to learn all of the above. A clinical approach is more efficient. And we must take this approach because s*** (um, stuff?) happens in air- planes. We’ve all seen it (those that have and those that will), and the flip-side of the airplane romanticism coin is the
boogeyman side. At the very beginning of our flight training we didn’t know him very well – someone had to introduce us.
Remember When?
During the first eight to ten hours of flight instruction, we train students and experienced pilots in a new airplane about aircraft control, emphasizing airspeed, AOA, takeoff and landing, aircraft systems and failure modes of said systems, including engine failures. And we teach newbies how to talk on the radio because you can’t go anywhere these days without talking to “The Man.” This training regimen has been the case in every airplane I’ve flown from single-engine GA to Air Force trainers and fighters, to multi-engine transports.
Thankfully, some of the traditional, happy side of the coin celebrations of learning to fly, particularly the first solo, remain in practice: drenching the student with water or cutting off and displaying the back of his or her shirt. It’s a practice both instructors and students look forward to and is practiced around the world. After you have completed your flight, your instructor congratulates you and cuts off the tail of your shirt, which then joins other shirt tails on a wall of the school. The act of cutting the tail symbolizes your accomplishment and instructor’s faith that you can fly without needing help – and you know all about those traditions. But did you know...
Dead Bug
Another option is called the ice bucket challenge and is a more “exuberant” celebration. Alternatively, the pilot could be thrown into a swimming pool or dunk tank. In the military you may be tossed into a dunk tank, asked to eat a raw chicken egg, shell and all, or other dead or alive things (crickets, worms, ants, etc.) with and without
 The mighty M-10, Mooney Cadet.
January 2021 / TWIN & TURBINE • 23

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