Learning to fly, i.e. to Operate an Aircraft 2

«The objective of all true learning is behavioral changes» was a written in the manual when I learned to be a flight instructor. This is at least true when it comes to learning physical skills like piloting an aircraft.

There are 3 stages in the learning process: Raw coordination – Fine coordination – Automation. The last step is the goal which is that the correct behavior is just performed without conscious thinking. We do this when riding a bike or driving a car.  It is detrimental that the correct behavior is practiced from the start. To achieve that it is not important that the performance limitations are within the desired parameters as long as “the right thing” is done. For example, that the student is not capable of maintaining the desired maximum deviations from heading and altitude in straight and level flight is not important as long as the student is doing the correct corrections when deviating. Being within the required limitations will come in the fine coordination. Sometimes acceptance of wrong performance is accepted in the process to save time or achieve student satisfaction. That is wrong and will only delay the student´s progress. One need to go back to “square one” by first de-learning the wrong behavior and then start learning the correct behavior. “The shortcut is longer” is a good reminder to that extent!

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