Technology and digital tools have completely transformed aviation, especially at the level of busy IFR flying.  The current “digital magic” available in the panel or on a tablet is both continually amazing and increasingly challenging for the pilot (and CFI) to master. On a recent charter flight I was cleared “GPS direct” all the way from South Carolina to Texas on the magenta line! We could “see” the weather ahead on Nexrad and access all the ground station weather (and airborne traffic) on ADS-B; what an amazing privilege. As pilots flying in a busy IFR world, we have a mandate to master these technological tools so we can fly (and teach) with increased efficiency and safety. (See the recent NTSB alert on utilizing traffic avoidance technology)

My personal opinion is that mastering technology is especially critical for flight instructors and examiners. Unless a CFI is fully comfortable in the operation of the newest technology, they cannot efficiently teach and evaluate the use of these new aviation tools. Watching the younger pilots teach their CFIs how to survive with an iPad is unacceptable and unprofessional in modern aviation education. (I go back a ways but I remember an older CFI that had not yet mastered the “new fangled VOR receiver”) It is easy to get “out of date” in modern aviation. I would encourage all pilots and especially CFIs to become fully literate in the use of modern aviation technology. But of course the question is how can you achieve this level of comfort and mastery without an expensive flight school intervention?

pilotworkshopslogoThe courses through Pilot Workshops provide an excellent training on modern technology and provide exposure to the busy piloting environment. The recent IFR Focus series is fantastic and has excellent video on flying with modern technology. SAFE members can join Pilot Workshops FREE (waive the $199 member fee), just log into the member portal. There are courses from “stick and rudder” right up through complex GPS/IFR approaches.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-2-42-38-pmThough there are  many excellent iPad platforms, ForeFlight is the most popular app for integrated flight planning and navigation on the iPad. ForeFlight was early into the aviation game and continues to improve with each new release; now System 8. (SAFE members receive a 33% discount on the member portal). But though ForeFlight is a very intuitive platform, it is comprehensive and I still see far too many pilots, and especially older CFIs, fumbling through the operation of this app. For safety and efficiency, I would highly recommend a new course from The Modern Pilot we are now happy to provide at an incredible discount to SAFE members.

themodernpilotlogoThe Modern Pilot has developed an all-new online video training course “ForeFlight Power User” available at a discount to SAFE members. After years at ForeFlight answering questions and providing support, this veteran employee (and SAFE member) has established an independent business and created a very thorough ForeFlight video training course. It helps that he is an experienced CFII and CSIP and experienced educator. This course grew out of years of experience answering questions and writing support e-mails and is driven by real user needs. For only $67 SAFE members get the full 27 videos and a full year membership to the forums. This offer also includes a 33% reduction on all future courses. Compared to anything in aviation, this is a bargain.  SAFE members just log into the member side of our website and access this valuable new benefit. To be a professional pilot (and CFI) it is essential to not merely *survive* with technology. It is essential to be fully “pilot in command” of these technological tools. Use this opportunity to become a confident “ForeFlight Power User”.

Please “follow” our SAFE blog to receive notification of new articles. Write us a comment if you see a problem or want to contribute an article. We are always seeking more input on aviation improvements and flight safety. There are many highly qualified aviation educators out there! If you are not yet a SAFE member, please Join SAFE and support our mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits alone make this commitment worthwhile and fun. Lastly, use our FREE SAFE Toolkit App to put pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smart phone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Working together we make safer pilots!

About the author 

David St. George (Lifetime Member)

David St. George learned to fly at Flanders Valley Airport in 1970. Proving that everyone is eventually trainable, he became an FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor for airplanes (single and multi, instrument, and glider) and serves the Rochester FSDO as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. In this capacity, he gives flight tests at any level from sport pilot to ATP and CFI. For 25 years David was East Hill Flying Club's 141 Chief Instructor and manager. David holds multi and single engine ATP pilot certificates, with pilot ratings for glider and seaplane and several jet type ratings. He recently earned his 13th renewal as a Master Instructor and owns an Aeronca Champ so he can build hours for that airline job!

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