While sitting in commercial aviation ground class the other day, I was listening to a point in the lecture about NDB approaches, and their inherent irrelevance. However, Mr. Adams proceeded to explain how they are still used heavily in places such as the Middle East, and the Caribbean. In the back of my mind, I shuffled through the handful of instructors I had received training from, and each of them telling me at some point that ADFs and NDBs are somewhat useless to study and master since I would not be using them. However, here I was faced with real opportunities in the world to use this skill.
This got me really thinking of all the points a person could miss while they are trudging through all their certificates and ratings of flight training. A pilot learns everything he does almost as an apprentice to his instructors. Therefore if the instructor did not understand a concept or skill throughout his career as a student/teacher, or considered it unimportant, the pilot would never learn it either.
Thus a pilot really is at the mercy of the instructors he receives in his short time flight training. It’s important to strive to understand as much as possible, and ask questions throughout training- even if the instructor does not bring it up. After all, one day you will be responsible for knowing all the information and skills that that card or piece of paper on your person represents. Since realizing this, I myself have written down a list of concepts I have always been a little half-sure about, and have made an effort to research them/understand them more fully. It has been a worthwhile exercise and I would really recommend it.
Thanks for reading, and next week I will share photos a friend took of my first flight in the Piper Seneca.