‘Finer Points’ podcaster offers live online instruction

November 14, 2013

Taking a step further into the world of virtual flight instruction, CFII Jason Miller, best known for his weekly podcast, has begun offering a series of classes streamed live.

The Finer Points of Flying host launched TFP Office Hours in September. The 10-week series focuses on methods and systems for instrument pilots, and consists of lectures, workshops and labs, and knowledge review. The current session is closed, but a new session is slated for spring 2014, and registration for that session will open in December.

TFP Office Hours focuses on redundancy in the cockpit, helping pilots to use different visualization techniques to process information as it comes to them and stay ahead of the airplane, Miller said. “A lot of instrument pilots got great instruction on how to fly an approach, but often they’re not taught how to stay safe and ahead of the airplane holistically, as a system—as a way of processing the whole flight from beginning to end.”

General aviation would benefit by emulating commercial operators’ focus on redundancy, because it has a positive impact on safety, Miller said. Commercial operators analyze accidents and modify standard operating procedures in response, he said. “Effectively, they’ve whittled away danger,” he said. GA pilots read accident data, but they generally don’t modify their own procedures based on what didn’t work for someone else, he said.

Miller said he decided to try live streaming when the technology became viable. He had been wondering whether he could attract a percentage of the 5,000 or so pilots who download the podcast and view the weekly free video tip, he said. The first session attracted 40 enrollees, including a pilot from Australia.

TFP Office Hours may offer a separate VFR class as well as the instrument proficiency class in 2014. “I’m looking for potentially other instructors who have something they want to add and teach through this channel,” Miller said.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman | AOPA Technical Editor, AOPA

AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.