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Redbird introduces GIFTRedbird introduces GIFT

Program makes sim learning more fun and engagingProgram makes sim learning more fun and engaging

Redbird Flight Simulations is offering student pilots a GIFT: Guided Independent Flight Training is the company’s latest advancement in simulator-centric training.

Redbird founder Jerry Gregoire announces the flight simulator company's GIFT curriculum that challenges students with certain simulated flight maneuvers during EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 23. Photo by David Tulis.

Coming up with creative and productive ways to use a simulator has always been a challenge for pilots and flight instructors. Instrument training is fairly straightforward, but beginning students often are at a loss with how to use the devices.

GIFT is an attempt to solve that problem. The course uses new software to drive the sim and deliver the course. Short video segments introduce basic flight training concepts, such as stalls, steep turns, and even takeoffs and landings. The student can then get into the sim and practice the maneuver under the guidance of the virtual instructor.

Redbird’s Josh Harnagel said the system isn't meant to replace traditional training. “The goal is not to replace instructors, it's to supplement instruction.”

AOPA had a chance to preview the software in Aviation Adventures’ Manassas, Virginia-based FMX and found it to be engaging and instructive.

Redbird engineers have cleverly designed the lesson feedback to promote more seat time. Each lesson is scored in the program and instantly uploaded to the student's profile in the cloud. Assuming they don’t crash, students generally get a passing score. But it’s very difficult to get a perfect score, and that keeps students coming back for more.

GIFT covers virtually all the private pilot maneuvers, and Harnagel said future courses are planned for instrument training as well. Customers will be able to purchase the course online, or through their flight school. Included in the kit is a USB flash drive that will enable the user to gain access to any FMX with proper installed equipment, which Harnagel says is the vast majority of the fleet. Students will need only an Internet-connected device to drive the simulator.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

"Flight Training" Editor
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
Topics: Flight Training, Learn to Fly, EAA AirVenture

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