King Schools, after evolving its content delivery for more than 40 years—from in-person delivery using chalkboards and overhead transparencies, to distance learning with VHS tapes that later transitioned to CDs and DVDs—has said goodbye to discs.
“We have followed two rules that have kept us relevant over more than 40 years,” said John King, co-founder and co-chairman. “We have always given a mechanism for feedback. At the same time, we became very responsive to feedback.” When courses were delivered on VHS tapes, blue postcards were provided, he noted. “The second thing that we’ve done is kept up with the technology. We have gone completely online for delivery of pilot courses. This has happened head-spinningly fast.”
“We’ve always had the philosophy that if you’ve got 15 minutes, you can take a lesson,” said King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila. The change eliminates the frustration of installing software on a personal computer. Online courses can be accessed by any tablet or smartphone, as well as by computer. The free King Companion App allows customers to download and take lessons offline; progress is automatically synchronized with King Schools’ servers when an internet connection is restored and then is immediately visible from all other devices. The courses are available online.
King’s new Online Aviation Library puts more than 85 aviation books, manuals, reference materials, and other resources into one online package. The library, which retails for $79, will be continually updated and provides lifetime access with no annual subscription charge. In addition, new private pilot and instrument rating equipment kits have been updated; they retail for $49 each.
The most recent online edition of King Schools’ Cessna Flight Training System—which has always been restricted to Cessna Pilot Center (CPC) flight schools—is now available to any flight school, college, high school, or individual flight instructor. All the included courses are Part 141-approvable. A highlight of the system is the iOS apps for both student and instructor. “The course tracking application keeps track of what the student is studying, as well as their training,” John King said. “[Instructors] can even update training records in the aircraft.” Changes will synchronize automatically when the iPad or iPhone connects to the internet.
“Previously you had to be a CPC to take advantage of this,” Knutilla said, noting the system’s “audit for completion” function, which quickly shows what must be finished to complete training. “I think that’s an incredible capability for flight instructors,” he added. The company is monitoring devices using its online courses, and while the flight training system apps currently are offered only for the iPad and iPhone, Android versions “may come in the future.”
“Flight schools that use the Cessna Flight Training System can offer a consistent, high-quality training experience to any customer from zero experience all the way to being able to earn money and build time as a flight instructor,” Martha King said. “The portability of the courses across multiple devices, including an offline option through the iPad app, are designed for the digital online environment that our pilots now live in.”
Pete Muntean of Washington, D.C., was presented the King Schools and National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) 2017 CFI scholarship at the 2018 Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In and Expo. The scholarship consists of $5,000 toward flight training and free, lifetime access to all King Schools courses, including lifetime FIRCs. Its estimated value is more than $18,000.
A CFI since September 2017, Muntean is actively teaching. He also covers transportation as television news reporter for WUSA9 in Washington. “He’s going to use his scholarship to get his instrument instructor,” Martha King said.
In his scholarship application essay, Muntean wrote, “I was 18 years old on October 14, 2006, when I watched my mother, aerobatic pilot Nancy Lynn, crash and burn at an air show. Her sudden death not only orphaned me, it attacked my once immeasurable excitement about flying. Having soloed exactly two months prior, I considered quitting flying altogether. I was stunned.
“In the years since, I have found the only antidote to the trauma—the fear, guilt, and doubt—is by flying. I became a private pilot less than a year after the crash, earned an instrument rating in 2008, and a commercial rating in 2011. Through practice I have gained perspective. Through continued training I have gained confidence.”
“Pete has a demonstrated ability to overcome adversity and inspire others,” John King said. “He is a fabulous communicator. He will make profound and lasting contributions to the aviation community.”
“Pete exemplifies what it means to give back to aviation,” said Robert Meder, NAFI chairman. “To be able to overcome a traumatic personal tragedy and turn it to something positive is a tribute to both his courage and his mother’s legacy. Through his example, Pete Muntean is a mentor to us all.”
Applications for the 2018 NAFI/King Schools scholarship will become available in August 2018.