Remote flight instruction provides a way to safely resume flight training worldwide, but it comes with a learning curve for student pilots and flight instructors alike. To ensure that training quality does not decline, students and instructors first should decide how to configure their Redbird simulator to make the most of remote sessions. At a minimum, flight training programs should take the following steps to begin instructing remotely.
- Use a Redbird training device at your flight school or home for each session. Realistic flight controls and instruments are highly preferable for remote training.
- Select a video-conferencing platform with your flight instructor and run the application using a smartphone or tablet.
- Mount the smartphone or tablet on a tripod where your instructor would typically sit. Over a video call, ask your instructor to help you adjust the frame and the height of the camera to fit your instructor’s preferences.
- Use two displays for every remote session: one that shows the live video feed of the student and another that gives you critical flight information. You can use a laptop and a tablet, a computer with two monitors, or whichever multi-display configuration that you prefer. Just make sure that you don’t have to switch between tabs to see the student and the flight information.
- Ask students to focus their camera on the flight controls. More than likely, it will be too challenging to get a clear view of the controls and the avionics simultaneously in a live video. Use the video stream for the student’s hand flying and get the information you need from the instruments elsewhere.
- Ideally, your other display should allow you to use an instructor station for the simulation environment and see students’ airspeed and altitude information, their location on a moving map, and so on. However, if your students need to use a non-certified home flight simulator for the session, then you can ask them to share their screen to get a better view of the instruments.
- If you have access to an instructor station, then you also should be able to control the simulation mid-session, including setting and changing weather, initiating failures, pausing and unpausing flights, and repositioning aircraft. Without access to these tools, you will need to be creative. Scripting scenarios before each session—and perhaps adding a few layers of complexity—will help keep flights engaging and challenging.
- Identify and distribute outside learning materials before each session, such as online lessons, video demonstrations, simulator exercises, and articles. More than ever, your students should come into sessions having already learned as much as they can about the lesson.
- If possible, use all your usual tools to debrief over video conferencing.
Both the student and instructor also will need a stable internet connection. Video conferencing platforms likely will require the most bandwidth of any application, so check for internet speed recommendations from those providers.
Technology can be the best friend or the worst enemy of a remote flight simulator session, so think through what you need to make the experience as smooth as possible. Instructors or flight school staff should have a video call with students before their first lesson to get all the equipment set up properly.
Redbird Flight Simulations
Established in 2006 to make aviation more accessible, Redbird has delivered more than 2,000 innovative, high-quality simulators to flight schools, universities, K-12 schools, and individual pilots around the world. Redbird designed Guided Independent Flight Training (GIFT), a simulator-based, AI-powered, maneuvers training supplement to help pilots achieve their aviation goals faster and for less money. For more information about GIFT, please visit gift.redbirdflight.com.