Who's the real Turkey?? — Thanksgiving Touch & Go's — Artificial Intelligence stands no chance against Natural Stupidity

C172 — N66213 — North Perry Hollywood, FL — T&Go's, Full Stops/Taxi back, Gusty Winds, 7 Landings — 0.9 hrs

More T&G's madness for the holiday season. I was invited to a big ThanksGiving dinner with my Instructor Boss, who shortly into it got piss drunk, and started crying (at 60 odd years old he was) in front of must have been 35 bewildered guests, babbling about how his mother (sitting right next to him equally bewildered) was always there for him, and if it wasn't for her he would have never flown a plane at all, drool, drool drool, on and on. Oh, what a scene. I was almost moved by the experience... right out of Florida. But settled for a short escape to the bathroom to get a break from it all.

But in reflecting on the experience, I am reminded of just how many truly stupid things go on, just in the world of aviation alone.

I mean think about this; With NDB's being decommissioned as obsolete, and GPS navigation as the unofficial standard of GA, and all the new technology in the world such as guys have been flying exclusively iPads for years and years, the FAA still requires us students to be able to fill out a old-school Flight Log sheet with all calculations done by hand, and know how to use an E6B* slide calculator (which I find fascinating, really. See my E6B blog...) for many flight calculations that one can ready do in their head, rounding off the numbers a little, and learn ADF navigation (which I also dig, really).

Reality Check, you spend 3 hrs planning for a flight that lasts an hour... Or, you're up there in the cockpit lost, and running low on fuel... Oh yeah, check the (paper) Sectional for the nearest NDB and break out the archaic antiquated E6B and start devoting your cockpit attention to the formulas of where you are. Right. Sure. U-huh. NOT!

I mean in reality, even without all the Sim experience i have, even a low-hour rookie pilot like me has typically already many many times tuned the GPS and flown right thru even marginal VFR with complete confidence as to where I am, where I'm going, and when I'm gonna get there. It's TODAY's technology. I know many a pilot who don't even remember how to fly a VOR radial at all, and rely 100% exclusively on their iPad GPS apps as their primary and ONLY means of navigation. They don't even plan anything. Wake up in the morning and pull the curtains to see if it's a reasonably sunny day, and jump in the cockpit and away they go. Nothing further. Not smart, but happens all the time.

My argument is not to abandon all traditional navigation as obsolete, as obviously you always need a primary and secondary navigation system, in case the primary goes inoperable or unusable for any reason. And the more you know the better. But USEFUL stuff...

My argument is the materials of learning how to fly---IN TODAY'S WORLD---should include far less archaic methodology that is not used ever, and far more contemporary methodology that is actually used in the real world of current aviators.

*Oh, no, don't take my word for it. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia, on the E6B:

"An E6B flight computer commonly used by student pilot.These are mostly used in flight training, because these flight computers have been replaced with electronic planning tools or software and websites that make these calculations for the pilots."
Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E6B

[Again, don't get me wrong, as I'm fascinated with the E6B, and think it's great. See my blog on the E6B...]

Lastly, to further the point, VFR is not always the environment we find ourselves flying in. Only a stupid pilot flies into the face of bad weather being unprepared. But even for Private Pilot licence, we are required to do 3 hours of IFR Instrument-only training, to ensure we are somewhat prepared for that IFR conditions eventuality. Only 3 hours. Seems very little to me. Getting lost at night requires a very good familiarity with both several means of navigation AND flight controls where there is no horizon visible out there, nor even the ground. Just black space. Now what? Break out the E6B slider? Not likely.

Stupid. Naturally.