Unique, scenario-based ground and flight training with procedures developed from extensive research and analysis of accident data
Most fatal aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error. Many are caused by poor decision-making. Inadequate training, testing and experience have also contributed to a significant number of accidents. At American Air, we have studied thousands of accident reports and have developed life-saving ground and flight procedures not found in any textbook or video and they are not taught at any other flight school. We teach many unique procedures in each course. These procedures are designed to help you avoid getting into the situations described in the accident reports. Other procedures we have invented are designed to help you get out of tight situations. In recent years, a pilot flying out of DeKalb-Peachtree airport got disoriented in the clouds right after takeoff. He was instrument rated and the airplane had just suffered gyro failure in 2 of the instruments. The pilot struggled for 15 minutes to figure out how to fly with this malfunction and then lost control and crashed, killing all 4 people on board. A properly trained and tested instrument pilot would have no trouble handling this situation. When instrument failure occurs in the clouds, we call it partial panel instrument flying. Students should have several hours of partial panel flight training in the instrument course. The pilot on this flight had only logged 1 hour of training on partial panel in his entire instrument course.
Partial panel flying is required to be tested on the final FAA checkride for the instrument rating. A normal FAA instrument checkride would take over 2 hours of flying to complete. The FAA checkride flight for this pilot lasted less than 1 hour. It is obvious that he was trained at a “quick and cheap” school and went to a “Santa Claus” Pilot Examiner for his test.
This is an example of how shortened, less–expensive training and using a “Santa Claus” examiner can result in the possibility of having a fatal accident. At American Air, you will be trained for “worst-case” scenarios and practice these life-saving procedures several times until they become automatic. All of these scenarios are simulated in a safe training environment. You will typically get actual instrument weather flying experience in each course at American Air.
Extensive cross country, night and emergency training
At American Air, you will take at least 2 or 3 longer, more complex daytime cross country flights with your instructor than those conducted at most schools. You will also fly solo on at least 3 trips that are longer and more complex. Your longest solo flight will be from Atlanta, GA to Montgomery, AL to Huntsville, AL to Atlanta, GA. This trip requires you to circumnavigate around the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport airspace, enter radar airspace at Montgomery, mixing with airline traffic, navigating around Maxwell Air Force base, then through the Birmingham radar airspace, then into Huntsville radar airspace, landing on a 10,000 foot runway.
After that, you then navigate around a military restricted area and then return home. You are thoroughly trained and prepared for this before you make the trip. Every student at American Air has praised the benefits received from making this trip. This and all other cross country flights are custom-designed to maximize your training benefit. The FAA only requires 3 hours of night flight training for the Private Pilot course. This isn’t nearly enough night flying experience for most students to feel comfortable and competent. You will typically receive at least 8 – 10 hours of night flight training at American Air. This training includes advanced emergency simulations and night cross country navigation. Emergency simulations include vertigo, total electrical failure, no instrument or landing lights landings and more. We include night training in our other courses, such as Tailwheel airplane, Multiengine airplane and Instrument Pilot, even though the FAA and most schools don’t require this. Numerous emergency simulations are safely conducted and repeated several times. This gives you the opportunity to practice the procedures you would need to get out of trouble in many different scenarios. Many of these procedures are not in the textbooks or checklists and come from our accident research and procedure development. By repeating the procedures over and over, you will be able to quickly and correctly respond to each type of emergency. This level of work in emergency procedures is unique to American Air.
All of this training obviously requires more hours of ground and flight training then you would receive at an average flight school.
Spin avoidance, recognition and recovery
American Air provides this valuable training in the Private, Commercial and Flight Instructor courses. We require that each student pilot take this lesson before solo. Each year, several fatal stall-spin accidents occur in airplanes flown by pilots of all different levels of experience and certification.
In the 1970s, the FAA conducted an experiment with a mid-western aviation college. Students were divided into 3 groups. The first group was given in-depth spin avoidance and recovery ground school. This is the full extent of the training you get at most flight schools. The second group was given the ground training and a flight demonstration of a 2-turn spin and recovery by the instructor. A few schools go this far in spin training. The third group was given the spin ground school, an in-flight demonstration and then each student performed a spin and recovery with verbal direction from the instructor. Afterwards, students from each of the 3 groups were put in a spin by an instructor and told to recover without any further input from the instructor. Only students from the 3rd group were able to make a satisfactory recovery without help from the instructor. This confirmed to the FAA that they should require spin training in the Private Pilot course. However, upon researching how many instructors in the industry were competent to teach this lesson and how many training aircraft were approved for the maneuver, the FAA determined that it was not feasible to require it. At American Air, Steve Shaner conducts this lesson in our Super Decathlon – a fully aerobatic airplane. Steve has been teaching basic and advanced aerobatics for thousands of hours and he ensures that this lesson is always conducted safely. All of the students at American Air who have completed this lesson have stated that they were very glad they had this experience and they felt much safer and confident as a result. One of Steve’s former students rode along on a flight with a student from another school one day and the other student accidentally got into a spin and couldn’t recover. Steve’s student took over and made the recovery, saving her life and the life of the other student. The spin training you receive in this lesson at American Air is very comprehensive and is completed when you perform a 10 – turn spin and recover without the instructor having to assist you. The spin flight work is conducted at a high, safe altitude and each exercise is performed with the permission of the student, to ensure the student remains comfortable during the flight. Many students also find this lesson to be really fun!
Exceptionally thorough and timely maintenance on the aircraft fleet
American Air has partnered with Lanier Flight Center (LFC) on rental aircraft and shares in the use of Lanier Flight Center training aircraft. Lanier Flight Center provides recent – model Cessna aircraft for training and rental and these aircraft are exceptionally well – maintained. American Air also operates its own Super Decathlon for aerobatic and tailwheel training.
You will enjoy the dependability of these well-maintained airplanes and appreciate the higher level of safety you feel when flying in them. When the slightest maintenance discrepancy arises, LFC will provide timely maintenance and get it fixed right. LFC does more thorough inspections than the FAA requires. LFC is one of the few aircraft rental facilities in Georgia that has its own maintenance facility. Only the airplanes in their rental fleet are serviced in their maintenance hangar by their mechanic, so they always get top priority. The same maintenance attention on the Super Decathlon is given by American Air at its facility. American Air uses a 3-tier maintenance monitoring system to assure that no inspections or parts replacement requirements slip through the cracks. This is an unusually thorough system for a flight school. At American Air, you will also enjoy flying in an airplane that is washed, waxed and vacuumed regularly. Another feature at our school is the supply boxes we keep out on the ramp near the airplanes.
Windshield cleaning materials and oil supplies are readily available next to the airplanes for last-minute maintenance attention before a flight. These boxes are accessible to both employees and customers.