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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Supplemental Training Material

How Good Is Your Training?

Last week I shared a book by David Kern, Introduction to Fly-By-Wire Control Systems, to help pilots understand the fly-by-wire aircraft. There became quite a debated on who is responsible for training, that began with the following comment: 

"Writing books trying to explain or teach airplane systems should be the sole business of the manufacturer, the airliner operator and the official training provider."

Who is Responsible?

During my research I queried pilots on performance, training, passion, manual flight and safety culture. I had asked the pilots surveyed if they used supplemental training information such as study guides, notes from friend and or on-line training material beyond company provided materials, and was it necessary.    

As it turned out, of the 7,490 pilots spanning the globe who responded, 80% stated that they had used supplemental training information during their initial checkout, and 50% of those pilot’s said that supplemental information was necessary. 

What would happen if those pilots relied on the company training manuals and aircraft system's manual if those weren't enough? 

Is it the responsibility of the pilot to get what they need on their own if the airline's training is substandard and the systems manuals don't improve understanding? And if pilots are not writing these books, where will the pilots find the needed information? Level of understanding is the key to operational performance... more so in a Fly-By-Wire aircraft. I want to applaud all those who help fill that void with your writing. 

Pilots Need More Training, Not Less
When a Computer is Involved

What do you think?

If you're interested in the results and more... check out:

Normalization of Deviance A Threat to Aviation Safety! 

Fly Safe! Never Stop Learning! 
Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727


  1. Isn’t this obvious? The more you have, the better you will become surely…..

    1. One would think! But there are pilots arguing that we must only read the manufacturer and company manuals. But someone astutely reminded us of the pilot who refused to listen to the other pilots at American, because the manual said so... and he jammed the rudder in with turbulence and broke off the tail. That should explain to all that company procedures are not necessarily correct.

  2. Line pilot's training aid should be restricted to better explanation of OEM procedures or concepts. They cannot ammend them. If something looks odd it's better to suggest seek clarification from OEM. A small change may look inoccuos for an airline in Korea but it may have caused an incident in Argentina. As OEM they are globally connected and are in position to advice. Besides the software, the hardware, test flights data that goes into systems which affects operations is not available to the user. So procedural changes should not be attempted even by Airlines.

    1. Vilas, I have yet to see a training guide that amends the manual. That appears to be a misconception among many. And nobody is giving "procedural" changes... those are standard operating procedures. These study guides are giving expanded explanation of the systems. I suppose it takes a learning mind to want to expand their knowledge and open one of those books to see what it is. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Karlene,

    More is better, no matter who the source is, be it manufacturer, company or 3rd party.

    In 2002 when I was awarded an A320 bid it was US Airways practice, that at pilot request, Publications would FedEx all trainings material overnight. In addition, I asked friends currently on the "Bus" if there was anything else I might need. I obtained notes written by fellow US Airways pilots, Eric Parks, Bob Sanford and the commercial DVD product "Red Triangle".

    Although US Airways had created an excellent training program in & of itself, the supplemental info I had, made all the difference. I was able to absorb & retain far more and at a greater level of understanding because of those additional materials. The course was far from easy but compared to my three classmates, I breezed through the course, while they struggled, burning the midnight oil to 2am five days a week fortified with Red Bull. By the end of ground school they looked like zombies.

    Savas Uskent is of course entitled to his opinion but I believe that opinion to be narrowminded, naive, foolish & dangerous.


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