Teaching aviation to children

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by airheadpenguin, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. airheadpenguin

    airheadpenguin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This last weekend my 9 year old who previously showed 0 interest in aviation and fought against going flying decided he liked MSFS when we were at the NH Aviation Museum in Manchester.

    He loves it and is working through the lessons that MSFS provides as missions in the program. When I started my pilot training, the Jepp private pilot book was a crash course in all of the science classes I'd taken in HS and some of college. Since he doesn't have that background its clearly not a place to start and the AIM is a mix of practical like this is how you fly a pattern, and navigation with other more advanced concepts this seems a bit beyond what he needs to enjoy MSFS at this point.

    The goal is to give him enough to understand what MSFS is asking him to do and possibly get him interested in aviation for real. What other resources are out there and appropriate for young aviation students?
     
  2. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    NASA, EAA, FAA and Civil Air Patrol all have age-specific aviation material. NASA & FAA in particular are excellent, besides, it's your tax dollars at work, and well worth the money, too! Unfortunately, CAP age begins at 12, so it may be too advanced.

    Sporty's: https://studentpilotnews.com/

    EAA: (sponsored by Sporty's)
    https://ye.courses.sportys.com/ye/y...VxB6tBh3TPgQLEAAYASAAEgKOCvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    https://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson236.shtml

    FAA: https://www.faa.gov/education/

    NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/stem/about.html

    Disclaimer:
    I was a NASA Faculty Fellow @ JPL/Caltech in the early 90s, working on the Mars Program. One aspect of our work was to bring the education knowledge back to our home base.
     
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  3. airheadpenguin

    airheadpenguin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is a big help for the broad topics in FAA written prep, the thing I'm struggling with is that at his level its all about the tactical aspects of flying the plane.

    Things like simplified materials that a 9 year old can grok around aerodynamics to teach why you need back pressure in a turn to keep from losing altitude for example.
     
  4. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    One of the reasons Young Eagles aren't encouraged to go thru the Sporty's online school until they're 12 or so is just for this reason. It's difficult for younger to understand basic aerodynamics - this is not a trivial topic, as you know, but a combination of physics and math that (quite candidly) can baffle adults, too.

    One approach I've taken in the past (but requires lots of space outside!) is putting an small weight on the end of a cord and swinging it around your head. Slow swinging, the weight doesn't go very high. Fast swinging, it goes to the same level as the hand swinging it. It's the beginning of teaching vectors and centripetal force and stuff.
     
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  5. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Way back in 1971 Barry Schiff published a little book called Flying. I was instructing at the time and thought it would be an excellent text to use as the basis of a youth or Scout education program, integrating with our school's GAT-1 simulator. Unfortunately we were never able to put the program together.

    I still have the book. Though the sections on ATC, airspace, regulations, etc., are well out-of-date, the basics of airmanship are covered intelligently and in a manner easily understood by your son's age group. I recommend it. It is available via third-party sellers through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Barry...ds=Barry+Schiff+flying&qid=1575583375&sr=8-13

    Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 3.12.10 PM.png

    (Coincidence -- the Yankee N5605L in the photo on the title page of the book was on our flight school's line at the time, and one of my students bought it from us.)

    Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 3.43.37 PM.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  6. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route

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    KLNS is having a fly in for young aviators this Saturday through the FAA
     
  7. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    When I was 12ish, I was pouring through U.S. Army Air Corps training manuals that were probably left over from WW-II
     
  8. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I don't think it has to be very formal, just talk about things as they come up.

    My kids picked up the lingo from a young age. They go to airport diners, they sit in airplanes, they have panel posters above their beds. They have Hot Wings toys and I read them The Little Airplane by Lois Lenski. I just ebayed a 90s copy of Jane's All The World's Aircraft... for the children, of course.

    It wasn't until recently, though, that my 7yo started asking good questions about what things actually meant, both aerodynamic and regulatory. I've had good conversations with him during a 2 hour flight ("what does that do?"), and we've had fun doing fantasy league flight planning with an EFB together. The questions fall out pretty naturally either way: airspace, cruising altitudes, terrain concerns, navaids, cloud clearances, the four forces...

    Speaking of the four forces... if you get a Green Toys airplane, you can jam a pencil into the cockpit and make a lift vector...
     
  9. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    "Hot Wings" - didn't know that was a 'thing' outside of a grocery store/restaurant.
     
  10. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

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    yeah, I'd tend to agree.... of course you know him, but it's likely that "too formal" or "too much" would be a turn off for a lot of kids anyway. The kid might just want to have fun. I'd think just being available to talk and answer as things come up...and something I struggle with doing is letting him do the discovering.

    I'm reminded of a little podcast a few years back when I was heavy into be a scouter, about a concept I think applies here.
    https://scoutmastercg.com/podcast-316-scouting-is-discovery/
    if your interested, scroll down the page a bit and you'll see a link to skip ahead to the "story" at 9:25
    Scouting is Discovery [9:25]
     
  11. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Look up the 1940s Air Age Education series for kids...
     
  12. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    As a teacher of high school kids, and a parent, just foster his curiosity. He's only nine. There are lots of aviation related things you can play with. Foam gliders, kites, maybe consider RC planes which is a great father/son hobby. Visit a local RC airport if possible first just to watch and see how he reacts. Maybe ask a pilot if your son can try it out. Flying an RC plane actually does lend to pilot skills. Simulators are available (free and paid) but you will need to invest some money in that if you choose to pursue it. Send him to NASA's space camp (pricey), or visit aviation museums or a planetarium. Take him to every airshow you can. Try Kerbal, or other simulators. People who like to fly tend to like technical things in general, or machine types of things. Building something like a soapbox derby car (or whatever) engages the brain activity a future pilot might employ. How about model rocketry? That's another fun father/son hobby. My daughters thoroughly enjoyed chasing after the poorly aimed rockets we used to build and launch. Whatever you do don't hand him a frickin' flying handbook and assign readings. In summary, I personally think hands-on activities build a stronger connection. Another suggestion, non-aviation related, is to get him on a Lego Robotics League which are geared to his age group. Google FLL if you like and see if you can find local teams. I mentor a high school robotics team and the kids get a lot of hands-on engineering and troubleshooting time. This builds towards that pilot mindset. I have two professional mechanical engineers that mentor my team, and both are flying buffs. Neither has a license, although they both work for aviation-related companies (Boeing and General Atomics).

    Offer up different things, and see if he enjoys it. If he doesn't respond, then move to something else. And in the end, if he doesn't like flying, who cares? Give your full support to whatever he ends up pursuing.

    Kids have to find their own love for things. There's a difference between encouraging and "forcing". Not saying you are at all, but some parents do and it wrecks it forever. Sometimes it works, but that is rare. Anyways, best of luck and whatever happens enjoy the ride!

    Edit: just read your post further and saw the bit about pattern flying and helping to understand why the plane sinks in a turn. WHO CARES! Get him in a simulator where he can blow stuff up! And at the age of 9 if he even realizes he is losing altitude in a turn (without you saying anything) and corrects for it that would be amazing enough!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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