|DAS System of flight training, by David A. Scott|
| A.K.A. "Knowing" how to fly
In order for 1st U.S. R/C Flight School to successfully train people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life how to fly in only 5 days, it had to develop a kind of training far more efficient than traditional methods.
The DAS System of (accelerated) flight training was born out of the familiar old adage that if you want to be highly successful at something, study and pattern yourself after those who are already highly successful in that area. To determine what makes highly successful pilots tick, we chose as the subjects of our study the elite class of flyers who make everything they do look easy and continue getting better year after year.
Our study revealed distinct reasons why certain people fly far better than their counterparts with similar abilities and stick-time: The best flyers in our sport were able to compartmentalize their flights early on, remembering the things they did that produced favorable results, and forgetting everything that was unfavorable. In time, they developed proficiency, or efficiency. That is, by repeating the favorable actions often enough, significant segments of their flying started becoming routine, i.e., requiring little or no conscious thought. At that point they started detecting ways to improve their flying further and adding new maneuvers, with each new success motivating them to do even better. Flying is, after all, more fun when doing well and making progress.
(In contrast to the best flyers, most flyers fly abstractly, that is, not making or utilizing the connection between their actions and the responses of the plane. Instead, most of their actions are a response to what the plane is doing. Getting better at making corrections is considered to be the main requirement for better flying, so little or no thought is given to how they fly, or whether they are flying correctly. Their flying skills tend to plateau after a few years while continuing to struggle in certain areas because they remain too busy responding to deviations to learn how they might be prevented in the first place. The hope that practice-will-make-perfect lasts for awhile, but eventually the lack of advancement erodes their desire to improve, and other aspects of the sport become their main interest. These days it's tinkering with plane/radio setups. Of course, none are aware that this has happened to them.)
Our study can be summed up in two statements: Proficient pilots don't merely get better at their corrections. Proficient pilots know how to fly so altogether fewer corrections are needed (therefore freeing up more time to think ahead to other things). And, it is not how many hours one flies that determines success, but how he or she spends their time. A.K.A., practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
The DAS System can be summed up then as: (Teach proficiency) Identify the techniques attributable to the best pilots who fly and learn with the greatest ease. (Compartmentalize) Assemble those techniques into a logical-progression syllabus, or system. (Effective practice) Present the appropriate techniques to the student pilot in a crawl-walk-run format.
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