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Sunday, August 30, 2015

NORDO because of DUMBO

Keyboard & Rudder has been as silent as your local NDB antenna for over a month. It's not dead: I was just brain dead.

In July, I was due for my annual simulator proficiency check, which meant a lot of studying and little time for writing. The summer flying season was in full swing, so I was up in the air working a lot. Also, in addition to the book I've been working on for a while, I started doing research for a new book at the same time. This has taken even more of the limited writing time available.

I'm extremely excited about the new book, because if it comes out the way I would like it to, it may be another piece of the puzzle in changing the old "this is the way we've always done it" way of flight training that is one reason so few people complete flight training and turning it into a "we have all these tools nowadays, so let's start using them to make flying fun" approach. Sadly, one of the few places I've seen this attitude toward flight training is at Redbird. My hat is off to them for doing such a good job shaking things up!

This new book is particularly time consuming, since instead of simply writing words and pontificating like an academic, I'm spending hours and hours practicing what I preach in it. It is not just about learning to fly but about learning to learn and how one achieves mastery. I'm taking ideas from Malcom Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success, Matthew Syed's Bounce, Joshua Waitzkin's The Art of Learning, Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Chef, mixing in piles of modern research on learning and skill acquisition, combining it with my own experience as a flight instructor (and former student pilot once, too!), throwing in a dash of spices from sources as conventional as desktop flight simulators to the unconventional like lifehacking apps such as HabitRPG, and blending it all up to make learning to fly faster and better.

When it's finally finished, this will definitely not be the FAA's FOI, with the same dry, dusty pedagogical ideas from decades ago trying to disguise their creakiness by clothing them in a new suit of educational psychobabble. Since I'm not just writing about the process but I'm actually living it every day as my own guinea pig, I'm working out what does and doesn't work. It will result in a higher quality product, but takes a lot more time, too.

It's exciting times behind the scenes here, but it still doesn't explain where Keyboard & Rudder has been for the last several weeks. The short answer is: "Oops."

The long answer is that I had a queue of several posts lined up and scheduled to automatically post every Wednesday morning for you. That way things would roll along seamlessly while I worked on the dozen different things I'm up to right now. Unfortunately, although I clicked "Schedule" on them, I didn't also click "Publish" on them afterward, so when their assigned time came they sat patiently waiting for the permission to go out to the world, which I didn't realize I hadn't given them.

In other words, it's been NORDO (the aviation term for a plane whose radios have failed--"NO RaDiO") because I was a Dumbo.

I apologize, and see you next Wednesday!

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The author is an airline pilot, flight instructor, and adjunct college professor teaching aviation ground schools. He holds an ATP certificate with a DHC-8 type rating, as well as CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and IGI certificates, and is a FAASafety Team representative and Master-level participant in the FAA's WINGS program. He is on Facebook as Larry the Flying Guy, has a Larry the Flying Guy YouTube channel, and is on Twitter as @Lairspeed.

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