It's time to make flying everything you dreamt it would be.

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When was the last time... had a real Aha moment?
...learning about flying was fun? said,"I'm learning too much"?
Time to Recalibrate

Do we want greater student pilot retention? Higher initial check ride pass rates? Fewer fatalities and hull losses? Increased instructor knowledge, skill, and effectiveness? Correlation-level learning? A culture where pilots see regular proficiency training as “normal and necessary”?

If these are desirable goals, we must recalibrate flight training. And that starts with improving the ability of flight instructors and aviation educators to deliver training more effectively.

Experiment in Optimal Learning Hero 2
Join the Experiment 

We’re transforming the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center into an interactive learning center. How? By creating a dynamic atmosphere that fosters discussion and a flow of ideas. An environment that sparks on-the-spot creativity and experimentation.

This will require you to be hands-on and minds-on throughout. We’ll be returning to fundamentals.
Drawing on the collective genius in the room. Probing and stretching. Exploring ways to think and teach differently. Pushing learning to the correlation-level. Empowering instructors. Empowering YOU as a consumer of aviation training services.

PPC Clinic Lady 2022

Discussion and Flow of Ideas

Drawing on the collective genius in the room. Sparking on-the-spot creativity and experimentation.

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Hands-on, Minds-on Activities

Empowering instructors. Empowering YOU as a
consumer of aviation training services.

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Thinking - Teaching Differently

Probing and stretching. Exploring ways to think and teach differently. Pushing learning to the correlation-level.


The best learning experiences include academic, simulation/visualization, and in-airplane training exercisesDeep practice involves breaking the whole into its parts, getting quality reps, and learning to sense when something isn’t right.

We’re not going to teach you how to do a steep turn here. Or how to fly an instrument approach. Our mission is broader.  It’s about learning at the correlation level.

Sure, we might use something like a steep turn as an example, but you’ll be able to apply the underlying concepts to other maneuvers and scenarios.

Thus, everything we’ll be doing will be based on first principles and delivered in the Learn-Do-Fly
framework. We’re also taking a pilot-centered approach. It’s about YOU. FLYING THE AIRPLANE. It’s not
about the engineering- or design-centered details.

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Focus on the Instructor / Teacher

We will prepare and support trainers with new ways of teaching.  We will also encourage them to adopt a proficiency training initiative for their clients.


Centered on First Principles

A thorough understanding of first principles is foundational to the art and science of flight and will be used as context for the program.

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Year-round Training Emphasis

This isn't a one-and-done event.  It's a new beginning.  Leave with a dedication to a year round proficiency plan and a mindset for optimal learning.

The State of Flight Training Today
Shared Principles

Master Instructor Rich Stowell was inspired to write his paper, The Nine Principles of Light Aircraft Flying from his training experience with the martial art, Krav Maga.  In this video series Rich and his teacher, Beau Durocher, find common ground in first principles - one instructor to another.

The Program

The Optimal Learning program will feature multiple topics presented by lead instructors over the course of the week of AirVenture.  Lead instructors will challenge participants with hands-on, minds-on activities during four-hour training blocks.  There will be two per day, morning and afternoon with the exception of Wednesday and Friday afternoons.  Each block will consist of briefing, interactive discussion, activity and simulator lab, and debriefing periods.

In addition to the Optimal Learning program there will be a hands-on clinic featuring the operation of Angle of Attack indicator and flight simulation orientation from Friday afternoon through Saturday. 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
0800 - 1200 Optimal Learning Optimal Learning Optimal Learning Optimal Learning Optimal Learning Sim Orientation
1300 - 1700 Optimal Learning Optimal Learning AOA Indicator  Optimal Learning Sim Orientation Sim Orientation
Instructors and Workshops

The leads include award-winning flight instructors, designated pilot examiners, and former military
instructor-pilots. All are passionate advocates for better aviation education.


Seats for each Optimal Learning block at AirVenture are limited and registration is encouraged.  A more detailed schedule will be provided when the presentations are finalized.  Until then general registration is being accepted.  Registrants will be notified when the full schedule is available for viewing and registration for specific blocks is available.


Registration is encouraged even if you are unable to attend EAA AirVenture.  Community Aviation is planning more Optimal Learning programs at the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center and other locations around the country.  Content will also be available online.

How do programs at this year’s PPC compare to those from past years?
We’re taking a completely different approach at the PPC this year. The only thing that’s the same is the facility. So, if you’ve participated in the PPC before, erase that experience from memory. Come with an open mind and be ready to interact and learn.
Is there a theme?
Yes, it’s Optimal Learning. This is an experiment in delivering more meaningful training experiences. The Nine Principles of Light Airplane Flying inform the content and Learn-Do-Fly is the delivery framework.
What do you mean by “experiment”?
We want to know if this approach resonates with participants. More importantly, we want to see if the experience results in a change in behavior among the participants. Thus, we’ll be collecting data during the PPC. We’ll also periodically check in with you post-AirVenture with follow-up surveys.
What makes this PPC different?

This is not a series of lectures or an opportunity to play with a simulator.  We’re designing this program to be interactive. We’ve vetted proposals and interviewed potential workshop lead instructors. We are coaching them to be creative with their content. The less traditional,
the better. 

We also need and want you to actively participate. We want your hands and minds “on” throughout. We want energy and dialogue!

How is the program set up?

We’re creating six workshop topics spread over eight, half-day training blocks. Each training block includes a briefing period, two workshop periods that will run simultaneously, and a debriefing period.  At a minimum, we strongly encourage you to come for an entire training block (4 hours). But for the best experience, we recommend spending a whole day at the PPC (two blocks, 8 hours).

This way, you can participate in one of the two workshops in the morning, and the other workshop in the afternoon.

Can anyone participate?

YES!  We want instructors to participate to learn new and different ways to work with their students. We want other pilots to see models of good training so they can be more discerning when seeking training. 

Having instructors and other pilots working side-by-side will be beneficial for everyone.

Do we have to pre-register?

Registration is not mandatory but it is strongly encouraged.  If past years are any indicator attendance during AirVenture should be strong.

Use the registration form above to let us know you will be coming.

What if I just show up?
That’s OK, we can register you at the door. However, please show up before the training block begins. If you come to the PPC once a training block is in session, we’ll recommend that you register for the next block.
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