Attributes of an effective flight instructor in a university aviation degree programme : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management at Massey University

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Massey University
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The flight instructor is at the heart of aviation practice and safety. Problems have arisen with the practice of flight instruction and it has been identified that improvements in flight instruction are required for the maintaining of good aviation practice and safety. Possible reasons for these problems are identified including the practice of flight instruction being used by newly qualified pilots as a career route towards an airline position. Two methods of evaluating teaching, student evaluations of teaching (SET) and self reports from teachers, were used in this study to investigate the perceived attributes of effective flight instructors as rated by both students and flight instructors in a university aviation degree programme. Twenty two flight instructors and seventy eight student pilots completed surveys which included questions on the importance of technical attributes, personal attributes, interpersonal skills and teaching ability for effective flight instructors. Similar to previous research, students and flight instructors perceived domain expertise (piloting skills) and being a good teacher as attributes of effective flight instructors. Traditional measures of aviation expertise, namely the number of hours accumulated by pilots - were not rated as attributes of effective flight instructors. Differences between the students and flight instructors were in the area of interpersonal skills which were rated more highly by the students. This also closely aligns with findings from the literature, especially medical studies, where the teacher - learner relationship is highly valued by medical students. General limitations and possible areas for future research are discussed. It is concluded that the findings from this study also align with the regulatory requirements for the training of new flight instructors.
Flight training, Flight schools, New Zealand, Flight instructors, Teacher effectiveness, Teacher-student relationship, Flight instruction