Watching Redbird GIFT Take Flight at AirVenture
I was confident, yet still a little anxious in the days leading up to
You see, I, and my colleague, Nicholas Rizzo, are the main developers who made GIFT: Guided Independent Flight Training. My DNA is in that
Installed and ready to fly on a Redbird FMX, GIFT awaited test flights from the thousands of visitors to Oshkosh this year. At the simulator in the Redbird tent, I watched gratefully as
Fortunately, GIFT elicited oohs and ahhs. Smiles were seen on the faces of student pilots as they stepped out of the simulator, usually accompanied by genuinely positive comments. I heard a few seasoned pilots say, “I wish I’d had that when I learned to fly.”
My favorite test flight came from a student pilot who only had 3 hours of flight time logged thus far. I asked him, “So, has your instructor let you try to land yet?”
“Wanna learn how real quick?”
I launched the “Normal Landing” module, sat back, and with great effort not to coach the student through the landing myself, I let GIFT teach the young man how to land.
“Oh, I just fly through those gates.”
“Oh, it tells you what speed to fly at.”
“Oh, it tells you if you’re too high.”
“Hey, I did it!”
My other favorite thing about showing GIFT to folks at Airventure: most instructors who flew GIFT realized how it could help them and flight schools.
All too often, Instructor, airplane, and student schedules don’t match up, resulting in frustrated students and lost time for the instructor. Without prompting, many flight instructors whom I joined on GIFT test flights said that GIFT could help them keep their students happy and on track by allowing them to receive in-simulator flight instruction and practice as part of their regular training. While the CFI is in the air with one student, another can be in the simulator learning and
I was heartened to hear this
From concept to release, we kept in mind that GIFT had to be more than a novel new application. It had to be an effective and efficient way to streamline primary flight training for everyone involved: student, instructor, and flight school alike. As our CEO, Todd Willinger frequently reminded me, it had to be World-Class.
Thanks to the talent and hard work from just about everyone at Redbird, our product, my baby, has taken flight.
Harvey Madison, Instructional Designer
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