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Do you have a child who is interested in all things planes? Are they constantly checking out books about airplanes or pilots at the library? Or, maybe they enjoy watching documentaries about flight?
If so, then you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about Doctor Aviation!
My Aviation Enthusiast
I have shared more than once in the past that my eldest son is passionate about aviation. It isn’t a total surprise as his dad had started the process of getting a pilot license when we still lived in western NY (and had a close family friend who was an instructor.) And, living in Alaska means being surrounded by MANY individuals with small planes. After all, there are huge swaths of the state only accessible by air.
He spent a month at the boarding school, GILA, in the interior of Alaska where he got a crash course in aviation (particularly ground school.) While there, he was able to go up with the instructor and actually FLY a small plane. Unlike some kids who attend the same program and find it wasn’t what they thought, he came home even more in love with aviation.
Even though it would mean no longer homeschooling and living far from home, he was willing to consider spending his senior year at GILA if it meant he would have his pilot’s license. While that did not work out, he is still looking at ways to get his pilot license in the future and possibly fly as part of his career path.
Given his passion and my own curiosity, I was eager to see how Doctor Aviation could work as a course for a child who is passionate about aviation.
About Doctor Aviation
Students are taken through the course by Doctor Aviation Daryl Smith who is a retired Air Force officer. His professional experience includes having been a Command Pilot with over 2,000 flying hours as well as time spent as an instructor and test pilot. He was an aviation instructor at the Air Force Academy and wrote an aviation book that was published by McGraw Hill.
The course is a rather comprehensive first course for aviation education with the inclusion of not just the technical aspects, but also a good dose of aviation history. Mr. Smith’s goal is to reach life-long learners with an interest in aviation, whether they aspire to learn to fly or just want to know more about this aspect of our world.
The Doctor Aviation course has 15 lessons split into 6 sections:
- Course Intro
- The Aircraft
- Air Traffic Control
- Aircraft Maintenence
- Airfield Operations
- The Aircraft II
Purchasing the course provides you with access for 6 months. This should be ample time to complete the material if you go at the pace of one lesson per week.
Each lesson provides a video, guided notes, and a “To Learn More” pdf.
Videos: These are the core of the program with They range in length from 45 to 60 minutes. Within each video are 3 segments: Technical Trivia, Notable Innovators, and Legendary Aircraft or Events. After viewing a lesson video, you are able to mark it as complete.
Guided notes PDF: This is meant to be printed and filled in while watching the video. The format is a fill in the blank for key points mentioned in the video.
“To Learn More” PDF: Each of these documents provides a variety of suggestions to dig deeper on the presented topics. Suggestions include links to YouTube videos, movies, additional reading, research & writing assignments, and hands-on activities.
Watch the Doctor Aviation Intro Video
Our Thoughts on Doctor Aviation
As I stated earlier, the program’s components were viewed by my eldest son (who is in college now) and myself. Since we were both looking at the videos at different times, we did not click the “mark complete” box at the end of a lesson.
For me, some of the material in the first few lessons was new. My son felt that the technical components were basic. However, he recognizes that he had already crammed a ground school course into a month’s time where they had to dig deeper. If someone has only experience aviation through commercial flights, then there are a LOT of topics covered that will be new to them.
Things we liked about this aviation education option:
All of the major topics a beginning student should know are covered.
Connections are made across subject areas with the inclusion of aviation history. Even though I learned a bit about people like the Wright Brothers and Chuck Yaeger, the course provides a thorough exploration of the innovators’ lives.
Everything that you could grade is done offline. So, you can have more than one student working together on the program. The course could be considered a pass fail for grading with minimal use of suggestions. Or, you can require students to do short writing assignments or papers for a letter grade.
Things could improve this aviation education option:
This is a short list!
As it is delivered exclusively online, those with spotty or slow internet service will not be able to enjoy the program. We have what should be fast enough service, but the videos got “glitchy” when my son was viewing them in the evening. The only solution for those suffering from a slow internet connection is a DVD based course. However, I can appreciate the added expense to produce and deliver it.
The other thing that the homeschool parent in me did not like was that it was one LONG video per lesson with no way to move around as needed.
My personal preference would be for three videos per lesson which correspond to the 3 segments covered. This alternative format would benefit those with students who need to take frequent breaks to process the information. There is a LOT included in each video. This could lead to a glaze over by the end of the lesson.
Final Thoughts as this for Aviation Education:
Overall, this is a great option for someone with a high interest in learning more about aviation.
This can easily be a 1/2 credit course for high school. Or, you could expand it further from the “To Learn More” pdf to be a full credit.
If you have multiple family members who want to learn more, then Doctor Aviation is a great option. Students younger than 16 may need a bit of research done to find reading suggestions at their level.
Do someone in your house have a passion for aviation?
Would this be a great aviation course for someone in your family?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit Doctor Aviation review post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this book.