“Hey Jell-O, I’ve been listening to the show for years and am excited to announce that I was just selected for (insert military branch) flight school! I can’t wait to get started and want to do my best, do you have any pointers for how to succeed in flight school?” Whether by email, phone message, or social media, variants of the above question are frequently posed to the show, and understandably so—these young women and men have just achieved a significant milestone that will influence the remainder of their lives. And doing well in flight school will afford them the best chance to end up in the platform of their dreams, be it fighters, bombers, helicopters, what have you. So the question is a natural one, and as the purveyor of a military aviation-themed podcast, asking it to me is a logical one. What’s the best way to succeed in flight school? My short answer is, I don’t know. I say so because I went to flight school in the early 1990s long before those asking were born. In the three decades since—really, just in the past few years—technological advancements and more nuanced studies of human performance have changed how we think about teaching and learning. Computer speeds have improved. The internet allows access to almost unlimited information from home. Virtual and augmented reality afford high fidelity practice. I had none of that. But I did “succeed” in flight school, insomuch as I got the platform of my dreams: the F/A-18 Hornet, and although technology has changed, the people using it are still human, so here then are not necessarily the best ways to succeed in flight school but rather what I did to ensure my own success. They are listed in rough chronologic order.
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