Eric Crump

by Eric Crump on March 12, 2013

Eric Crump

Eric Crump

SAFE #: S0001222


Hometown: Winter Haven FL, United States

Home Airport: KGIF

Occupation: Aerospace Program Director

Education: Middle Tennessee State University

Pilot Certificates: Commerical SEL, Multi, Instrument; CFI; CFII; AGI

Educational Specialty: Curriculum design, Part 141 certification, Transition/recurrent training

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: My grandfather's stories from serving as a mechanic at a WWII training base.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: My first real flight was the day after my 13th birthday, but I probably had 500 hours logged in the original Microsoft Flight Simulator by then. I soloed on my 16th birthday, which was on a Sunday, so I had to drive home with my Dad – learner's permit and all!

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: I love watching the light bulb come on for a student pilot, regardless of time, experience, or operation. Running a collegiate program is a real rush of adrenaline because light bulbs are coming on all the time!

What's your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Losing friends and family members due to bad decision making. I've lost too many people close to me because they either had substandard decision making skills, substandard flying skills, or both. As an industry and a community we can, should, and must do better.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: My first flight was obviously memorable, and it will be with me forever, but my first flight as an instructor was so impactful to me. It was like an out-of-body experience. I'm in the plane with a three-hour student pilot, and I realize that this kid needs me to help him get back on the ground. It was this odd table-turning experience, and I was totally hooked from that moment.

Why did you join SAFE?: To improve the quality of flight instructors (myself included) and to extol the flight instruction profession.

What would you like to see change in aviation?: While it might not be a popular position among the entire flight training community, I would love to see us stop teaching people to fly in the airplane. We've been talking about what a terrible classroom it is for years, but we're still using it as a primary classroom. Look up the definition of "insanity" sometime. Instructors must be more effective teachers, and we must take advantage of training aids outside the cockpit. This technique has already been proven (over decades of testing) to reduce training time and training cost, two critical elements in increasing the ranks of our pilot community.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished?: I think improvement in aviation begins with our instructor corps. We have to train better trainers or we will continue to get the "minimum standard" teaching our next generation of pilots. Beyond that, we have to engage with the present and the future rather than desperately clinging to the past when it comes to instruction technique and technology. Simulation is a key element in this, but it doesn't have to include incredibly expensive devices. Simple exposure to technique and procedure goes a long way to making student pilots more comfortable and confident in the cockpit.

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