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A Unique Method of Flight Instruction: The Mazzei Way

Attitude Flight Instruction
Learning precision aircraft control makes all the difference.

The path flight students take as they travel on the road to pilot certification can be one of peaks and valleys, steep turns and glorious destinations. It makes no difference whether your ultimate goal is a Private Pilot Certificate or the Captain’s seat of a jet airliner or turbine helicopter, every step you take along the path is important in achieving your goal.

This truth applies to all flight students as they follow their dreams into the sky. Because each lesson throughout their flight training builds upon the last, it is essential the initial blocks of learning be solid, in order to provide a strong foundation for all future learning. Learning under the conventional approach to flying can be a frustrating exercise for most students. If, however, the student’s primary instruction emphasizes and develops the proper precision aircraft control techniques from the very first hour, learning to fly can be fun, rewarding, and much easier than most people might expect.

To understand why precision aircraft control is essential to becoming a good pilot, you must first understand what that means. To control an aircraft with precision requires using the aircraft’s attitude as the primary reference for control and performance. This method of flying is based on using outside reference rather than instrument reference as the primary source of attitude information. "Attitude Flying" as it is known, is not a new concept in flying It is however, a new concept in flight instruction. Although attitude flying is used worldwide by military and professional pilots alike, it is seldom taught in flight schools.

At Mazzei Flying Service, “attitude flying” is the only method we teach, and it is taught to every student at every level of training. School owner Jim Brannan, Chief Flight Instructor and FAA Designated Pilot Examiner since 1978, has been developing this unique method for many years. His guiding principle has been to teach students to fly the way he flies, not necessarily the way he was originally taught. He can speak volumes on the advantages of teaching students to fly as "attitude pilots", but the real proof that his method of teaching works is in the numbers.

Because “attitude primary” flight training makes learning to fly quicker and easier than the more traditional "airspeed primary" methods, Mazzei successfully trains Private Pilots in 35-40 hours rather than the 75 hour national average. Instrument students at Mazzei successfully complete their training in 35 hours in airplanes or helicopters rather than the 50 hour national average. Attitude flying is the most advanced flying technique being taught in the world today. Our school’s unique approach to teaching attitude flying at every level allows our students to transition smoothly from zero hours all the way through their Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor certificates and ratings.

To really grasp how well Mazzei’s "attitude flying" teaching method works, one needs to look no further than a flight student’s first landing attempt. For example, using the traditional "airspeed primary" method of aircraft control, it is not uncommon to hear the instructor excitedly directing the student down final approach shouting commands like, “watch your airspeed.. you’re too slow!. Get your nose down.. now more power!. You’re too low.. Now start your flare.. not to much. Easy does it.. now hold it off...more back pressure... that’s it.. more back pressure.. not too much... I’ve got it!” What is wrong with this picture? This poor student has no concept of what he is doing. He’s simply following his instructor’s frantic commands while trying to figure out how to land the airplane. A student cannot learn well under this reactive method and incredible pressure.

In contrast, attitude flying as taught at Mazzei’s takes the guess-work out of landing an airplane. The student learns a precision method of targeting attitudes and planning transitions. It is flying with understanding, control and confidence, not by the seat-of-your-pants. Landing an airplane is just another maneuver in our progressive flight training syllabus, it is not the defining maneuver in one’s airmanship. There is little frustration on the part of the instructor or the student when good instruction is given and received.

The landing exercise described above is but one example of how Mazzei’s instruction methods differ from most schools. At Mazzei Flying Service, students learn right and learn early. Our training methods emphasize precision aircraft control from the first lesson to the last. During all phases of their flight training, students equipped with good "attitude flying" skills will be prepared to advance quickly. Once a student has earned a Private Pilot’s certificate, transitioning to an instrument or multiengine rating is made much easier because of the student’s precision aircraft control.

Many of Mazzei’s new Private Pilot graduates choose to immediately continue on with their instrument ratings, with many completing this complex and critical phase of their coursework in multiengine aircraft. They can do this easily because they already have such a solid foundation in precision aircraft control. Because Mazzei students cut their teeth on attitude flying, and since all airplanes can be flown the same, we are able we are able to advance our students towards course completion much faster than with conventional training methods.

Some students who have visited other flight schools before visiting Mazzei Flying Service have asked how they can be sure they too will learn Mazzei’s unique method of "attitude flying". And because Mazzei has a large instructor staff, students sometimes wonder do they all teach the same way. The answer is a resounding YES!

Chief Flight Instructor Jim Brannan hand-picks his instructors exclusively from students who learned to fly at Mazzei’s using his attitude flying method. Every one of our instructors teach it, and teach it well. In many instances, where our instructors have found employment with other schools, they report back to us their amazing success teaching their first students. Our Instructor graduates are qualified and well prepared to hit the ground running and teach effectively at all levels and in all models of aircraft. We are very, very proud of the quality and success of our flight instructors – they are proof positive that quality of instruction is more important than just hours of flying experience.

The bottom line for any flight student trying to determine which school will best prepare them for a career as a professional pilot should be this: Professional and Successful. To be a successful, professional pilot you must eventually learn to fly with precision planning and aircraft control. At Mazzei Flying Service we teach and reinforce those all important skills from your very first lesson to your last. Why learn another method, and then have to "untrain" yourself when you move up to larger faster aircraft? At Mazzei Flying Service, you learn the right way all the way. As we say at Mazzei, if you can fly the aircraft, you can get the job.

And when you really think about it, that just makes perfect sense.

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