As a homeschooling parent, it often feels like I am learning just as much as my daughter is. Sometimes I will learn about a subject alongside her, and sometimes I feel I need to pre-educate myself on a topic before feeling equipped to teach it. Aviation is one of those topics.
My daughter has asked me on more than one occasion how airplanes fly. And so now I am educating myself on the topic by taking an online aviation course from Doctor Aviation.
Doctor Aviation Course Format
Doctor Aviation is an online aviation course for ages 16+ with the instruction presented in 15 video lessons. Each video lesson is anywhere from 42 minutes to an hour and 9 minutes.
Some of the topics covered are:
- The Major Components of an Airplane
- How an Airplane Flies and Turns
- Axes and Forces
- Airfoils and Lift
- Pitches and Slides
- Pilot Instruments
- Air Traffic Control
- Aircraft Maintenance
- Gliders, Helicopters, Airships
Each video lesson is divided into 3 main sections:
- Technical Trivia
- Notable Innovators
- Legendary Events or Legendary Aircrafts
The topics listed above are largely taught in the Technical Trivia segment.
Notable Innovators tells the history and contributions of an influential person in aviation. Notable Innovators studied include:
- The Wright Brothers
- Chuck Yeager
- Amelia Earhart
- Kelly Johnson
- Neil Armstrong
- and many more
And lastly, the section on Legendary Events or Legendary Aircrafts is for learning about important events, aircrafts or accidents in the field of aviation.
.PDF to Take Notes With
With each video lesson, there is a downloadable .pdf that you can use, if you like, to take notes to go along with each lecture. These are largely fill-in-the-blank type notes.
I found these notes helpful to keep myself focused and be able to retain more information.
Many a time when following along with the notes, I had no idea on the spelling of a place, name, plane, etc. Or there were the occasions when I couldn’t figure out from the video the answer to a blank on the notes. So quite often I found myself pausing and searching on google. This would often lead to getting sidetracked with further reading online about the topic.
.PDF “To Learn More”
There is also another .pdf available (“To Learn More”) if there’s a topic that peaks your interest and you want to dive in a bit deeper. This second .pdf gives recommendations of various resources (books, video’s, articles, both online and hardcopy) for additional learning possibilities.
Additionally, for high school students taking the course for credit, there are practice exam questions and an exam study guide. The exam administrator can contact Doctor Aviation to receive exams and answer keys.
Doctor Aviation Instructor
Daryl Smith is the instructor of Doctor Aviation. He was in the Air Force for over 24 years, serving both as a pilot and an instructor of aviation at the United States Air Force Academy.
His passion for and knowledge of all things aviation is clearly evident.
Overall Quality of Doctor Aviation
There is so much information packed into each video lesson. If you are interested in learning about Aviation, you definitely won’t be disappointed with the quality of the information.
The video’s themselves are not overly fancy. The majority of the time the camera is on the instructor, who is wearing a flight suit and is standing in front of a small plane in an aircraft hangar. He holds a clipboard with notes that he occasionally glances at during his lecture. At times there are images or smaller video clips inserted when needed. However, its simplicity does not detract from the high quality instruction given.
My Opinion of Doctor Aviation
I am highly enjoying this course, and am thrilled with what I am all learning. There’s a lot to learn and personally I found it best if I didn’t try to tackle too much of the course in one sitting.
I found the history of the notable innovators to be fairly easy to follow, much like you would a good story.
Some of the topics studied in the Technical Trivia area’s at times can be a bit more complex to fully grasp. I ended up pressing pause a few times to stop and take a few minutes to digest what I had just learned.
If you have any questions during the course you will need to dig into the additional resources and do a little bit of research to find your answer. I ended up doing just this quite a few times.
I am happy for the guided notes as they do help to keep my brain focused on what I’m learning. I do wish at times that there were more visual graphic type components to the guided notes as I feel this would have helped me to have understood some of the concepts more easily.
Overall, I recommend Doctor Aviation to any homeschooling parent or adult that wants to further their knowledge of aviation and feel equipped to tackle those harder questions kids ask about flight.
See Learning About Flight With Paper Airplanes for kid friendly learning of aviation – great activity for Aviation Day.