A life of learning. That is what we want to teach our children and one of the best ways to do that is to always be learning ourselves. I took this to heart for the Doctor Aviation review and decided it was something I wanted to learn about, for me. Not because I needed to for one of the girls’ lessons but because I was interested.
Doctor Aviation is an aviation education and history course run by Daryl Smith, aka Doctor Aviation. An Air Force Command Pilot with 24 years of experience flying aircraft and teaching about it, Doctor Aviation knows his stuff. From being an instructor pilot and a research pilot to being an United States Air Force Academy instructor and a published author, Doctor Aviation has dedicated his career to flight and shares his love of flight through this course.
The course is an online course, intended for ages 16 and up, with instruction done by video through the Doctor Aviation site. There are printable Guided Notes for each lesson that are accessible through the website. Each lesson also includes a printable listing of additional resources to help extend the lesson beyond the video presentation.
Each lesson includes a video presentation. To access it, you log in to your account. You will see a dashboard that shows your next lesson. All you have to do is click on it to launch the lesson. You are then taken to a page that shows the next video, action steps that might be needed, and the printable resources (Guided Notes and To Learn More pages).
Clicking on the video will launch the next presentation. Doctor Aviation presents each lesson in an aircraft hangar with nothing fancy to cause distraction. Using a clipboard for his notes (boy does this show how well he knows his materials!), he talks the students through all the details of the lesson.
Each lesson is between 45 minutes and an hour long and includes three parts:
- Technical Trivia
- Notable Innovators
- Legendary Events or Aircraft
Technical Trivia is not trivial. It is the meat of the lesson and is kept to around 15-20 minutes. Those minutes are packed, though! Doctor Aviation covers all you need to know in an introduction to aviation. The aviation systems is the very first video. It is followed by section 2, which is four lessons on aircraft, from the major components to why an aircraft flies and how lift works. Also included in these four lessons is information on how an aircraft’s systems are manipulated to cause the movement on the axes. Section 3 covers air traffic control and Section 4 discusses aircraft maintenance. Section 5 takes on the topics related to airfield operations and the last section is more about aircraft themselves. Aviation education is found in the technical trivia part of the course.
Notable Innovators is second part of the video and it is where Doctor Aviation highlights some of the men and women in the aviation field that have made discoveries or completed feats that allowed for significant advancements in aviation. People like Chuck Yeager, the Wright brothers, and Amelia Earhart are discussed in this section. Many other aviators and scientists are also covered.
Legendary Events or Aircraft is a fascinating section. It takes a look at important moments in time, such as the breaking of the sound barrier, the first powered flight, or aircraft that significantly changed the path that aviation history took.
The Guided Notes are intended to be downloaded prior to the start of the video and completed as the video proceeds. It is an easy to follow, fill-in-the-blank sort of note page and I found it helpful in retaining information. These are links that are clicked on from the website and open in a PDF reader. I just hit print from that and never had an issue.
The To Learn More page is printed the same way and is a valuable resource for extending the video lesson. If you have a student taking this for credit, these pages will be where the additional activities are found for making it a solid credit. There are books to read, videos to watch, and hands-on, creative activities to complete. Many of the videos and websites are hyperlinked, making it simple easy to use; just click on the hyperlink and it will open the page you need. The document is broken down by activity and then with a subcategory on the topics from the lesson. Additional research and hands-on activities are suggested at the end of the document.
Periodically throughout the course, there are also tests available. You receive these by contacting Doctor Aviation; they are not found on the website. If you are using this for a high school credit, these will be needed. It is listed in the action steps when there is a test coming up and then again when you need to take it. For example, the first one appears in Lesson 4 and it says to contact Doctor Aviation for the test, to be taken after Lesson 5. On the Lesson 5 page, it shows in the actions steps that the test is to be taken after watching the video and completing any extension activities.
My Thoughts –
Until I had watched the introductory video and first lesson, I would have told you that I had no desire to learn about aviation or aviation history. But then I watched the video and found myself wanting to learn more. I was drawn to the stories told and the revealing of the “mystery” behind flight. I have thoroughly enjoyed having this course to enrich my own learning and I enjoyed watching the videos at night, after the girls had hit the hay, when it was quiet. I found that I truly enjoyed learning all that Doctor Aviation had to share.
The presentation of the video is simple. I mentioned this before. It is one of the things that drew me to the course. When needed, there are drawings, images, or photos to help illustrate the point. But when they aren’t needed, they aren’t there, causing distraction. Doctor Aviation spoke from the heart about the facts, the people, the places, and the aircraft he was talking about. You could tell that this is something he is passionate about and it comes through clearly.
This simplicity of presentation is one reason this course is definitely better suited to a high school course or adult education course. If you have a younger student (probably as young as about 10) that is just fascinated by aviation, I can see them being able to use the video portions of the course successfully, though there are a number of advanced concepts covered; the Guided Notes might be a bit difficult due to the speed with which the information comes at times.
Absolutely. This is a wonderful and surprising course that will “take you to flight.” And what a wonderful, exciting place that is.
Be sure to read the other Crew reviews on Doctor Aviation. The course used was the same but different families used it different ways. So check out the reviews by clicking on the banner below.