Review: Doctor Aviation

Did you know I have a nephew who is big into aviation, and another who trained to be an airplane mechanic?  I have a brother who is training to be a helicopter pilot... so an interest in the air and flight runs in the family. Ergo, when I had a chance to review Doctor Aviation I snatched it up!  I'm listening to it as an adult, though I freely admit, I shared interesting bits with my lad.  :)  Doctor Aviation is an aviation education and history course run by Daryl Smith, taken online.

What do you get?
You get six sections with 1 to 4 lessons in each section.  Each Lesson runs 45-50 minutes and follows the same routine.  Technical Trivia, Notable Innovators and Legendary Events or Aircraft.  Every few lessons, if you are taking this for credit, you can ask for a test. (there will be a prompt in the actions steps).

Technical Trivia is the meat of the program.  Here Daryl Smith is usually found standing in front of an aircraft with his notes.  He presents the information in a lecture format, interspersing his presentation with slides to help present the information more clearly.  These aviation history videos are interesting to listen to indeed.
The Notable Innovators section is where he talks about the people important to aviation history. We are given a chance to learn about Earhart and Bernouli as well as many others.

Legendary events or aircraft speaks to times in history that were important to aviation, such as breaking the sound barrier, why Earhart flight didn't work, the trip to the moon and such like.  Facts that shaped the history of aviation.

You can see how the lessons are laid out.  See how the sections are labeled, with the appropriate lessons contained within.  15 lessons in all.
Section one: Course Overview (1)
Section two: The Aircraft (4)
Section three: Air Traffic Control (2)
Section four: Aircraft Maintenance (2)
Section five: Airfield Operations (2)
Section six: The Aircraft II (4)

How did I use?
I plugged my ear phones into my lap top and listened as I worked.  When I was intrigued I stopped what I was doing, clicked over to where the video was playing, backed up the video and listened again.  Watching the images that would pop up, taking notes for the complicated stuff, and then returned to my work.  It was a great way to learn new material, refresh my mind over the old, and to inspire my thinking.   Seeing how things fit together, listening to the easy break down of the technical details, the interesting people in aviation and some of the legendary events.  

I have to admit, I didn't do ANY of the optional exercises.  I just listened and learned. :)
But they have a ton of things you can do to broaden your learning, from books to read, to models to build and essays you can write.   Here is but a small sampling.  Rather cool eh?

Oh!  I mustn't forget to tell you about this handy feature: GUIDED NOTES.  They follow the script really well and help you retain the information presented.  You need to forgive my scrawl and the fact that I didn't completely fill it in (honestly even when I was in school I never filled sheets in all the way).  A bit of rebel you know?  :)

My thoughts:
Darryl Smith talks well, he keeps to his notes but looks at the camera. The notes just keep him on topic and prevent the forgetting of details.   You can tell that he spent
24 years in the Air Force as a Command Pilot with over 2,000 flying hours and that he was an instructor in the United States Air Force Academy.

I loved having the notes.  I admittedly didn't use them often as I mostly listened, but when I needed them, they were right there, easily saved to my computer for later reference, and easy to print off for when I wanted them.  They followed the script really well.

If I had planned to use this as a student, I would have found ALL the options for increasing the scope of the lessons great.  Books to read, projects to do, so many options it was great.   Incorporating the different senses and styles of learning.  Let's build a wind tunnel, or draw a map outlining someone's journey or.... so many options it was great!

I disliked that "oh don't be alarmed by the technical stuff I'll make it easy for you" type conversations.   I find when people do that it's easy to think it will be over my head rather than just assuming that I'll get it.  I want the assumption there that the instructor will make it clear what I need to know, instead of making me feel like I'm set up for failure.

I wish his labels would always precede each new section and that dots were put on the time line to show where they started.  That way I could easily review a section if I want to or if I think "oh.. the lad will like hearing about this aviator" and I wouldn't have to hunt for it.  :)

I LOVE how the lessons are set up the same.  Course title, video, things you need to see about doing and additional resources.  It's all quite logical, with clean crisp edges that don't distract from the lessons to be learned.

This is a course that you could EASILY stretch out to fill six months OR if you are rushed and just want to listen to the lessons, you could complete it in less than a month.  The guided notes are yours to keep along with the additional resources.   Making this a very handy and useful elective for you or your students to take.

Doctor Aviation
Six month subscription
Recommended for age 16 and up.

Each of the 15 lessons includes a 45-50 minute video. Divided into three sections that naturally feed into each other.  Each also includes a PDF of "To Learn More" suggestions. This includes extra readings, YouTube videos, movies, hands-on activities, research and writing assignments, etc.  Each lesson has guided notes.  There are tests included as well.

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  1. Lots of aviation in your family! Glad you could join in with them a bit. This is definitely a good course. I have enjoyed it, too.


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