What will happen to flight training?
Unless the virus disappears completely, there will be serious problems. Currently it appears that of the order of 1-2% of the population in Europe is infected. Not a lot of good data, so maybe a bit more. More in some special situations e.g. ~20% in one small town which got a mega dose from some football event with a lot of Spanish visitors. Lots of claims on FB of 80% infected but all these are totally bogus and not supported by any data, like so much stuff posted there, especially by anti vaxxers.
Now take this 1-2%, or perhaps a bit more.
How many different students will an instructor fly with in say 1 month?
In how many different planes?
For each plane, how many different students (or renters) have been in it?
Can someone put numbers on these? For any busy school, I don’t think they look good.
One is supposedly infectious 2 days before symptoms, so even testing everyone’s temperature before flying is not a complete solution. A virus test would probably work…
You can’t practically disinfect the instruments. We had the zika virus thing some years ago. The spray – mentioned e.g. here by a bizjet pilot – makes a toxic mess. Will everyone fly with disposable gloves, masks and protective glasses? Gloves are really sweaty. Masks work poorly with mikes. Glasses are ok.
Masks and gloves is all one can do. And probably pretty effective too?
Gloves don’t improve protection as the virus is transferred via aerosoles that need to be inhaled or small droplets you get close to eyes, nose, mouth by touching yourself with contaminated hands. I would even say that gloves worn by non medical professionals increase the risk of infection due to wrong handling and the wrong feeling to be protected.
Average fabric or paper masks will only protect others from your exhaled water droplets but do not help as personal protective devices. On the other hand FFP2 or FFP3 masks will shield the wearer from external virus aerosols but are very inconvenient to be polity.
Face shields in combination with high grade masks are the only safe protective devices but not feasible for cockpit use.
So as a result there is no practical way to do instruction in the typical GA setting and be completely safe.
That means that aeroclubs have to stay close.Because in France in a lot of aeroclubs it is mandatory to fly with an instructor if you haven’ flew during 2,3 or 4 months.
The French gliders authorities have published a text with recommandations and rules to fly with somebody else in the cockpit.
For the owners of their airplane.What rules do you plan if you are 3 o4 owners ?
Thinking laterally, but could there be something along the lines of a clear Perspex screen like are cropping up in the shops. Bit like the old IR screens but fitted shoulder / coaming height between front seats. I’m sure people could com sup with loads of reasons why it couldn’t work etc but we need to think innovatively….
If both pilot and instructor start from a standpoint of assuming the other guy has it and follow a diligent regime of hygiene, it should be possible.
My approach would be to start with clean hands.
Put on a mask.
Get to the aircraft. Do a preflight then use sterilizing gel.
Use antibacterial wipes on all sensible surfaces that I’m certain to touch but wouldn’t go mad.
Wear the mask at all times to remind me not to touch my face, and to (within reason) help prevent exhaling / emitting any virus.
Ensure the instructor is doing the same. (Needs to be fully discussed and agreed on the ground beforehand)
Consider my hands contaminated and carefully sanitize them prior to and after exiting the aircraft. Then again just before, and after packing my stuff back into the car.
Then again after removing and disposing of the mask.
Drive home and consider my clothes contaminated. (Straight into the wash) wash my hands again and get dressed.
Leave my flying kit in the boot of the car for 3 days (quarantine).
Other than that, and to some extent even doing that, it’s a bit of a lottery.
Here in the US flight training is deemed an ‘essential’ activity and as such was not shut down at all. That said many (most?) schools voluntarily grounded their airplanes. At my home airport they all did. We as a club have been allowing only solo flights or with members of the same household, as per the general guidelines here. Current thinking is to re-open in about a week or so. Most likely it’s going to start with both student and instructor signing a waiver holding the school harmless if one of the contracts Covid-19. I expect a slow start, as many instructors and students will be reluctant to sit in such close proximity to a stranger. The big problem, as I see it, is that we don’t really know much about the aerosol transmission route.
What might work, but would be very uncomfortable and expensive is to simply go on O2 with a mask (the full one, not cannulae)
QuoteGloves don’t improve protection as the virus is transferred via aerosoles that need to be inhaled or small droplets you get close to eyes, nose, mouth by touching yourself with contaminated hands.
Thank you. I used gloves like this:
1) drive to supermarket
2) exit vehicle, put on gloves
4) load groceries
5) return cart
6) dispose gloves
7) drive home
8) unload groceries, wash hands
So primarily the gloves remind me to not touch my face. The same could work during instructing?
Or is it completely pointless?
Perhaps we will go back to instructing in two hole tandem Stearmans with full helmet
At last the zero to hero assembly line will learn hard core stick and rudder skills.
That would definitely increase flight safety ;)