The United States was responsible for nearly 1 billion airline passengers (domestically and internationally) in 20181. We’ve already seen the how that efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are significantly affecting air travel. There is a growing concern among pilots regarding job security. Airlines are expected to take a $113 billion hit2 due to the lack of passengers and grounded aircraft. As frustrating as it may be, it is important to recognize that every one of us has a duty to contain the spread of the virus. Although it seems many of us will recover if we do contract the virus, there are over 400,000 confirmed cases and about 18,000 deaths worldwide at the time of writing3. By practicing social distancing, we help healthcare professionals by reducing the strain on hospitals, which frees up resources for our friends and families who need them most.
What does this mean for aviation students working toward their certificates?
PSI Testing Center Closures
PSI announced they are closing their company-owned-and-operated test centers at least through April 30, 2020. This closure does not affect all locations. However, many of the third-party-owned PSI locations have also closed temporarily. If you had a test scheduled, you should have received an email regarding the closure and rescheduling. According to PSI, you can reschedule up to and including the day of testing at no penalty with no documentation required. In most cases, candidates can reschedule their examinations online through PSI, and they are encouraged to do so. If you choose to reschedule through PSI’s Candidate Call Center, call (844) 704-1487, and expect to have longer than usual wait times.
PSI Call Centers are open:
Weekdays: 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM EDT, Weekends: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM EDT
If you are affected by the temporary closure of PSI test centers, we want you to be well prepared when you are ready to reschedule. If your course access is about to expire, we have you covered. Courses expiring between March 15 and April 30, 2020, have been automatically extended through May 31. Nothing is required on your part to receive the extension. If you are an international student that might need more time to schedule, please contact us, and we will work with you according to your needs.
Gleim Online Ground School
If you are studying with the Online Ground School and would like additional practice, we can reset your final course practice tests. To request a practice test reset, contact our Support Team, specifying which practice tests you would like reset. Up to five tests are available in your course.
Gleim Part 141 Students
If you have already graduated from a Part 141 Online Ground School course and your graduation certificate will expire during the test center closure, you will need to retake the end-of-course test and at least 2 practice tests to have your graduation certificate reissued. Please alert our Support Team, informing us that you need to have your graduation certificate reissued.
We have seen firsthand how simulation makes flight instruction safer and more efficient. During these unprecedented times, Gleim Aviation has partnered with Laminar Research to provide an introductory version of the Gleim X-Plane Flight Training Course and the full version of X-Plane 11 as a trial that will expire on June 30, 2020 for a limited time at absolutely no charge! This is the perfect opportunity for you to stay proficient by chair-flying at home in preparation for your imminent practical test. Train with our virtual instructor using real flight lessons adapted from the Gleim Private Pilot Syllabus. With this introductory version of the X-Plane Flight Training Course, you’ll get access to the first two flight lessons and videos, free of charge.
The X-Plane 11 free trial offer has ended, however, you can still download a trial version of the Gleim Flight Training Course here.
Enroll in an Online Course
Many schools have already shifted from conducting in-person ground school classes to online or distance learning courses. Use the extra time you have at home to enroll in such a course either to expand or refresh your knowledge, or start pursuing the next certificate or rating that you’ve been putting off. Gleim Online Ground School student Rose E. of La Porte, IN, says studying her “Online Ground School and flying the Gleim Virtual Cockpit is preparing [her] for ‘open-sky’ days while staying at home to protect herself and family.”
Pilot error is the leading cause of aviation accidents, which is why the FAA has made it a point for pilots to be more informed about runway incursions and CFIT. Gleim created the Safe Pilot Course, which helps you become a safer pilot. This course helps you understand the principles of safe piloting as well as develop a better understanding of the hazards that we face during each and every flight. A free, short version of the Safe Pilot Course will give you a head start toward developing that understanding. This is the perfect opportunity for all pilots to take advantage of being confined at home to develop a keen awareness of aviation safety.
Try the Safe Pilot Course Short Version for free.
Refrain from Flight Training Temporarily
Robert Meder, Chairman of the National Association of Flight Instructors, has recommended that instructors halt all in-cockpit flight instruction until the current situation improves, given the inability to practice social distancing within a cockpit that has previously been used by potentially infected students or instructors. Once recommendations change, it will be best to discuss your in-cockpit training with your instructor to ensure that you are both comfortable with moving forward.
If you must fly, take additional steps during your preflight inspection to wipe down the yoke and knobs, and anything else you might touch with sanitizing wipes to protect yourself. It is also more important than ever to check the NOTAMs for airports and towers that are closed during this period, in what has been known as ATC zero after some controllers become affected by COVID-19. A number of major airspace sectors and airports such as Chicago Midway Airport and the Indianapolis Center were temporarily closed due to confirmed cases among air traffic controllers. As such, it is important to verify that the airport at your destination will be open and what level of ATC service will be available when you arrive.
As we adapt to a changing learning environment, many schools are adopting distance learning solutions. AvLearn is a testing management system developed by Gleim Aviation to help teachers and instructors create custom quizzes by selecting specific subject matter topics from any of our FAA Knowledge Test Prep databases. Exams can then be administered online. Gleim is providing this system free of charge for academic aviation programs at universities, flight schools, and high schools.
We hope you remain safe and vigilant during these trying and unprecedented times. Our team of instructors is committed to your success and is available to answer your inquiries during this period. Remember that we are all in this together and it is important to help one another. Your progress hasn’t halted – you just need to apply the same resource management skills that you use on the flight deck to adapt to a changing environment.
Written by: Ryan Jeff (CFI, AGI), Aviation Research Assistant, and Paul Duty (CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, Gleim Aviation Chief Instructor).