Ever since the earliest days of the internet, when Usenet newsgroups were the main source of shared information, aviation has had a presence. With the advent of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, it wasn’t long before aviators and aviation enthusiasts built their first websites. Remember the Thirty Thousand Feet Aviation Directory? It was launched in 1996 and was a major aviation directory for many years. When social media arrived in the 2000s, aviation once again established a firm foothold and has used the medium to its full extent.
Aviation on Facebook
For the past few years, I’ve been the administrator for the Facebook group, Student Pilot Community. In that time the group has grown from a few thousand to over 36,000 members. Once the group had reached five figures in membership, it was obvious that I would need some help with the moderation, and, by coincidence, two people independently stepped forward to volunteer. Our small team of three now manages an aviation group that continues to grow by several hundred new members each week.
What strikes me about the posts added to this group is just how much flying is going on and how the enthusiasm among the young never wanes. It’s as popular now as ever before, more so because technology in the cockpit has evolved to make use of the formats and designs that are familiar to anyone under the age of 30.
With a group of this size, moderation of posts and comments is essential, but the vast majority of activity in this group is good-humored and is carried out in an atmosphere of mutual support and respect.
Many who join know nothing about aviation and begin by asking newbie questions like, “What does remove before flight mean?” These questions are answered without judgment by members who were complete novices themselves only a few months previously. It’s always encouraging to see members post an update about their first solo, first solo cross country, and ultimately their exam passes and pilot certificates achieved.
There are dozens of other aviation-related Facebook groups that can be useful for both pilots and aviation enthusiasts. These groups provide a platform for members to share information, ask questions and connect with others who share their interest in aviation. Many of the groups are also open to non-pilots, providing a valuable resource for those considering an aviation career.
For pilots, the groups can be a great way to stay up-to-date on industry news and developments, as well as to connect with other pilots from around the world. For aviation enthusiasts, the groups offer a unique opportunity to learn about aircraft and flight operations. No matter what your level of interest in aviation, there is likely a Facebook group that can help you deepen your understanding and appreciation for all things aviation.
Instagram aviation accounts
Instagram gives aviators the chance to share more personal views of their cockpit time and any other aviation-related activities. The abundance of cameras and mounts available makes recording a breeze.
If you are a student pilot or a recreational pilot, you can use Instagram as a source of inspiration, and to a small degree, a source of instruction. By following a selection of student, private, commercial, and bush pilots, you can learn something just by studying their videos for techniques and challenges in all kinds of scenarios and environments. Not only will this help you learn more about flying, but it will also give you a chance to connect with other pilots and get inspired to pursue your passion.
For those with ambitions to make flying a career, the commercial pilots of Instagram reveal some of what it’s like to be in uniform and working for the airlines, though I suspect they do not post updates about the disadvantages as it may not go down well with their employers.
YouTube’s instructional videos
YouTube can be a great resource for pilots of all levels of experience. For student pilots, watching instructional videos can be a helpful supplement to ground school. There are a variety of channels that offer video content on topics such as aircraft systems, air traffic control, and weather patterns. Some may argue that there’s so much material on this platform that it can replace ground school, but there is no substitute for being in a class with an instructor ready to answer questions as they come to mind. There is also the issue of using the most up-to-date material for the PPL syllabus in your country.
Many flight schools have their own YouTube channels with videos on topics such as takeoffs and landings, navigation, and emergency procedures. For recreational pilots, YouTube can be a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest aviation news and information. Some channels offer videos on new aircraft models, avionics systems, and flight planning tools. In addition, many channels feature interviews with top aviators and aviation experts, who can provide valuable insights on a variety of topics.
The risks of social media for aviators
While social media can be a useful tool for connecting with others and sharing information, it is important to exercise caution when using it as an exclusive source of information about flying aircraft. One of the biggest risks is that the information contained in social media posts may not be verified or accurate.
In addition, social media users are not typically subject to the same editorial standards as professional aviation publications, meaning that posts may contain errors or misleading information. Additionally, it is important to remember that social media is a public forum where anyone can post anything they want, regardless of their qualifications or expertise. As a result, it is important to consult multiple sources of information before making any decisions about flying aircraft.
Ultimately, your best tutor is the flight instructor sitting next to you or in front of you in the ground school class.
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