Redbird Pro puts personalized proficiency planning, training, and tracking right in your pocket to make becoming a better pilot an achievable and enjoyable part of your daily routine.
The Proficiency score (we call it the Pro score) is made up of several elements that combine to make a proficient pilot, and can be viewed as a radial chart or a bar chart. The elements are:
- Recency and Frequency - accomplish something in the app every few days or your score starts to decay
- Stick and Rudder - fly with precision
- Weather - know how to use weather data and what to do in certain types of weather
- Navigation - plan and execute travel using common navigational tools
- Communications - follow ATC instructions and maintain situational awareness in pilot-controlled environments
- Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) - Make safe and efficient choices in any scenario
- Regulations - Know thy FARs
- Instrument Approach Procedures (IAPs - Pro version only) - correctly perform approaches in IMC
- Emergency Operations - know and follow correct procedures when things start to fail
Your proficiency score changes when you do something in the app.
When you read an article, your score in one or more relevant elements of proficiency will increase a bit. If the article has a quiz associated with it (most do) you have a chance to increase your proficiency score a little more by applying what you’ve learned.
The same applies when you fly a scenario. Any elements of proficiency that are addressed by the flight scenario will change your proficiency score based on your performance.
Notice I didn’t say your score would necessarily go up.
Yes, your score can go down. If you take a quiz and don’t do all that well, the applicable elements of your proficiency score will go down. Or maybe you fly a scenario and make all the wrong choices, resulting in a less-than-desirable score. You guessed it, your Pro score will be reduced. But trust me, you want that! Here’s why.
Redbird Pro was designed to provide you with an accurate reflection of your current level of proficiency. While we’d love nothing more than to make you feel like the greatest pilot in the world all the time, it would be a disservice to lead you to believe that you’re better than you really are. If you need a little improvement in navigation, for example, you want Redbird Pro to tell you that, so that it can give you a little practice and knowledge that will help you bring that skill up to a proficient level. We feel this is a much better alternative to calling up ATC in flight and confessing that you have no idea where you are and, by the way, could they remind you how to use a Garmin G1000.
Reading List and Quizzes
On the Dashboard, your Reading List contains several articles that we recommend based on your Pro score. In other words, the Redbird Pro app has analyzed your Pro score and recommends articles it thinks will help improve the elements where you need it most.
For example, if you have a Pro score in the Weather element that is at or above your Objective (target) score, but your Regulations score is kind of low, some of the articles included in your list will be about aviation regulations. Read them, and take and pass the quizzes that come with them. You’ll find that your Regulations score has improved. That’s good, because as a result, your real-life proficiency in regulations has increased too.
You may be asking yourself what happens if you do poorly on a few quizzes and it ends up hurting your proficiency score? Well, keep studying by reading the articles again with great concentration, then take the quizzes again until you ace them. Yes, you can keep taking quizzes! Once you finally prove you know the material, your score will increase, and you can rest assured that your proficiency has as well.
This works a lot like the Reading List we just discussed, but recommends in-simulator flight scenarios instead of articles and quizzes.
On the Dashboard, your Training Tasks list contains several in-simulator flight scenarios that we recommend based on your Pro score. In other words, the Redbird Pro app has analyzed your Pro score and thinks you should fly these scenarios to improve the elements of your score where you need it most.
For example, if you have a Pro score in the IAP element that is at or above your Objective (target) score, but your ADM score has room for improvement, you will see flight scenarios that put you into situations where good ADM is necessary to do well. We should point out that these flight scenarios are not intended to take you off guard and deliver a poor score in an area where you already need some help, but rather to both challenge and instruct you at the same time so that you build real proficiency by flying a scenario. That’s what any good instructor does.
But what if you don’t do well when you fly a scenario and your score goes down? What if you decided it was no problem flying into known icing with no icing equipment? Well, first, your Pro score will, indeed, go down. However, with that lesson having been learned, you can fly the scenario again and make different (better) choices this time, resulting in an improved score. But best of all, your real life proficiency increased too! Your Pro score will accurately reflect your improved ADM around icing conditions, and you’ll carry that proficiency onto the flight deck of your real airplane as well.
The flight scenarios are just like real flights you would take in your airplane, but you fly them in a Redbird simulator. These flights require thorough preflight planning and the use of good skills and judgement during the flight as you encounter realistic challenges and conditions. Both VFR and IFR flights are available, depending on which version of Redbird Pro you signed up for.
Let’s set the scene. You’re sitting at home one evening and decide to spend a little quality time in the Redbird Pro app. You know that you’ll be able to use a Redbird simulator at your local flight school after work on Friday, so you set about identifying which scenarios you’ll fly while you’re there.
A scenario called “Unfamiliar Airspace” is listed in your training plan which means it will help raise your Pro score (and real-life proficiency) in an area where you could use some improvement. That’s the scenario you choose.
Your scenario begins right away, not in the simulator, but on the ground at home. You select the scenario by tapping on it and see that there’s a preflight video available. You spend the next 5 minutes listening to the CFI talk about the scenario and help you determine how best to conduct preflight planning. Once the video ends, you click the “NEXT: FLIGHT” button which takes you to the page containing your preflight planning materials. You read the description, Keys to Success, and view the sectional and chart supplement contained in the References section. Using these downloadable documents (and your own sectionals, Foreflight, etc if you wish), you make a plan to fly from point A to point B, carefully noting how to do so safely and legally.
Friday afternoon, you arrive at your local flight school and hop into the Redbird simulator. You grab the sim keyboard and click on “Connect” on the main menu in Navigator, then “Start Sharing.” A 6-digit code is displayed. In Redbird Pro on your iPad (or iPhone, or Android phone/tablet), you open the Unfamiliar Airspace scenario and go to the page with all the preflight briefing info you reviewed a few days before. Click the “Connect to Sim” button and enter the 6-digit code from the simulator. Your iPad now controls the sim.
Click Start Flight and after a few brief moments, the simulator puts you on the taxiway at an airport on the Atlantic seaboard with the scenario paused. Once you unpause the flight, a narrator begins speaking to you in the simulator with brief instructions and “good luck!”
Now, you fly.
Being sure to fly and make decisions exactly the same way you would in a real aircraft, you proceed to follow the plan you developed days before. When the flight finally ends, you’ve spent 30 minutes flying in airspace foreign to you, but hopefully well-navigated due to your preflight planning. Maybe there were even a couple of unexpected events or conditions (but nothing major…unless you made them major by doing something you shouldn’t have).
Turning back to the Redbird Pro app, you click on the post flight debriefing video and absorb the lessons and advice from the CFI who designed this particular scenario. Then once you’re finished, you review your detailed score. The scenario will show you what specific things you did well, and what still needs some help and guidance. Finally, you click Mark Complete, and your Pro score is updated to reflect your current level of proficiency.
Now that it’s finished, perhaps you fly it one more time, or perhaps a different scenario. Maybe you fly a few skill flights before your time in the sim is over, just to hone your skills in a few specific maneuvers.
Let’s back up a moment and begin our journey through a scenario again, but this time without a simulator.
You’re sitting at home one evening and decide to spend a little quality time in the Redbird Pro app. Unfortunately, you know that you’ll be out of pocket and unable to use a Redbird simulator until you return from your family vacation.
Even if you can’t make it to a Redbird Simulator, you can still “fly” a complete scenario, and your proficiency will still improve.
When you open a scenario in the Redbird Pro app, one of the options listed near the top of the screen is “Chair Fly.” This is a video where a Redbird pilot flies the mission for you while you ride along. It’s well narrated by the pilot flying, so you know that the relevant lessons, tips, and pitfalls that you might have fallen into are all addressed. In order to get a true improvement in proficiency using a chair flight, you need to perform preflight planning just as you would if you did have access to a Redbird sim, then watch the chair flight video, then watch the post flight debrief video.
Scenarios are not the only simulator flights available in Redbird Pro. Skill flights are shorter and more focused.
Let’s say you just flew a scenario (or even a real flight in your real airplane) and you absolutely botched the landing. I mean, you haven’t side-loaded the main gears like that since you were a student. You’re certain you have new bald spots on your wheels. You kind of forgive yourself because no one’s perfect every time they fly, but then you realize you messed up in a gentle 5-knot crosswind. 5 knots!
Well, this is what skill flights are for (and for competing against your friends to see who can get the highest score, because that’s just good fun). When you realize you’ve gotten rusty at some specific aspect of stick and rudder flying, skill flights can help you knock the rust off and perfect your form.
Hop into a Redbird simulator with Redbird Pro on your iPad or smartphone, pull up “Landings” under the Skill flights menu, add the desired amount of crosswind, and start shooting landings. After a few less-than-stellar landings, you start to realize what you’re doing wrong (consciously or not) and your scores after each flight start getting a little better each time. After 20-30 minutes, you suddenly find yourself greasing the wheels on to the runway and scoring above 90% each time. How cool is that?
Well, it turns out that you were simply relaxing the rudder pedals too much after touchdown, causing the plane to follow the crosswind across the runway. You just needed to be reminded to fly the airplane all the way to the hangar, not just to touchdown. Could have happened to anyone, right? But not you anymore!
Each skill flight has you perform a single maneuver and gives you a score based on ACS standards. This is a great way to brush up on fundamentals because it’s like taking a one-maneuver checkride anytime you wish. Examples of VFR skills include steep turns, and soft-field landings, whereas IFR skills include common maneuvers such as timed turns and missed approaches.