Doctor Aviation

The following is a review of Doctor Aviation with the TOS Homeschool Review Crew.  

We received access to Doctor Aviation's six month online aviation course. Our entire family was interested in this course, but my homeschool graduate was the one who enrolled. She easily completed their online subscription process and quickly read through the initial recommendations then found some of the recommended related books. 

The pace is left up to the student. A lesson can be viewed each week over a four month period or with breaks stretched into a six month course. My daughter worked through over half of the 15-lesson course during our six-week review period. 

Each of the lessons are approximately 45 minutes long, although some last over an hour. The lesson content is sometimes shared as facts, but oftentimes more like a story. Lessons focus not only on dynamics of planes, how they fly, components, etcera, but also on the history of certain planes, pilots, and flights. There is so much information in this course! 

As an adult, this course is perfect for getting an idea of the main components of aviation. The information learned will be useful in teaching students, or even as a starting point before further study of aviation. This course is also great if you just want to have a greater understanding of flight or the history of flight, even if you don't intend to pursue aviation further. 
Dr. Aviation, Daryl Smith, is a Command Pilot. He spent 24 years in the Air Force. He has been an Instructor pilot and a Research pilot. He also served as an instructor at the United States Air Force Academy, and has written an aviation book.

Dr. Aviation is excited to share his knowledge with listeners in this course. He isn't making the course about himself. In the first video lesson he shares his credentials. 

I can tell by things Dr. Aviation says, things that he agrees with, and things that he doesn't recommend, that he is a Christian. He shares Bible references, but he doesn't push it. His main purpose in each video is sharing his knowledge and the knowledge of others about flight.

Dr. Aviation always talks in a way that makes him seem positive that what he is teaching is knowledge that you need to have. He teaches in a way that helps you understand just what he is talking about, even as the subjects get trickier. He's friendly, and he's easy to listen to, along with being humble when speaking of his own accomplishments. 

Subtitles are not available, however occasional quotes are printed on the screen. Diagrams are also shown (see pictures below) demonstrating the terms discussed in the lessons. Quizzes are included periodically but not after every lesson. 

While viewing the videos with my daughter, we both agreed that it would be helpful to have an option on the website to view the slides separately, to refer to after viewing the lessons or to have them available on the downloads. 

My daughter shared her review of the program: 

Dr. Aviation shares a lot of information in each lesson, so you are sure to understand what is being explained. There are pictures and diagrams shown to aid in each of the explanations. Sometimes images of Legos are used as examples.

He repeats major points in case you miss something, which is really great if you are taking notes. There are guided notes provided for every lesson which can be downloaded, printed, or viewed online. I found that opening them on my phone worked great; I just copied my notes and answers into a notebook.  

There are also suggested activities, practice exams (recommended for those who wish to count the course as academic credit), guided notes, recommended books, movies, and additional related links and resources. Our library had some of the books which were recommended. Some are available for purchasing on kindle. There are links for further study, which include not only articles, but also videos. In the lessons, Dr. Aviation even reads segments of Yeager's autobiography to give us the context of what was going on. Some of the books listed as recommendations are books that he used at the Air Force Academy. 

One of the first books recommended is titled The Bishop's Boys. I couldn't find it, but did find quite a few others. The history shared about the Wright brothers was very interesting. I enjoyed getting a deaper look at their history and family from David McCullough's The Wright Brothers. Did you know that they invented their own style of bicycle in 1896, which they sold in their own shop? 

Lesson five was more of a review, at least in the technical trivia section. However, this lesson was where I got excited. I kept hoping through the first four lessons that he would do a bit of demonstration, instead of just pictures. It was a little disappointing, but I still understood what was being taught. However, when I started lesson five he started demonstrating. The plane behind him became more than a prop. He hopped in, showed where parts were and what they did, and it brought my understanding to the next level. This may not be as big of a deal if you learn more from pictures, or from hearing, but it really helped me to see it in action.

The people discussed in the Notable Innovators section varied greatly, so certain of them piqued my interest more than others, though I enjoyed hearing facts about all of them. Flights and events shared in the Legendary Aircraft and Events section weren't always happy or exciting. Lesson five was about a plane crash in 1989; not an event that anyone would wish to happen, but a lot of lessons were shared about how the crew managed the crash, and what we can learn from it. My dad remembered details about that crash and discussed it with me after watching that lesson with me. He told me about turbine blades, how they come apart, and showed me one! 

I don't see this course as being for any certain age. No prior knowledge is required, and it can be made more complicated depending on how much time you or your student wish to put into it. Younger students may not fully understand all that is discussed, but would still enjoy it. As the lessons progress, harder concepts are discussed, but younger students may still appreciate the historical segments. 
There are many books available about the people and events discussed, so younger students may be interested in those. For example, our library system has many books available for kids, written all about the Wright Brothers. Examples are used that many people will know of or be able to relate to. 

No background knowledge is required, but general knowledge acquired with age and study does help, I think, in how much each student will get out of this course. Another beneficial learning help is how much you push yourself to gain knowledge from this course. Just watching each lesson is great, but using all of the resources, which have obviously been provided for a reason, will help you tremendously, (as with many other courses.) 

Exams and answer keys can be accessed by contacting Dr. Aviation.

Our whole family is learning together from Dr. Aviation. 

Find Doctor Aviation online on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to tell them hi from Jennifer at A Glimpse of Our Life.

Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer


  1. Thank you so much for the thorough review of Doctor Aviation. Previously I had not considered including the on screen slides as an option to download, in addition to the guided notes.

    I was encouraged that the student and her Dad had a good discussion of turbine blades after Segment 5. The fact that Dad took the time to share his memories of the Sioux City Iowa crash (as well as an actual turbine blade) helps bring home the fact that this material is from real life. It is great learning together.

    Thanks for pointing out that adults as well as high school students enjoy the course. I am glad that you benefited from Doctor Aviation.

    Doctor Aviation

  2. Thank you! Our (adult) daughter, my husband, and our son (jr high) are still enjoying watching and discussing this course. I wish our subscription wasn’t ending.


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