The certificated flight instructor (CFI) performs one of the most vital and influential roles in aviation, because the aviation educator’s work matters not just for the individual pilot, but for every passenger who entrusts his or her life to that pilot’s knowledge, skill, and judgment.
The instrument flight instructor – the so-called “double-eye” – carries an even greater responsibility. Weather is still the factor most likely to result in aviation accidents with fatalities. Notwithstanding the common reminder that the instrument rating is not an “all weather license,” the CFI-I’s endorsement for instrument privileges attests that the pilot has the knowledge and skill to operate safely in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) during all phases of flight.
Two special challenges arise for the CFI-I who administers the instrument proficiency check (IPC) described in 14 CFR 61.57(d). The CFI-I who trains a pilot for the initial instrument rating can develop a comprehensive picture of that pilot’s instrument flying knowledge, skills, and judgment, usually in an aircraft familiar to both the CFI-I and the trainee. By contrast, an IPC more often requires short-term evaluation of an unknown pilot, possibly with the added challenge of an unfamiliar aircraft and/or avionics, particularly in technically advanced aircraft. In addition, the IPC is not always conducted in the “real-world” IMC flying environment.
To ensure that the IPC serves the purpose for which it was intended, the current version of the Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the instrument rating (FAA-S- 8081-4D effective October 1, 2004) stipulates that the flight portion of an IPC must include certain aeronautical tasks specific to instrument flying. This guide offers additional (optional) guidance, with special emphasis on conducting a thorough ground review and on administering IPCs in aircraft with advanced avionics. The goal is to help the CFI-I determine that a pilot seeking an IPC endorsement has both the knowledge and skills for safe operation in all aspects of instrument flying.
“Sky is not the limit; its just the beginning!”