A couple of days ago I came across this post by Bob Meder, the chairman of the board of National Association of Flight instructors (NAFI) – About Flight Reviews – link here. In his post Bob is talking about a very prevalent culture in general aviation pilot community – easy way to obtain a Flight Review, also known as BFR – see 14 CFR 61.56.
Per the regulation, the minimum requirement for a Flight Review is 1 hour of ground and 1 hour of flight time. Many pilots expect the flight instructor to “pass” them and issue the “Endorsement” in their logbook with just meeting this minimum. Bob explain how establishing the ground rules from the beginning has worked out great for him and his BFR applicant –
My strategy is to advise the pilot up front that this will take more than the minimum of one hour on the ground and in the air. I also let them know that there is no guarantee that I will sign them off. I also let them know that we will both assess their performance, but that I am the final arbiter.
Here is a list of important pointers that I share with my Flight Instructor students. By the way, Flight Instructor checkride has also been acceptable as a Flight Review since a few years now.
Make sure that your clients recognize that there is nothing Pass/Fail about taking a Flight Review. It is a training session and not a checkride. Do the following –
- Pass them a copy of the FAA’s guidance on how to conduct an effective flight review.
- Ask them to prepare a list of the maneuvers that they have not used recently and would like to practice during the training session.
- Also have them add the completion standards from the respective ACS for each one of those maneuvers on the list.
- And on the scheduled day, present them a list of the special emphasis items – there’s about 14-16 items on this list.
This type of approach changes the entire game. Now they are not being told what needs to be done. They are the ones that put that list together.
Also, emphasizing that it is not a pass/fail thing helps them relax. A training session instead is either complete, or in progress.
Buy into FAASTeam Safety Program
Formerly known as FAA Wings Program. In the world of marketing, there is a term called “brand ambassador”. These are the people who are in love with the product/service, and they simply can’t stop talking and sharing their love for it with everyone that they interact with. Years ago Ebay took this brand ambassador phenomenon to a new level and cashed big time on it.
If you haven’t done so already, enroll yourself in the FAASafety program. Not only as a student, but also as an instructor. And then be it’s ambassador.
The safety program offers various “phases” of Wings – Basic, Advanced and Master. And each phase has additional subdivisions. For a pilot to successfully achieve a set of Wings, he/she will need to complete 3 sessions of safety seminars and 3 sessions of flight training with an authorized instructor, you. And, they can customize their own training by selecting the topics that interest them. The seminars can be done online or at locally hosted events; and most are free.
These 6 sessions, 3 each of safety seminars and flight lessons can be spread over a period of 24 months. And each successful completion of a Wings level is counted as a Flight Review. Make sure you tell them – no logbook endorsement required in this case.
And for you, the instructor – the flight time now is at least 3 hours, over 3 separate sessions, and fully billable. For every 3 students you complete the 3 flight training sessions each, you yourself qualify for one level of Wings!!
Of course there are many other methods available as well. Civil Air Patrol is one. As there is no provision for the instructor to be able to bill the flight training time to the student, I will skip talking about this here and save it for another post another day. NOTE – as a professional, don’t limit yourself to just monetary methods of compensation. Civil Air Patrol has invaluable training to offer, at no cost to you. If you need more info about them, visit their website or contact me directly.