FAA Issues New Guidance for CFIs Conducting Flight Reviews

A just-issued FAA Advisory Circular (AC 61-98C) is providing new guidance for how CFIs conduct flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks (IPC).  The recommendations came from a high-level FAA committee that included SAFE representatives.  It is available free here.

AC 61-98C reminds CFIs that flight reviews and IPCs should include a check on the pilot’s proficiency in English, urges CFIs to help pilots develop a personal currency program and strongly suggests that an FAA form 8710-1 be completed for each flight review and filed through the IACRA system.

Under the heading Reducing GA Accidents, the AC notes that inflight loss of control is the most common single cause of GA fatalities, lists typical areas where loss of control can occur and asks instructors to pay particular attention to those areas in flight reviews.  They include:

  1. Pilot Proficiency, where CFIs can help pilots develop personal currency programs.
  2. Traffic Pattern, specifically departure stalls, attempts to return to the field after engine failure and uncoordinated turns from base to final. It asks CFIs to emphasize the difference between Vx and Vy, go-arounds, and stabilized approaches.
  3. Criteria for Stabilized Approaches including proper glide path, heading, airspeed, configuration, rate of descent, power setting and checklists. It recommends a go-around if approaches become unstabilized at 300 feet AGL or below.
  4. Instrument Meteorological Conditions, where vertigo can affect both non-instrument-rated pilots and non-proficient instrument rated pilots.
  5. Manual Flight After Automation Failure. The FAA cites over-reliance on automation, including FMS systems or coupled autopilots, as a significant cause of loss of control.  It urges CFIs to emphasize knowledge of the equipment and navigation systems installed and proficiency in manual aircraft control.

The new AC also notes that CFIs are required to be knowledgeable and up-to-date on issues critical to aviation safety, and that staying current on that information will help build a positive safety culture to reduce GA accidents.  It suggests that CFIs use the free booklet Conducting An Effective Flight Review to prepare individual pilots for flight reviews.

SAFE has been promoting awareness of loss of control accident causes for several years.  There is material in the SAFE resource center with information on loss of control, including seminal works on the subject completed by SAFE’s Rich Stowell, here.   Additional advanced material for CFIs is available in the members-only section of SAFE’s resource center.  A login is necessary for members to access SAFE members-only information. Join SAFE in our mission of pursuing aviation excellence. The amazing member benefits alone make this commitment painless and fun. See you at the airport.

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