So once you get your license you only need to fly with an instructor every 2 years for a flight review. This 2-3 hour block of time is supposed to keep you safe, make sure you are up to date on FAR’s, your flying abilities are up to FAA standards, etc. There are some Advisory Circulars and other publications giving guidance on how to conduct the flight review, they have also been known to cure insomnia problems.
I have written other articles on how to maximize your time with an instructor, show up with questions, practice something different, etc. This week is more of an emphasis on continual education. Lets spend the two years continually learning, growing, becoming a better pilot, and let’s use that learning to count towards our flight review.
Last week I did get to do a flight review I enjoyed. We got to work on some items that the pilot felt he was weak on and wanted to spend the time improving his skills. He showed up with questions!!! It was early in the morning so we were not able to work on thermalling, but last time we flew I wrote an article on the 210 degree turn… We spent our time perfecting his off-airport landing skills.
So lets look at something that is available from the FAA 61.56 (e):
A person who has, within the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, satisfactorily accomplished one or more phases of an FAA-sponsored pilot proficiency award program need not accomplish the flight review required by this section.
Take a look at the FAA Wings Program. You can read through their propaganda and the ideas behind it’s design. But one of the goals is continual education. You can throughout the years log into their system and complete interactive modules, go to lectures and different local meetings. The SSA Webinar series now has the ability to count for WINGS credit and there are 2 per month for your entertainment and learning. Once you sign-up through the FAA safety program you will find weekly events that you can participate in to earn your credits.
There are some local power clubs that are requiring members to be in the WINGS program.
You do not get out of flying with an instructor. However you can select different flight maneuvers and bring them to your instructor to complete those flight maneuvers. After your flight you log back into the system and have your instructor validate that you preformed those maneuvers to those standards.
From an instructor standpoint it is great. All I am doing is validating that the pilot did those maneuvers to the required standards. Nothing more, nothing less. The FAA is taking care of the 61.56 and not the instructor. The instructors is able to reduce their liability. The instructor is no longer endorsing the flight review, only validating the specific flight maneuvers. If they did not meet those minimum standards you do not validate that they met the standards. But if something happens to them later on there is a nice electronic paper-trail of what the instructors involvement was in accomplishing 61.56. Which is probably a lot better then sitting on a stand saying I did 3 pattern flights with the pilot and we talked for 1 hour.
We use the WINGS program for all of our non-current power pilots that are working on there glider add-on rating. They can sign-up showing an interest in gliders, do the glider flying, have it validated, the FAA issues them a statement that they meet the requirements for 61.56 and then I can solo them in a glider.
For continual education and less liability for an instructor WINGS might be something to look into
Banner Photo: Anna Klopocka
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