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Aviation Learning Center Document Flight Review - What to Do
Author: Susan Parson Date: March 2006
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Flight Activities
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The aerial portion of many flight reviews consists almost exclusively of airwork followed by multiple takeoffs and landings. It is true that these maneuvers can give the instructor a very good snapshot of the pilot's basic aircraft control skills. They are also good for the pilot, who gets a safe opportunity to practice proficiency maneuvers that he or she may not have performed since the last flight review. Airwork alone, however, will not necessarily demonstrate the pilot's knowledge of avionics and other aircraft systems, and it will show even less about the pilot's ability to make safe and appropriate decisions in real-world flying (ADM).

Flying at least part of the cross-country trip assigned and discussed in the ground review is a good way to pull it all together. For example, one leg could involve flying from departure to destination, during which the pilot encounters scenarios that challenge his or her systems knowledge and decision-making skills, including risk management. The other leg can focus on airwork maneuvers. Throughout the session, the instructor should be watching for:

  • Basic Skills: Does the pilot maintain control of the aircraft when faced with a major distraction? For a satisfactory flight review, the pilot should be able to perform all maneuvers in accordance with the Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the pilot certificate that he or she holds.

  • Systems Knowledge: Does the pilot demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in using avionics, aircraft systems, and "bring-your-own-panel" handheld devices? Appropriate and proficient use of the autopilot is another skill to evaluate in this exercise.

  • Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM) Skills: A good flight review should give the pilot multiple opportunities to make decisions. If there is a diversion, what criteria should be used to select an alternate airport? What are the possible hazards, and what can the pilot do to mitigate them? Does the pilot perform regular common sense cross-checks of what the GPS and the autopilot are doing?
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