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Aviation Learning Center Document Flight Review - What to Do
Author: Susan Parson Date: March 2006
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Post-Flight Discussion
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Most of us are very familiar with the traditional "sage on the stage" model of training, in which the instructor does all the talking and hands out grades with little or no learner input. There is a place for this kind of debriefing; however, a collaborative critique is a more effective way to demonstrate the self-awareness and judgment needed for sound aeronautical decision-making. If you are a flight instructor, try using the 4 Rs to structure a collaborative post flight critique:

  • Replay: First, the pilot should verbally replay the flight. This approach gives the pilot a chance to validate his or her own perceptions, and it gives the instructor critical insight into his or her judgment abilities.

  • Reconstruct: This step encourages the pilot to learn by identifying key things that he or she would have, could have, or should have done differently.

  • Reflect: Insights come from investing perceptions and experiences with meaning, which in turn requires reflection on these events. For example, what was the most important lesson from this activity?

  • Redirect: The final step is to relate lessons learned in this flight to other experiences. For example, what parts of today's lesson could apply to a future flight, and how?

If the pilot did not perform well enough for satisfactory completion of the flight review, the PTS is the objective standard to discuss areas needing improvement, as well as a practical course of action to move forward. Even if the pilot's performance is satisfactory, though, there is value in discussing a personalized aeronautical health maintenance and improvement plan. To assist in this exercise, the guide to Conducting an Effective Flight Review includes worksheets to help develop:

  • Personal Minimums: Safe pilots understand the difference between what is legal in terms of the regulations, and what is smart in terms of pilot experience and proficiency. Use the worksheets to establish realistic and appropriate personal weather minimums.

  • Personal Proficiency Practice Plan: Flying just for fun is one of the most wonderful benefits of being a pilot, but many pilots appreciate help in developing a plan for maintaining and improving basic aeronautical skills.

  • Training Plan: Many pilots have aeronautical goals. For example, the pilot's goal might be lower personal minimums, completion of another phase in the FAA’s Pilot Proficiency (Wings) Program, or obtaining a new endorsement.

The flight review is vital link in the general aviation safety chain. Whether you are giving or receiving the flight review, your approach to this exercise can play a critical role in ensuring that it is a meaningful and effective tool for maintaining and enhancing GA safety.

Finally, the guide is intended to be a living document that incorporates comments, suggestions, and ideas for best practices from GA instructors and pilots like you. Please direct comments and ideas for future versions to: susan.parson@faa.gov. Happy flying!

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