Chapter 8. Techniques of Flight Instruction

Dealing with Normal Challenges

Instructors should teach students how to solve ordinary problems encountered during flight. Traffic pattern congestion, change in active runway, or unexpected crosswinds are challenges the student masters individually before being able to perform them collectively.


SBT lends itself well to visualization techniques. For example, have a student visualize how the flight may occur under normal circumstances, with the student describing how he or she would fly the flight. Then, the instructor adds unforeseen circumstances such as a sudden change in weather that brings excessive winds during final approach. Other examples of SBT can have the instructor adding undesired landing sites for balloon student pilots, rope breaks for glider students, and radio outages for instrument airplane students. Now, the student must visualize how he or she will handle the unexpected change.

During this visualization, the flight instructor can ask questions to check the studentís thought processes. The job of the instructor is to challenge the student with realistic flying situations without overburdening him or her with unrealistic scenarios.

Practice Landings

The FAA recommends that in all student flights involving landings in an aircraft, the flight instructor should teach a full stop landing. Full stop landings help the student develop aircraft control and checklist usage. Aircraft speed and control take precedence over all other actions during landings and takeoffs.

Stress landing in the first third of the runway to ensure there is stopping distance for the aircraft. If the student is unable to land in the first third, teach him or her to make an immediate go around. If the student bounces an airplane on landing, teach the student to make an immediate go around. By following these teaching guidelines, the student is better equipped to properly execute landings when he or she solos. Furthermore, by requiring the first solo flight to consist of landings to a full stop, the flight instructor has the opportunity to stop the flight if necessary.

In gliders, a low energy landing is the most desirable, based on current winds. This helps the student develop good off-field landings techniques. This is dependent on current weather, such as excess winds including crosswinds.

Practical Test Recommendations

Provision is made on the airman certificate or rating application form for the written recommendation of the flight instructor who has prepared the applicant for the practical test involved. Signing this recommendation imposes a serious responsibility on the flight instructor. A flight instructor who makes a practical test recommendation for an applicant seeking a certificate or rating should require the applicant to demonstrate thoroughly the knowledge and skill level required for that certificate or rating. This demonstration should in no instance be less than the complete procedure prescribed in the applicable PTS.

When the instructor endorses the applicant for the practical test, his or her signature on the FAA Form 8710-1, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, is valid for 60 days. This is also true with the flight proficiency endorsement that is placed in the applicantís logbook or training record (Advisory Circular (AC) 61-65). These two dates should be the same.;

Completion of prerequisites for a practical test is another instructor task that must be documented properly. Examples of all common endorsements can be found in the current issue of AC 61-65, Appendix 1. This appendix also includes references to 14 CFR Part 61, Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors, for more details concerning the requirements that must be met to qualify for each respective endorsement. The examples shown contain the essential elements of each endorsement. It is not mandatory, but recommended for all endorsements to be worded exactly as those in the AC. For example, changes to regulatory requirements may affect the wording, or the instructor may customize the endorsement for any special circumstances of the applicant. However, at a minimum, the instructor needs to cite the appropriate 14 CFR part 61 section that has been completed.

FAA inspectors and DPEs rely on flight instructor recommendations as evidence of qualification for certification, and proof that a review has been given of the subject areas found to be deficient on the appropriate knowledge test. Recommendations also provide assurance that the applicant has had a thorough briefing on the PTS and the associated knowledge areas, maneuvers, and procedures. If the flight instructor has trained and prepared the applicant competently, the applicant should have no problem passing the practical test.

A flight instructor who fails to ensure a student meets the requirements of regulations prior to endorsing solo flight or additional rating exhibits a serious deficiency in performance. The FAA holds him or her accountable. Providing a solo endorsement for a student who is not fully prepared to accept the responsibility for solo flight operations, or providing an endorsement for an additional rating to a pilot not meeting the appropriate regulatory requirements, is also a breach of faith with the applicant.

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