You’ve been stuck teaching primary maneuvers to new students in a Robinson helicopter for the past three months. Next week, you finally have an initial night cross country flight with a student pilot, but you also realize that you won’t have met the night passenger carrying requirements of 14 CFR 61.57(b). Do you need to get current before you fly with the student? Is the student a “passenger”?
Certified Flight Instructors (CFI) are taught that there are four basic levels of learning: Rote, Understanding, Application, and Correlation.1 There are other variants of these levels, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses this set in their publications and exams, so we will also. Let’s review each level.
Understanding the fundamentals of altitudes and altitude reporting systems (altimeters) is important for flight planning, performance calculations, regulatory compliance, and in-flight problem solving. This subject is covered early in training for the Private Pilot Certificate, but I found it often needs review even up to the Certified Flight Instructor Certificate training level, thanks primarily to disuse.
Test preparation software and/or books exist for almost every test imaginable, including the required pilot knowledge tests for certificates and ratings. Their formula is simple: provide all of the known questions on the test and their answers. With this data provided, pilots can choose the “easy” way of preparing for the knowledge test or the “hard” way. What are we talking about, and which way is better?
It is commonly taught that there are three definitions of “night” that pilots need to be concerned with. They involve logging flight time, carrying passengers, and periods for required illumination of aircraft lighting. There aren’t three definitions: there is only one. Let’s take a three-minute trip through the wonderful world of Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
For many decades, students, pilots, and flight instructors have been debating a very important flight training industry question: Should I use an electronic or mechanical flight computer? Well, it isn’t THAT important, but this question was debated even back in the 1990s when I first started flying, and still is with today’s generation of pilots. What’s all the debate about? I’ll give you my opinion in less than 600 words (a two-minute read).