I recently completed my flight review, and it was the most thorough review I have ever had. I really appreciate that considering a thorough well-planned review makes for a safer pilot. So, what made my flight review a thorough proficiency evaluation and learning experience. The answer is simple: good planning and preparation by both instructor and pilot with a dash of something new.
My attitude toward my flight review experiences has been mixed. In years past, some of my reviews were anything but thorough. Some of my reviews barely met the minimum ground and flight times required. Some instructors only went through the motions of the review with little to no further explanation or teaching of the maneuvers and procedures. And some instructors simply followed what the flight school provided adding nothing more to the learning experience. Having said that, not every review I’ve had has been questionable.
For a flight review to be successful, both parties need to be equally involved. One thing I can always count on is my preparedness. I am a teacher and like most teachers, we know how to plan and prepare to make the learning experience memorable and beneficial. So, here are some of the free resources that I used to prepare for my flight review.
I’ve always utilized the FAA Safety Team website and their online courses. They have a free online course titled Flight Review Prep Guide. It’s a quick review to get you started. Also, take advantage of the other courses, seminars and webinars that are offered for WINGS credit. The WINGS program is a great way to satisfy the requirements for the flight review and maintain pilot proficiency.
I would also recommend visiting the AOPA website and utilizing their free online courses and videos. They have a wonderful Safety Advisor publication titled Pilot’s Guide to the Flight Review. It’s a quick informative read outlining the flight review process and what to expect.
The AOPA Air Safety Institute just introduced a new program called the Focused Flight Review. I sure wish this program was available when I took my flight review a few months ago. AOPA is a master at creating meaningful resources for students, pilots and instructors. I would recommend reviewing this program and sharing it with the instructor that you choose for your review. For me using new resources is a way to make the experience more interesting and meaningful.
There is a free online private pilot ground school course through Pilot Training System. This is a course that Flight Training Technologies uses with our flight training information system, Skynotes. If your flight review is for private pilot privileges, then this might be worth reviewing. Also, this free online course is a great overall review for any pilot whose currency may have lapsed for a long period of time.
Use the resources that you already have. Look through your bookshelf or e-books that you used during your flight training days. The ASA oral exam guides are a good resource. I used the private, commercial and flight instructor guides as a quick review along with my current FAR/AIM to update outdated material from the ASA guides. This was also a great way to spend some quality time reviewing the FAR/AIM which is critical for the flight review.
As I stated earlier, both parties need to be equally prepared for the review to be successful. Choosing the right instructor is crucial. I chose an instructor from a flight school that had been recognized by AOPA for flight training excellence in 2016. I also chose this flight school because it was at an airport that was unfamiliar to me. For me, flight reviews should be fun and doing something new is fun, exciting and memorable. I spoke with the instructor who just happen to be a UND graduate, and we discussed my flight review needs. He immediately emailed me a plan of attack which helped me to study prior to the review using some of the resources that I mentioned above. I also need to mention that I’ve never flown with an underprepared UND graduate.
My flight review was a success! Being prepared is half the battle and finding someone who is equally prepared along with doing something new makes for a proficiency evaluation that is thorough, fun and memorable. A truly professional learning experience that improves flight safety!