Need advice on giving first BFR as an instructor

SoCalFlyer2

Well-Known Member
I am a relatively new CFI, CFII, MEI (250 dual given) and someone called me about giving them a flight review (private pilot). I flew with the guy once before when I checked him out in a 172 for rental. I felt he was safe enough that he wouldn't kill himself but he was a little rusty on private pilot maneuvers and had a few interesting landings. I spent a couple hours in the air doing maneuvers and pattern work until I felt comfortable signing him off.

As far as a flight review, how strict are you guys? Do you just go through the PTS and quiz them, give them a weight/balance problem or is that too much? I guess my question is am I supposed to be like a DPE giving a private pilot exam all over again or make it more like a training flight?

I was told by an old crusty CFI in school if the pilot doesn't hold up to standards to note in his logbook you conducted a private pilot training flight and reviewed x, y, and z but not to note a failure of a BFR if you feel he isn't up to par.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
I guess my question is am I supposed to be like a DPE giving a private pilot exam all over again or make it more like a training flight?
Somewhere in between. It's called a flgiht "review", not a checkride. I useually ask about what type of flying they useually do, and tailor my review to that.

My usual BFR is to meet up and fly to another nearby airport for a 100$ hamburger. This lets me get an initial impression of their basic skills. Then we sit down and eat a hamburger while we talk about flying for about an hour. Then we fly back doing any manuvers I think are apropriate given what I've learned durring the "ground training". After all that I discuss any thing I think they need to work on, and endorse their logbook.

Try to make it a enjoyable and educational experiance.

I was told by an old crusty CFI in school if the pilot doesn't hold up to standards to note in his logbook you conducted a private pilot training flight and reviewed x, y, and z but not to note a failure of a BFR if you feel he isn't up to par.
As a CFI you are REQUIRED to sign your customer's logbook for any dual training flights. Howerever you are never required to sign off on any endorsements.
 

v1valarob

Well-Known Member
Well a BFR must include an hour of ground, I dont see why you cant throw a basic weight and balance at the person.

Just ask basic questions you would expect a private pilot to know.

My first BFR I took way too lightly. I should have known when he asked "where are the brakes?" Haha.
 

Houston

Well-Known Member
Here are my recommendations:

(1) Get AC 61-98A and read it for guidance on the flight review. AC 61-98A

(2) Ensure you have a copy of AC 61-65E for a sample endorsement. AC 61-65E

(3) Read FAR 61.56 from top to bottom. FAR 61.56

(4) Include a discussion of the pilot proficiency award (WINGS) program and help the pilot get started on a level of the program. WINGS

(5) When you set your standards, do this. Imagine you are sitting on the witness chair in court and you are testifying about the flight review you gave to someone whose estate is now suing you following a fatal accident. The opposing attorney has asked you what standards you use when conducting flight reviews. What would you like to be able to say?
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX
Don't sweat it and don't make it too easy.

I basically think that we as CFIs we should make them do things that they have not done since training.
I have them do Weight and Balance, take-off/landing distances, and x-c planning (how ever they do it real life, if they us a software program to plan it, then i accept it.)
Then the questions run the gambit and once you find a weak spot, dig trying to make them stronger at the subject and not looking to bust them.
The salty CFI is right, if they don't meet Your standards then don't write anything about it being unsuccessful, it just gets logged as instruction.

My personal flying portion goes like this,
1. Head out and find the first check point.
2. Warm up with steep turns
3. Power on stall or turning stall
4. hood on - climb, descents, turns to headings, slw flt/pwr off stall. unusual attitude recovery.
5. Make sure the GPS moving maps is off for all of this so now he should have no clue where he is at and you can ask him to do lost procedures. I have them dial in two VORS while I circle the airplane and they tell me where we are on the sectional. Then they take the hood off and we see how close they were.
6. Then Emergency procedures, normally i just pull the power back for an engine failure.
7. Then they use pilotage to a local airport that they didn't flight plan to, where we go through the landing series.
8. Back to home base.
1.3 flight normally.

Out of all of my BFRs, there was only one guy that couldn't do it, but he was a special case, he was in his 80s and hadn't flown in 10 years. After three flights I never saw him again, I felt terrible. This guy used to fly for the FAA in their DC-3 checking the VORs, but that is just the way it was.

Normally it isn't a hard decision at the end, either you have the warm and fuzzys or you don't
Good luck

oh, I also make sure that they have the W&B, X-C planning and take-off landing distances done prior to the meeting, otherwise it takes too much time.
 

minitour

New Member
I like to ask a lot of questions prior to meeting with the client. I like to know how many hours they have total, last year, last 90 days, are they current, instrument rated, type of airplane, type of flying they do (most important), last time they did any maneuvers/stalls, etc.

The most important is to find out what kind of flying they do. If they do nothing but 500 mile trips, doing an hour of steep turns probably isn't really going to help them out. That said, my flight review will consist of:

1 Hour of Ground
Go over Aircraft Logs
- Show me inspections & ADs
- Do a W&B
Review Regs
Review Airspace
- Focus on ADIZ operations (which is a good review for me too)
- Focus on Class B
Go over a xc flight plan both VFR & (If instrument rated) IFR
Questions the Client has
Thorough Pre-flight Inspection
Engine instrument indications and what are they telling us.

1 Hour of Flight
Normal use of checklists
- Engine Start, Taxi, Run-up, etc.
Maximum Performance Takeoff & Climb
Steep Turns
Slow Flight
Stalls
- Dirty & Clean
- Accelerated
- Cross Controlled (Demonstrated first, then performed)
Unusual Attitude Recoveries
ASR Approach
*Instrument Clients*
Normal ILS
Emergency ILS (Such as a simulated electrical fire breaks out on final.)
Normal Circling Approach
Emergency Circling Approach (Engine failure during circle.)
Emergency Procedures
- Engine failures
- Fires
- Instrumentation Failures
Maximum Performance Landing
OEI Landing (Or "dead stick" for single engine airplanes).
Anything else the client wants to review (I had a guy that wanted to do an extra hour of power-on stalls in his 172SP - he was afraid of the extra HP).
Anything that I feel needs reviewed or more work.

I'm not looking for absolute perfection, but a commercially rated pilot (or private pilot with 1000 hours in his own plane) should be able to hold altitude, airspeed and heading within reasonable standards.

After I'm done, I ask myself "would I feel okay if my wife hopped in with him in either minimums weather (if instrument rated) or basic VFR weather and flew her to ___?"

If I can honestly say "yes" then I sign for a completed flight review. If not, then I just sign as dual given. Sometimes the ground goes well but the flight doesn't so I'll sign off the ground portion and sometimes it's the other way and I'll sign off the flight portion.

Also, I "flat rate" flight reviews. That can be good and bad for me. If I only spend 2 hours with the client, it's great (I get more than my normal hourly fee over 2 hours) but if I have to spend 6 hours on the ground and 4 in flight, it bites me in the you-know-whats. It does settle the client down though when I say "I'd like to do one more flight to see _____.".

Have fun and make it a learning experience for both of you.

-mini
 

DaveC

Well-Known Member
One think I've experienced is problems with pilots who don't think they need a flight review. Especially if it's in their own airplane, they tend to try to dictate the flight. I've actually had a guy refuse to turn off his autopilot during the flight. Needless to say that one ended very quickly.

Another thing to do is make sure the pilot knows what they are buying. It's just a regular training flight until you sign that endorsement in the logbook. Some people come into it with the perception that they are entitled to an endorsement at the end of the lesson.
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX
I think BFRs are normally the most memorably because you find people set in their ways and you think "geez, why in the world". Normally they are funny in hindsight.

like the lady that used ALL 7,000 ft on landing roll out, oh she touch down in the touch down zone. Tower had no clue where we were when we called for taxi.
"Where did you go"
"we are at the end"
"holy moly"
 

Nismaxdan

Well-Known Member
I think BFRs are normally the most memorably because you find people set in their ways and you think "geez, why in the world". Normally they are funny in hindsight.

like the lady that used ALL 7,000 ft on landing roll out, oh she touch down in the touch down zone. Tower had no clue where we were when we called for taxi.
"Where did you go"
"we are at the end"
"holy moly"
Did she say why she did that?
 

Blackhawk

Well-Known Member
You've gotten some great advice from others. Remember, this may be the only time the pilot will see a CFI for another 2 years. Scary.
Personally, I do a little of what everyone has written. I have them do the FAA flight review course. I also have them do one of the AOPA ASF courses that will pertain to their flying. Around here, it's the Mountain Flying Course if they have not done it. I give them a sample performance/W&B problem. Usually it is a no-go situation... like Santa Fe, NM on a summer day, two large males with bags and gas. They have to use ADM to deside what to do... take off at a different time, make another fuel stop, what ever.
I research their airplane. If there is a POH test on-line, I'll have them do it. I'll also research accidents and "gotchas" in the model.
Ground then normally covers at least 2 hours. Usually they have about an hour of questions on the things they did for "home work". Then we discuss other things for about an hour. Others have listed the areas- I also go over some of the "gotchas" I found in my research.
Then we fly. Flying is usually about 1.5 and based upon what they normally do or what they feel their weaknesses are. I give them the option of going to some dirt strips and short fields. The dirt strips are more for being able to do off airport landings if necessary.
I charge by the hour unless they want to pay for the day. Some do.
You don't have to be a hard &^$. You will find that most pilots are looking for good, quality training. I have only had a few balk at flying with me, and those had "reputations". They were looking for someone to hold a mirror to their mouth and check for a pulse. Sorry, won't do that. I have to fly in the same airspace, and it is not worth the liability.
Finally, I keep a record of everything. I keep copies of their certificates and a signed manuevers sheet.
 

Douglas

Old School KSUX
nah she didn't say and I didn't ask, but 3/4 down the runway it really took a lot to restrain myself from taking over (ie pushing the brakes.)
I think she was just saving her brakes. I still don't think a turbo arrow would roll 7000 ft with out brakes, I am pretty sure she babied retarding the throttle too.
 

positiveR8

Well-Known Member
Whenever I do a BFR I use the "Guide to the Biennial Flight Review" from ASA as a guide. I don't follow it word for word but it's a nice thing to have with me to keep me on track and move in a somewhat systematic manner. If you're a NAFI member you get a discount on ASA training products as well.
 

Nihon_Ni

Well-Known Member
Lots of good advice here.

My first hour as a CFI was with a 125 hr pilot who hadn't flown more than 5 hrs in the previous 12 months and wanted a BFR so he could take his son flyig the following weekend. Thankfully, before we ever walked to the airplane I reviewed his logbook and told him he wouldn't finish in a single flight. He agreed to it and it took all the pressure off of both of us.

I generally expect people to be able to fly at their certificate level. I cut them some slack on setting up maneuvers, but I expect them to be able to accomplish them. For example, when I ask for a stall I don't expect a flight review pilot to be able to set up for a power off stall by the PTS (and will often assist them on the set-up), but I expect him to perform the stall and recovery without my assistance. If he can't, he doesn't pass. Simple.

I not only look at the typical type of flying he does to ensure he hasn't developed any bad habits, but I look at the things that normally get pilots into trouble: VFR into IMC, stall-spin, engine failures and ADM.

I also spend some time in the traffic pattern. After a few landings I like to take the controls and give him unusual set-ups (low and slow, high and fast) then give him the flight controls on final to see how he handles these situations. These tell me more about his skills/understanding & ADM than anything else.
 
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