By Steven Daun, National Chief Pilot
From the day we started to learn about the FAR’s during our Private Pilot training, we have understood §61.56, which deals with the flight review. If you ask pilots and instructors what the purpose of a flight review is, you will receive many different answers. These will range from bringing you back to where you were when you took your checkride or to ensure that you are safe for continued flight.
The true purpose of a flight review is to ensure that your flight proficiency and currency are where they should be and to make sure that you are aware of new regulations, procedures and methods related to the various certificates and ratings that you may have.
While there are pilots who see the flight review as an obstacle and just want to get it over with, there are many others who take it seriously and understand that the flight review is designed to make sure that they are safe to fly in the national airspace system.
There is a common misconception that a flight review only needs to include 1 hour of ground training and 1 hour of flight training. If you read the regulation, you will see that it states, “a flight review consists of a minimum of 1 hour of flight training and 1 hour of ground training.” The FAA wrote it this way deliberately. This means that as your instructor proceeds with the ground and flight portion of the flight review, they must continue until you demonstrate a satisfactory level of knowledge specifically as it relates to the current general operating and flight rules of part 91. Additionally, a review of those maneuvers and procedures that, at the discretion of the person giving the review, are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate.
There are several criteria that are allowed to be used instead of a flight review, and you can read the regulation for those.
While there are many ways of conducting a flight review, there are a few common areas that you should expect from your instructor.
Your instructor should:
- have a clear understanding of the types of flying that you do.
- clearly outline the objectives of the ground and flight portion of the review.
- clearly state what their expectations are by way of tolerances, performance, and demonstration.
Advisory Circular AC 61-98D discusses the current requirements and guidance for the flight review and Instrument Proficiency Check. This is an excellent resource for pilots and instructors to gain a clear understanding of what a flight review should consist of and how it should be conducted.