ACS potential release dates
If I were you, I’d be getting ready for the new ACS for Aviation Instructor (Previously Flight Instructor Airplane Single Engine Practical Test Standards – PTS) to be released. FAA has been working on a procedural way to move the remaining ACSs out of the rule making process and into being required to be used. I am bringing this up because, by tradition, the FAA has released these in the month of June. My feeling is that because we have the new Aviation Instructor’s Handbook and the Airplane Flying Handbook the FAA had to tweak the “ready to go ACS” to align to some of the new things in those handbooks.
In terms of what I think about the new ACS for CFI, I think it will be better, especially in the Fundamentals of Instructing section. In the current PTS the elements are very broad, but in the last draft of the ACS I saw, the elements were specific, and this could really help you study and be tested in a more practical and predictable way.
So how do you know when a new handbook or ACS will be required to start using? Everything is at FAA.GOV; however, you may need to spend some time finding things. There is a search bar at the top of the page, but there is an easier way. The FAA has a “Quick Subscribe Page” that allows you to choose from popular topics like training and testing, handbooks etc. If you subscribe, you’ll get an email when anything changes. After you enroll you can scroll through the list of things you’d like updated on. Easy!
FAA Quick Subscribe Registration Page
Redbird migration - What it is and why should you go.
The annual flight training conference, Redbird Migration is almost here. It is a free conference, hosted by the Redbird simulator company that features some of aviation’s heavy hitters. The CEO of ForeFlight, Cirrus, Boeing Training Department, Sean Tucker and more have delivered keynote speeches.
The Two-day event starts with a keynote followed by one hour breakout sessions that are taught by industry leaders. Some include ForeFlight – How tos, Presentations by CloudAhoy, Eric Krump director of aviation at Polk State, David St. George of SAFE and much more. This year it will be held from Feb 8-9th at the Aerospace Center for Excellence at the Lakeland, FL airport (KLAL). In the past they provided breakfast, lunch and dinner all at no charge.
What I like about this event is that it is totally centered on flight training, focused on general aviation. It’s always informative and impactful for me. They also do a competition between attendees who form groups. One year it was to produce a video about an aviation specific thing using the provided iPads. Another was to construct an airplane out of a box of things they gave you and then see how far it would fly in a contest at the end. It’s always something fun.
I know its short notice, but if you can, get to Lakeland and learn a lot. I have a scheduling conflict for the event. I’m teaching a 7-day CFI Bootcamp class in Miami. I may be able to make one day work. If so, look for me on the first day.
Techniques and safety procedures for multi engine instructors - Part one of three
In this three-part series, I’ll give you some techniques and safety procedures while instructing in multi-engine airplanes. Even if you’re not a flight instructor this information will be good to share with yours and see where safety can be improved. Each part of this series will focus on three things you as an MEI should be doing.
When shutting down an engine and feathering it make sure that you are above 3000 AGL, that you are near an airport that has sufficient runway length, has services and preferably emergency services. Another consideration is weather including visibility and wind. It’s only a matter of time before the propeller won’t come out of feather assuming that you are flying older airplanes. When that happens, you’ll want to have a lot of altitude to try restarting. If it won’t come out you have a real emergency and you should have already identified an airport with long runways, into the wind. You shouldn’t attempt a landing on a single engine with a sizable crosswind. Make sure ATC knows that you have one engine inoperative so that they give you room. Also, you won’t be able to taxi on a single engine, so you’ll need assistance getting around on the ground. I have been successful getting a propeller out of feather on the ground a number of times, so that is worth a try. Having services at the airport make a big difference. Emergency services are also nice to have.
When practicing engine failures on the takeoff roll, prior to Vmc things can get exciting and dangerous very quickly. The ACS and PTS for multi-engine ratings for both pilot and flight instructor certificates require that the speed at which the engine can be failed must be no more than 50% of the Vmc speed. I have found that speed to be too high. The technique is to allow the airplane to accelerate on the takeoff roll from a static/stopped position. As the airplane accelerates, prior to an airspeed of 50% of the Vmc speed fail the engine you want with the corresponding mixture. This causes a rapid and strong yawing force. If the student is shell shocked, they may freeze for a while, and this could cause the airplane to go off the side of the runway unless you can overpower them and gain control. Needless to say, this will happen very quickly. The solution to this problem is to do the following: Number one, fail the engine with mixture very early into the take-off roll. I usually do that just a few seconds after the airplane gets rolling. Number two is to be pulling the other mixture control back just behind of the mixture control of the engine you are failing. This will of course shut down the other engine too, but it will occur a few seconds after the other. This gives you time to see if the student reacted correctly by closing both throttles and staying on the runway. In this case you can bring up both mixtures quickly and you should have power on both engines. If the student froze, the other engine would quit and there won’t be any unwanted yaw. Also, you’ll need to coordinate with ATC as you’ll need extra time on the runway and may need to restart an engine or two.
When your student is performing a Vmc demonstration be super careful and follow this advice:
Don’t let them do a full Vmc demonstration until they are proficient with all elements of the maneuver, and you’ve had time to see how they react to things. No one wants a student that suddenly pitches up to quickly or fully presses the wrong rudder.
At first Block the rudder travel by pushing against the students pedal pressure so that loss of directional control is experiences at least 10 knots above the published Vmc speed. Make sure you tell the student that you are doing this and when they feel you pushing back on the pedal to not overpower it.
After the rudder blocking you can switch to having the student keep the wings level throughout the maneuver. Not banking into the good engine will induce loss of control about 10 to 15 knots higher than the real Vmc speed.
If there is any indication of stall whatsoever, STOP the demonstration. Close both throttles and pitch forward for Vyse.
Should I make my own lesson plans for CFI training.
How about NO! (Yelling as loud as I can). It takes too long, and your lesson plans won’t be as good as mine. Simple. Now, do you need to ability to make a lesson plan? YES, but only for things specific to a particular airplane, flight operation, avionics package, etc. For example, you may need to create a lesson plan to teach the runway and taxiway structure at your airport. You may also need to create one for a specific avionics package like the Garmin G5 replacement EFIS going into a lot of airplanes. But there is no real need to create one for steep turns for example. We’ve been doing them the same for over 100 years. I think you don’t need to make your own. So why do most CFI schools require you to make your own? Three possible reasons:
That’s the way their CFI wanted them to do it.
To clean up holes in your aeronautical knowledge areas.
Because the CFI who is teaching you may not know. (Examples are Aerodynamics, FOI etc.
In the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook in Chapter 7, Planning Instructional Activity the FAA says in clear terms that it’s ok to use Commercially developed lesson plans, even for Initial CFI practical tests with the disclaimer that you may need to add things to those.
Now what is important is that you can teach from the lesson plans you have, made or bought.
The only way you can do this is to teach each one out loud. This will allow you to hear where you stumble, don’t know or have the flow of the lesson wrong. Just reading a lesson plan and not teaching it out loud will convince you that you know it and can teach it because all of the things you are reading you have seen. Take adverse yaw for example. You can read that line on the lesson plan, so you know you have to teach it. The words are very familiar to you, yet if you try to teach that you may find you are surprised that you may know something but can’t explain it.
Our lesson plans have been field tested. We use these with every flight instructor in training at CFI Bootcamp and there have been hundreds. We know they are right and that they work. You can get those in our online store at cfibootcamp.com. You may also want to consider a product we have called Teach Brief-Fly! It’s a complete set of lesson plans, pre-flight briefings complete with artwork to draw on a white board, and the last section is what to say while demonstrating any of the Private, Recreational, Sport, Commercial, and Flight Instructor Maneuvers. There is also a Student Companion Guide that is available to give the student what to read, quiz them and see that they are prepared for a lesson prior to meeting with you. Good Stuff!
View our CFI Lesson Plans Here.
Multi-Instructor and MEI Course