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Streamlined Training, CFI Study Group Guest Appearance, and Enhanced Flexibility for Foreign Pilots

June 2024

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TSA - New Rules for the Better

TSA revamped the rules for training foreign pilots in May 2024.  Here is a summary of the changes that affect you:

  1. TSA approval is now valid for five years. They can do multiple ratings without further TSA approval and switch training providers without repeating the process.

  2. TSA Precheck and Global Entry can be used instead of going through the TSA approval process.  The process is in the rules, but TSA needs to be notified of the Precheck or Global entry.

  3. Demo flights are now clearly defined as OK to do before TSA approval

  4. TSA Security Awareness training must now be completed every two years rather than every year.

  5. A security coordinator must be named.  This person is the point of contact for all TSA matters.  If you are a 61 instructor, that person is you.  They mention that they need to have 24/7 access.  We will need to learn more about this over the next few weeks.

Join Mike as he speaks during the Facebook CFI Study Group Zoom Meeting - on July 2nd,  4-6 pm Pacific Time.

If you don’t belong to the Facebook CFI Study Group, you should. It has about 6,000 members, and there are plenty of good posts with questions you may struggle with in your CFI training or even after you instruct. Some really good mentors/coaches are in there, like Greg Brown (author of the Savy Flight Instructor and the Turbine Pilots Manual), Rod Machado, a slew of DPEs like Jim Pittman, and more.

Dorthy Schick, an excellent flight instructor with tons of experience, and Rex Shoell administrate the group.  Rex is a busy CFI in Utah and helps with CFI Bootcamp classes by critiquing presented lessons.

Every Tuesday, the group has a two-hour Zoom call.  There is usually a speaker for an hour and then questions from the group.  Mike will speak on “How to Manage Training/Studying for Your Flight Instructor Certificate - What Works and What Doesn’t.”  That will be July 2nd.  The time is 4 pm - 6 pm Pacific Daylight Time.  To get the link for the Zoom meeting, you need to go to the CFI Study Group on Facebook and join.  It’s free, and the group has no real marketing, so don’t worry about that.  Dorthy or Rex will approve you within a day or two, and then you’ll get all the announcements and be able to read them and/or post them.

Click to join the CFI Study Group

Mike’s discussion hits at the core of CFI training issues that people are experiencing.  The most common questions from the group are: 

  1. How/what do I study when?

  2. How is the FOI tested, and what do I need to know?

  3. I can’t seem to get organized.

  4. It’s self-study, right?  We just need a two-year CFI for the “sign-off.”

  5. What order do I teach these lesson plans in anyway?

This will be a good presentation for anyone currently training for or considering becoming a flight instructor.

Energy Management - Three Part Series - Making Sense of that long-winded chapter in the Airplane Flying Handbook.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to teach energy management to a pilot by reading 18 pages of technical content didn’t really know pilots.  We need to use information quickly, not analyze the details.  The chapter has good information, but it has one flaw, like an Opera.  It’s ⅔’s too long.  My goal over the following three articles over the next three months is to provide you with the basics of energy management that any pilot can understand using airplane examples and a bit of very, very rudimentary science (physics.)  Don’t worry; I will only use enough to help you understand the concept.  We won’t take it further than needed to understand a concept we can use.

Ok, let’s get started.  I always like to inform people why they need to understand something and to what level.  That provides the motivation and purpose of a lesson.  So here it goes.

We must understand energy management to control an airplane’s movement from takeoff to touchdown. We must understand how an airplane will behave and how it can be controlled throughout that process.

That is a big sentence, but it says why we should bother with this.

In this first article I will talk about the weight side of things. 

All airplanes have weight, and their design characteristics are optimized for various missions, like flight training. All airplanes use some kind of energy, like AvGas or even electricity. So, depending on how heavy an airplane is, how it was designed, and how much energy it has, we need to understand how we can control its movements and supply or dissipate energy so that we can land at an acceptable speed.

An airplane has weight, and it must overcome it by producing lift to fly.  Great.  Easy.  Airplanes are under the influence of gravity, so when they can no longer produce lift, they automatically return to the ground.

The heavier the airplane, the more momentum it has when moving.  That means that it resists any change to its flight path.  This is Newton’s second law -

The acceleration of an object depends on the mass of the object and the amount of force applied.

Before I go much further, I need to explain what acceleration is. It’s not just speeding up. Acceleration occurs with a change of speed (faster or slower) or a change in direction. For example, an airplane that is turning is being constantly accelerated. So, changing the flight path of an airplane, like causing a climb, is also acceleration on the airplane because its direction is changing.

So, what does this mean to us?  Think about a super heavy airplane like the Boeing 777.  This thing weighs a lot.  All is well if it is heading toward the ground on the ILS at a 3° glidepath.  But, if the pilot needs to execute a missed approach or go around, then the airplane’s momentum is in the way of immediately allowing the pilot to change the flight path.  The pilot may almost immediately change the attitude to a climb and add power, but the airplane doesn’t immediately change flight paths.  You can think of a pilot who messes up a loop by not having enough altitude at the top.  On the downline, the flight path must be modified to avoid the critical angle of attack before it reaches the ground.  The heavier the airplane, the more time needed to change the flight path and avoid a stall.

Momentum affects the airplane through all axes: roll, pitch, and yaw.  The heavier it is, the more time it takes to change the flight path.

Next month, we will discuss Energy and its states, particularly Kinetic and Potential. We will combine our knowledge of weight, momentum, and acceleration with Energy, and some light bulbs may just go on.


  1. How to safely perform the loss of an engine on the takeoff roll prior to 50% of the Vmc Speed.  During the takeoff roll, right after the airplane begins to move, fail an engine using the mixture control.  This allows the student to keep their hands on the throttles, which is a primacy issue.  The trick here is to begin moving the other mixture control back right after you fail the other engine so that if the student is too slow or unresponsive, the other engine will fail. There will be no issue with the airplane being uncontrollable.  Make sure to coordinate the extra time you need with the tower.

  2. Teaching the roundout in a training airplane.  Where do I start?  In most training airplanes, the roundout begins when you can clearly see the tire marks on the runway.  It is also the point where the look of the runway changes.  When you are at higher altitudes, above a hundred feet or so, as you descend it looks like you are going to the ground.  When you get close to the ground at the approximate roundout altitude, it seems like the ground is rushing up to meet you.  The pilot needs to change where they are looking now to a place ahead of the airplane commencerent to the speed as if they were driving.  This allows them to see the settling rate of the airplane to the runway.

  3. Don’t fly the pattern by landmarks of when to do things.

It only works for that kind of airplane.

If you practice the power-off 180 using landmarks over the ground, you won’t develop the skill to do it in any other airplane or airport. Don’t use ground-based references to define the base turn, crosswind, etc. Manage the airplane’s energy while controlling wind drift. This is the goal of any landing.

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