FAA Looking to Eliminate Expiration Dates on Flight Instructor Certificates.
April 18th, 2022
In recent conversations from various aviation groups, the FAA announced that they wanted to eliminate expiration dates on flight instructor certificates. These are the only certificates the FAA issues that have an expiration date on them. The agency says that its costly to provide new certificates each year and is unnecessary.
The FAA is proposing a recency of experience requirement instead of other renewal methods. Recency of experience in the mind of the FAA equivalent to “Active Instructor”. An active instructor is one who has recommended at least one student for a practical test within two years. At first industry greeted this with a “Don’t Do It Approach”. It was pointed out to FAA that there are a lot of instructors who are actively teaching who are not recommending applicants for practical tests. There are check airmen, 141 stage check personnel, flight reviews, IPCs, airplane checkouts, mock practical tests, ground instruction and more.
In addition, the Fight Instructor Refresher Clinic, we call FIRC providers were also unhappy. They would soon be out of business.
This caused the FAA to clarify their position. If a flight instructor can’t meet the requirements for renewal by being active, then they can always renew every two years by passing a FIRC.
It will still diminish the revenue for FIRC providers, as there will be a new way to keep the certificate valid, but I think a lot of people who no longer teach or do it rarely will definitely go the FIRC route.
So how will this look? Well, they will start by having a legal statement to something like, “All current Flight Instructor Certificates that are Unexpired remain valid indefinitely as long as the flight instructor meets the recency of experience requirements or graduates from a FIRC”. This will probably require a rule change, so we’ll see when this can really happen.
The FAA doesn’t intend to track compliance with the new rule, but there will be a requirement for the flight instructor to keep a record of how they are maintaining recency of experience or proof of graduating from a FIRC. I don’t have a good sense of when this is going to happen as the rule making process can be quick, which is rare, or long, which is common.
Paper vs. Electronic on Practical Test.
There continues to be push back from certain DPEs regarding what is allowed to be used on a practical test in terms of FAA handbooks, ACs, Chart Supplements and so on. There are many DPEs that insist on paper for almost everything. I was asked recently to quote any guidance that the FAA has regarding this and the only things I came up with were the AC that addresses using electronic flight bags to replace paper charts and the checklist in the current ACSs that state next to the item, “Paper or Electronic”. In the case of Chart Supplements, there is no mention of paper or electronic, so many DPEs insist that this item must be paper.
There are so many flaws in the paper logic that it makes me crazy to try to explain to DPEs that paper is not better and that the way you are testing this is NOT the way that pilot will fly or acquire additional aeronautical knowledge.
Why, for example, does a DPE insist on a manually drawn flight plan using a mechanical E6B, a Plotter and a paper sectional chart? This pilot will never use an E6B or paper chart again after becoming certificated. So, what happened to those 5 to 10 hours of cross-country training time that I had to teach the student to use an E6B and paper. Gone. I could have, instead, showed the student how to use ForeFlight, making sure there were backups, contingencies and best practices. All of the arguments for paper would have been taught away in those same 5 to 10 hours and my student, now new pilot, would be far better equipped to use the iPad and ForeFlight that they just bought the day after the checkride.
In terms of the Chart Supplements. Aren’t we supposed to be flying with current charts and information? What is the source for the Chart Supplements that the FAA uses in contracting printing services? Digital of course. Exactly the same source that they are insisting we can’t use. This borders on ridiculous. My iPad App ASA FAR/AIM is up to date all the time. If I want even more frequent updates, I can subscribe to a Jeppesen service and get that even more frequently. How about those paper FAR/AIMs? How often is there an update?
I think the reason that some DPEs insist on paper and E6Bs is because it’s what they know. Many go home after doing tests and do other things and never keep current with what’s being used today. So, they aren’t comfortable with this. Continuing education is part of what makes a flight instructor, which they all are, a professional. See the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, Chapter 8 – Instructor Responsibilities and Professionalism. It’s there under professionalism. Amazingly, this is required to be tested on any CFI initial practical test. It’s in the Flight Instructor Airplane Single Engine PTS, Area of Operation I, Task E.
What should be happening is not. DPE standardization from the FAA, not individual FSDOs. There is a group at Oklahoma City, AFS-640 with that title. Why is this matter and many things like it left for an individual DPE or FSDO to decide?
There are no parallels in other industries, like medicine. When something better comes along, they just use that not what was. It’s akin to an anesthesiologist saying that the new technology in the brain wave monitoring equipment might fail so instead of doing that we’ll just go back to Ether.
So, what can be done? Well, I’m trying to convince one of the groups that represents us to take this on and use their connections with AFS-600 and 640 to actually standardize something. We will see how that goes. More later.
Significant Updates to CFI Bootcamps Resources are Being Updated and Released Soon!
We have been spending a huge amount of time going through all of our resources, updating them, fixing formatting, changing formatting, you name it. Some sections have even been rewritten. The Self-study guide for the online course has been modified to reflect the new Aviation Instructor’s Handbook and our Workbook is reformatted and is in line with the new handbook as well.
Teach Brief-Fly! had 1248 changes. Whew…Fortunately, some were minor.
We expect to release new versions of these books in the next two to three weeks, in approximately this order:
Self-Study Guide for the Online Course (Realignment to the new FAA handbook).
CFI Workbook (Realignment to the new FAA handbook, question rewrites and changes to references to questions, scenarios and assessments).
Teach Brief-Fly! (Instructor edition) (Rewrites here and there and formatting, typos and grammar).
Teach Brief-Fly! Student companion guide. (Alignment to the new Airplane Flying Handbook).
Endorsements and Scenarios (Corrections to some solutions in the scenarios and fixes of typos and grammar).
Checkride Quick Self Study Guide (Corrections to FARs you must know, realignment of FOI Flash cards, and grammar and typo fixes)
Flight Instructor Lesson Plans (Some new content, some rewrites, formatting, typo and grammar corrections.)
NEW: The Pilot’s Diet First Edition.
If you purchased any of the above within a year you will get new versions for free. If you have Teach Brief-Fly! Instructor or Student Guide you will get new copies no matter when you purchased these.
Multi-Engine Flying Tips!
We are back to releasing three tips a month regarding multi-engine flying that will help with technique and safety for both multi-engine pilots and multi-engine instructors. Let’s get started!
Performance speeds are always above control speeds. If you don’t violate a performance speed, you won’t have control issues. This is why you are instructed to use Vyse when an engine fails.
Never fly slower than Vxse, unless landing, or at an altitude above 3000 AGL when practicing slow flight or stalls. Vxse is the minimum speed the airplane is capable of accelerating on a single engine.
Always think, then act. Never just react.
More pro-tips in the next addition.
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