The FAA requirement for ongoing learning or continuous education can be satisfied through a number of options including attending safety seminars, adding a rating to your existing certificate, participating in online courses or by simply getting together with a certified flight instructor and going through a BFR. Many pilots simply choose the BFR route and often this is accomplished in conjunction with some other training event such as an initial aircraft course.
- Ground requirement is accomplished through any one of several means including interactive computer based training, directed video presentations or one on one classroom type discussions reviewing FAR’s, aviation safety and focusing on a pilot’s self identified areas of interest. Various online “wings” accredited programs can also satisfy the ground portions provided they are accomplished within a reasonable timeframe.
This is sometimes referred to as in Instrument Competency Check (ICC) in the insurance world. In short, it is an informal refresher for those pilots who don’t regularly log actual IMC and/or actual IFR approaches. It can also be used to get reacquainted with a specific instrument panel layout or become familiar with a new type of instrument such as an HSI/EHSI or a Flight Director system. Insurance companies occasionally require an ICC prior to issuing coverage to an IFR rated pilot purchasing an airplane. This is especially true when the new airplane has a more advanced cockpit with GPS systems, multi function displays and/or EFIS systems. Most commonly however, an ICC is used to simply restore IFR currency.
- Ground training will focus on a brief review of IFR procedures including flight planning and filing, clearances, departure, enroute and arrival procedures, approach procedures and so forth. Changes such as WAAS and the expansion of GPS approaches, the procedures for precision as well as non-precision approaches and other changes are covered. Safety is also stressed, generally with a review of NTSB findings relating to IFR accidents with a focus on what went wrong, why and how to avoid those circumstances.
- Flight training will encompass accomplishing those things needed to restore a pilot to currency (approaches, holds, intercepting and tracking) and introduce any new types of approaches such as GPS LNAV/VNAV or LPV if the aircraft equipped to use them. Emergency procedures including gyro failures, loss of equipment, electrical system failures, Air Data or AHRS failures and reversion to standby instruments should also be practiced when appropriate to the airplane being flown for the ICC.
This comes into play when someone does not meet the instrument experience requirements within the past 12 calendar months. In that case, an IPC must be competed that consists of the areas of operation and instrument tasks required in the instrument rating practical test standards. In short, an IPC has all of the elements of an IFR check-ride except; an authorized flight instructor can conduct it.
- Ground: The preflight portions of the IPC will be structured in much the same way an IFR practical test would be conducted. Subject matter covered will include: IFR Flight planning, IFR airworthiness items, currency requirements, route and altitude planning, weather requirements, meteorology and weather interpretations, departure, en-route, arrival, and approach procedures, charts and chart symbols, emergency procedures, radar/non radar procedures, reporting requirements along with single pilot resource management, aeronautical decision making, aero-medical considerations including fatigue, stress and other factors which affect pilot judgment and decision making processes.
- Flight: As with the ground, the flight is similar to a flight test except that a total of six (6) approaches which will include precision, non-precision, and circling approach, under full and partial panel conditions will be completed along with intercepting and tracking GPS and/or VOR courses and holding.
There are a number of occasions where a special flight review comes into play. Insurance companies often require model specific training including and endorsement certifying completion of training. On occasion, special training is required following an incident or accident, sometimes by an insurance company, other times by an FAA examiner. Still other times, an individual pilot seeks subject specific training and requests a specific log book endorsement of that training. Whatever the reason for a Special Flight Review, the process will include a ground session tailored to address the specifics being covered. Once the foundation information has been covered, a flight training session will follow to enable the trainee to apply the information. The duration of ground and flight training will depend on the specifics involved.