Introduction to Flight Instruction Techniques

Certificated flight instructor (CFI) Daniel decides his student, Mary, has gained enough confidence in flying that it is time for her to develop personal weather minimums. While researching the subject at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website, he locates several sources that provide background information, such as the fact that, statistically, weather often poses some of the greatest risks to general aviation (GA) pilots, regardless of their experience level. He also finds charts and a lesson plan he can use.

Daniel’s decision to help Mary develop personal weather minimums reflects a key component of the flight instructor’s job: providing the student with the tools to ensure safety during a flight. Every flight instructor can agree that everyone wants to be safe, but what does “safety” really mean? How can a flight instructor ensure the safety of flight training activities, and also train clients to operate their aircraft safely after they leave the relatively protected flight training environment?

According to one definition, safety is the freedom from conditions that can cause death, injury, or illness; damage to/ loss of equipment or property, or damage to the environment. FAA regulations are intended to promote safety by eliminating or mitigating conditions that can cause death, injury, or damage. These regulations are comprehensive, but there has been increasing recognition that even the strictest compliance with regulations may not be sufficient to guarantee safety. Rules and regulations are designed to address known or suspected conditions detrimental to safety, but there is always the probability that some new combination of circumstances not contemplated by the regulations will arise.

The recognition of aviation training and flight operations as a system led to a “system approach” to aviation safety. Since flight instructors are a critical part of the aviation safety system, this chapter introduces system safety—aeronautical decision-making (ADM), risk management, situational awareness, and single-pilot resource management (SRM)—in the modern flight training environment. It also provides methods flight instructors can teach students to use practical risk management tools and discusses how to evaluate student decision-making. The chapter begins with practical strategies flight instructors can use to enhance their instruction, the demonstration-performance training delivery method of flight instruction, integrated flight instruction, positive exchange of flight controls, use of distractions, obstacles to learning encountered during flight training, and how to evaluate students. After an intensive look at ADM, it closes with a discussion of CFI recommendations and endorsements.