Standards Pilot's Manual

Normal Procedures

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Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.

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AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 20 // An examiner should encourage a friendly and relaxed atmosphere to develop both before and during a test/check flight. A negative or hostile approach should not be used. During the test/check flight, the examiner should avoid negative comments or criticisms and all assessments should be reserved for the ed-briefing.

AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 18 (modified) // Before meeting the applicant the Examiner must be properly prepared for the flight. The Examiner should supervise all aspects of the test/check flight preparation, including, where necessary, obtaining or assuring an ATC services as required.

AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 26// A test/check is intended to represent a practical flight. Accordingly, an examiner may set practical scenarios for an applicant while ensuring that the applicant is not confused and air safety is not compromised.

AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 24 // A test/check flight will be conducted within the limitations contained in the operations manual of a FTO/TRTO and, where applicable, the operations manual of a registered facility.

Preflight preparation requires the applicant to assess the weather conditions and make his decision whether to proceed with the flight. The applicant must take into account the requirements of all the sections of the test that he is taking. The Examiner is to assess the applicant’s decision. A decision to continue when the weather is forecast below the limits required to complete the flight shall be considered a fail item for test/check

3.2.7 Pre Flight – briefing //

Examiner approach

The performance of an applicant under test conditions will often be adversely affected by some degree of nervous tension, but the Examiner can do much to redress the balance in his favour by the adoption of a friendly and sympathetic attitude. Any suggestion of haste during briefing should be avoided and the applicant should be encouraged to ask as many questions as he wishes at the conclusion of each section. Clear and unhurried instructions at this stage will not only serve to put the applicant at his ease, but will ensure when airborne that the flight proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary delay.

Construction of the Briefing

The pre flight briefing may be given as one or more separate elements, as required, to give the applicant the maximum opportunity to understand and prepare what is required of him.

Briefing content

IEM FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 4 // The applicant should be given time and facilities to prepare for the test flight. The briefing should cover the following:

  1. the objective of the flight
  2. licensing checks, as necessary
  3. freedom for the applicant to ask questions
  4. operating procedures to be followed (e.g. operators manual)
  5. weather assessment
  6. operating capacity of applicant and examiner
  7. aims to be identified by applicant
  8. simulated weather assumptions (e.g. icing, cloud base)
  9. contents of exercise to be performed
  10. agreed speed and handling parameters (e.g. V-speeds, bank angle)
  11. use of R/T
  12. respective roles of applicant and examiner (e.g. during emergency)
  13. administrative procedures (e.g. submission of flight plan) in flight

[Austro Control Flight Examiners Handbook, §3.2.9]

3.2.9.1 Definition. The complex of all resources (knowledge, attitude and skills) enabling the pilot to safely handle his aeroplane/helicopter with due regard to rules and regulations, whatever the circumstances, both on the ground and in the air. Human resources include all other groups routinely working with the pilot who are involved in decisions that are required to operate a flight safely. These groups may include, but are not limited to: dispatchers, cabin crewmembers, maintenance personnel and air traffic controllers. Airmanship is not a single task but is a set of competencies, which must be evident in all tasks, conducted throughout the practical test standard as applied to a skill test or proficiency check.

3.2.9.3 How the Examiner Assesses Airmanship

  • The majority of aviation accidents and incidents are due to poor resource management failures by the pilot. Fewer are due to technical failures.
  • Pass/Fail judgments based solely on Airmanship issues must be carefully chosen since they may be entirely subjective. It is not practical to give a comprehensive list of Airmanship considerations, however, the 3 ‘cluster areas’ described above include items which the applicant may forget to complete (e.g. correct radio calls) while others are an indication of his capacity to deal with present or evolving flight conditions (e.g. poor spacing from other aeroplane/helicopter or airspace awareness). It is, therefore, the examiner’s role to observe how the applicant manages the resources available to him to achieve a safe and uneventful flight. The examiner must be satisfied that the success of the flight was a result of good airmanship and not good luck.
  • If the applicant shows early and consistent awareness of airmanship considerations (e.g. repetitive checking of icing conditions in a level cruise clear of icing conditions) the examiner may allow the applicant to brief only changes during the remainder of the flight.
  • Examiners themselves are required to exercise proper Airmanship competencies in conducting tests/checks as well as expecting the same from applicants.

3.2.10.1 Flight management // AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 27

An examiner should maintain a flight log and assessment record during the test/check for reference during the post/flight de-brief.

This record should be compiled without alerting or attracting the attention of the applicant.

Communications in flight should only be necessary:

  • to prompt the applicant regarding required sequence of events using concise and easily understood intentions (e.g. following a go-around)
  • AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 28: An examiner should be flexible to the possibility of changes arising to preflight briefs due to ATC instructions, or other circumstances affecting the test/check.
  • AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 29: Where changes arise to a planned test/check an examiner should be satisfied that the applicant understands and accepts the changes. Otherwise, the test/check flight should be terminated.
  • JAR FCL 1.170/2.170 paragraph 6: Should an applicant choose not to continue a test/check for reasons considered inadequate by an examiner, the applicant shall retake the entire skill test. If the test/check is terminated for reasons considered adequate by the examiner, only those items/sections not completed will be tested in a further flight.
  • AMC FCL 1.425/2.425 paragraph 21 (last sentence): An examiner should terminate a test/check only for the purpose of assessing the applicant, or for safety reasons.

Except when the Examiner has to give guidance or a reminder, the applicant should be allowed to conduct the flight without interruption. It should be remembered, however, that the Examiner is responsible for the safe conduct of the flight and the prevention of any infringements.

[Austro Control Flight Examiners Handbook, §3.2.10.4] Grading

Grading is an option on some forms used for tests/checks. However, its use is optional.

The "Acceptable Performance" section of each exercise outlines the grading criteria. These criteria assume no unusual circumstances. Consideration shall be given to unavoidable deviations from the published criteria due to weather, traffic or other situations beyond the reasonable control of the applicant. To avoid the need to compensate for such situations, the tests should be conducted under normal conditions whenever possible.

Grade: AS

The ideal performance under existing conditions. Anticipates and adapts easily to changing or unusual flight situations. Aim of exercise safely achieved with very few minor variations from ideal. Performance shows smooth control of aeroplane/helicopter.

Grade: S

Aim of the exercise safely achieved with frequent minor but no major variations from the ideal. Or Aim of the exercise safely achieved. Performance includes not more than one major variation from the ideal and may include frequent minor variations from the ideal.

Grade: BS

Aim of exercise safely achieved in a rough manner. Performance includes more than one major variation from the ideal and indicates a level of skill or knowledge, which results in a marginally acceptable performance.

Grade: US

Any one of the following will result in an assessment of fail:

  • Aim of exercise not completed
  • Insufficient level of knowledge to ensure safety.
  • Aim of exercise completed but at expense of using unsafe airmanship and/or handling errors.
  • Dangerous aeroplane/helicopter handling requiring assistance from examiner. Tolerances specified in the flight test standards exceeded.

Written remarks are required when awarding a flight test exercise a mark of 2 or less. The remarks should be clear and concise and in the case of an exercise assessed as:

Grades AS / Above Standard reflect the major variation(s) from the Acceptable Performance for the exercise as outlined in the appropriate flight test standards; S / Satisfactory reflects to the outlined flight test standard, BS / Below standard reflects that major parts of the test are stated as Satisfactory, but some parts are only accepted in a marginal manner. US / Unsatisfactory reflect the appropriate item or items that result in an assessment of fail as listed in the Grading Scale section of the flight test Standard(s).

During a flight test, it is sometimes difficult to write clear and concise remarks. It is recommended that examiners use notes made during the flight test to complete a final copy of the Flight Test Report. This provides the examiner with the opportunity of referencing the appropriate flight test standards while writing final comments.

Satisfactory Performance

The ability of an applicant to safely perform the required assignments is based on:

  • Performing the assignments specified in the Examiner’s Handbook for the licence or rating sought within the approved standards
  • Demonstrating control of the aeroplane/helicopter and flight with the successful outcome of each assignment performed never seriously in doubt
  • Demonstrating sound judgement and crew resource management and single-pilot competence if the aeroplane/helicopter is type certificated for single-pilot operations

Unsatisfactory Performance: Consistently exceeding the relevant tolerances stated in Module 5, or failure to take prompt, corrective action when tolerances are exceeded is indicative of unsatisfactory performance. The tolerances represent the performance expected in good flying conditions. Any action or lack thereof, by the applicant, who requires corrective intervention by the examiner to maintain safe flight, shall be disqualifying.

If a repeat item is not clearly satisfactory, the examiner shall consider it unsatisfactory

3.2.11 Post flight - debrief

Post flight procedures will require accurate assessment of the flight and communication to the applicant of his result. The examiner must:

  1. take the time necessary to consider a fair, unbiased and correct assessment of the test/check
  2. deliver a clear decision on the result of the test/check with precise details of the reason for each failed item indicating any fail result in a friendly but firm manner.
  3. where an existing rating has been failed instruct the applicant on the implications of his result
  4. 4 direct the applicant in the administration required following his result

Having completed the flight and the administration the examiner may then offer guidance on any aspect of the flight.

The following points may be discussed:

  • advise the applicant how to avoid or correct mistakes
  • mention any other points of criticism noted
  • gives any advice considered helpful

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