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Flight Instruction

Powered Parachute Flight Training Considerations
Ralph McClurg

Considerations for a flight school:

instructor qualifications
adherence to established procedures
facilities maintenance and management
policies regarding training
training programs
vehicles and maintenance; equipment used
liability management

The following checklist will help determine whether or not the flight school can be sanctioned as a safe, legitimate organization.

I.                    All instructors of the school must hold training exemptions from one of the authorized agencies.  The instructors must fly enough to be current and proficient, must stay current on issues in the PPC community and industry, must maintain membership in their exempting organization, must know and enforce the administrative requirements of their organization, provide proper forms for their students, verify that the vehicles used in training are safe and legal, and they must follow good training procedures and an accepted syllabus, including the use of lesson plans.

II.                 The school must make proper use of endorsements. Endorsements provide

        Legal solo flights by students without the instructor physically present

        documentation of training

        restricts the student and reminds the student of those restrictions

        gets the student to come back for renewal and allows checkup on progress

        documents efforts to maintain control of our pilots and their actions

        are time limited but can be for no more than 90 days

        help ensure that accidents and incidents will be reported

III. The flight school should have a suitable flight training site or access to one.  The site should have controls in place to keep it safe.  Areas where running an engine cannot be safely done are to be marked.  Flight lines are to be restricted to persons authorized.  Facilities must provide for comfortable and professional training.  The site must be maintained for both safety and aesthetics.  Access to unauthorized areas must be controlled.  Safety must be enforced and practiced at the site.  Traffic patterns must be published and enforced.  Flight training areas should avoid hazards, livestock, and areas known to be unfriendly toward aviation.  Flight routes to training areas should be over areas which allow safe emergency landings.

III.               Vehicles owned and/or operated by the flight school must be maintained aesthetically and safely in accordance with manufacturer’s directions.  All recommended retrofits/ADs must be installed.  Maintenance schedules must be strictly followed.  Annual/100 hour inspections must be completed thoroughly and documented properly.  Required markings must be on all training vehicles, and they must be registered with the appropriated exempting agency.  Student-owned vehicles also must be properly registered and maintained and marked.  Instructors must never fly a student’s vehicle unless it is legal and safe.

IV.              Flight schools must follow an approved training syllabus and each instructional period must follow a lesson plan(s).  Students flying solo must make maximum use of their flying hours to achieve proficiency - - thus eliminating “boring holes in the sky” when proficiency can be gained by practicing specified skill-building maneuvers.  Aerobatic maneuvers are not authorized by the training exemptions or within the design limits of most training vehicles

V.                 Schools must operate legally and do everything possible to manage the huge liability they incur by operating a flight training operation.  Strict adherence to the signing of liability waivers, operating as a corporation, insurance, and operating by-the-book in training are all methods to do this.  Instructors operating any other way are placing our sport at risk.

Flight School Safety – Does the school


   Really believe in safety as evidenced by programs and instruction in safety procedures, practices, and policies?


   Have signs posted informing students of safety rules and slogans?


   Include safety briefings as a part of instructional periods?


   Keep flammables in separate, marked areas?


   Enforce the yelling of “clear prop” before starting engines?


   Enforce the wearing of helmets by students?


   Enforce the wearing of seat belts and shoulder harnesses?


   Post an airport diagram showing obstacles and no-fly areas?






Instructor Qualifications and Currency


Flight School Administration - Does each instructor


   Have a BFI/UFI Exemption?


   Maintain membership current in the exempting agency?


   Fly at least bi-monthly to maintain currency/proficiency?


   Read available journals to stay abreast of industry issues?


   Maintain a logbook of all flights under the exemption?


   Maintain an adequate supply of forms for students?


   Insure that every vehicle used in training is properly registered with the proper                exempting agency?


   Verify vehicle condition inspection is complete before each flight?


   Have the proper paperwork accessible for each flight? Exemption? Registration?


   Have ALL students sign liability waivers to protect the instructor/organization?


   Use a training syllabus for each student and a lesson plan for each training period?




Flight School Endorsements – Does the Flight School


    Use written endorsements appropriately to control students?


    Use endorsements to restrict the student to training flights?


    Use endorsements to avoid violations of safety regulations by telling when and  where the student can fly? 


   Use endorsements to limit the student to proper weather conditions?


   Have a policy on the time limits of endorsements that is appropriate?


   Ensure that all endorsements have a time limit of 90 days or less?


   Use endorsements that force the student to contact the instructor at given time intervals and upon encountering specified circumstances?




Flight School Facilities - Does the flight school


   Have a training site which avoids congested areas/livestock/exotic animals?


   Control access to the training site from animals or unauthorized persons?


   Control motor vehicle parking so they are not a hazard to flying or runups?


   Maintain the training site appropriately – mowed grass, smooth runway, obstacles minimized?


   Have a posted policy about use of  the site to prevent safety hazards from visitors? i.e. Are ATVs kept off the field or marked as authorized vehicles?  Are alcoholic beverages prohibited on the field,  or at least controlled so that pilots are not drinking?  Are children and pets kept off the field?


   Have posted rules that prevent run-up near buildings, crowds, or vehicles?


   Have a posted run-up and/or maintenance area?


   Have the flight line marked to prevent access to unauthorized persons?


   Have a regularly scheduled inspection of the field for condition?


   Thoroughly inspect new flying sites for safety and condition?


   Have landowners’ hold-harmless agreements properly signed and on file?


   Maintain good public relationships with the neighbors?  Explain to them what PPC flying is about?  Offer training/introductory flights to them?


   Have a classroom that allows professional presentations?  Files? Marker boards?  Projectors?  Training aids?  Restrooms?




Flight School Policies and Procedures – Does the school have a policy for


   Pricing of Introductory flights and training programs?


   Age restrictions on students?


   Use of facilities and training site?  Who can use them? When?


   Behavior of persons on the training site?  Horseplay?  Limits of access?


   Staying off vehicles owned by others?  No tampering with accessories?


   Ensuring that vehicles brought on the premises by others are safe, in good condition, properly registered, and safely operated?


   Ensuring that students or pilots who bring their own vehicles are operating legally – proper exemption and endorsement, vehicle registration, condition inspection?


   Working with students who are not legal to bring them into compliance?




Flight School Training Programs – Does the school have a standard syllabus


   For new students to get introductory flights?  Duration and maneuvers performed?


   For ALL solo students to take an applicable pre-solo test prior to solo flight under the training exemption?


   For solo students?  Adequate ground instruction per a lesson plan?  Is dual flight conducted with proper demonstration of flight maneuvers?  Ground taxi training before flight?  Weather limits enforced? 


   For training beyond initial solo flight?


   For training in emergency procedures?  Engine outs?  Bad weather?  Other?


   For skill building maneuvers?  Turns about a point?  Go arounds?  Abort T/O?


   For entering, departing,  and following traffic patterns?


   For flights specific to BFI recommendations?  Demonstration and training new students?


   For students to get a critique of their flight immediately after the flight?


   For students to know that they are to be following a training syllabus on all flights as opposed to just flying around?






Flight School Equipment and Vehicles – Does the flight school have


   Reliable radio and communications equipment?  A maintenance schedule for this?


   Training vehicles maintained per manufacturers schedule?


   Training vehicles stored properly to protect from weather and/or tampering?


   Training vehicles properly registered and marked?  “To Be Used For Instructional Use Only” and registration numbers visible?


   Condition inspection records filed for each vehicle?


   Vehicles kept clean and neat appearing?  Damage repaired promptly?


   Log books maintained for maintenance of each vehicle?  Include engine/prop?






Flight School liability management?  Does the flight school


   Have an incorporation or other legal method to shed or manage liability?


   If an incorporation, are all forms, registration, and records properly maintained?


   Have liability releases that cover the exempting agency, landowner, airport operator, and/or other involved organizations?


   Have liability releases that notify parties of non-certification of ultralights/instructors?


   Have liability releases that require guardian signatures for students under 18?


   Ensure that signers of liability releases understand what they are signing?


   Ensure that liability releases are maintained on file?


   Have liability insurance or notify students that there is none?




Note: For ALL “no” answers, a suitable written explanation is needed.  Explain below.

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Copyright © 2001 North American Powered Parachute Federation
Last modified: 07/23/09