Embry-Riddle to Return to Classes June 30

Embry-Riddle has instituted detailed screening, as well as aircraft cleaning procedures to facilitate the school’s continuing flight operations.
Embry-Riddle has instituted detailed screening, as well as aircraft cleaning procedures to facilitate the school’s continuing flight operations. (ERAU/)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced that it would return to face-to-face instruction on June 30. The next phase in re-opening is planned for ERAU’s Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, campuses. In doing so, the university will follow all local, state, and federal guidance, including the following measures: limiting classroom capacity, optimizing class schedules to minimize contact, pre-screening returning students, requiring cloth face masks in all common areas (indoors or outdoors), and daily wellness checks. If students have recently been sick, they are not allowed to come back to campus until they have met any quarantine and testing requirements. Any visitors will need to check in at designated welcome centers—Henderson Welcome Center in Daytona, and the Visitors Center at Prescott.

“We continue to review all progress and monitor every phase of the strategy,” said Mori Hosseini, chairman of ERAU’s Board of Trustees. “We believe that a structured, cautious return to normal operations will provide a platform for our institution’s long-term success and better prepare us for the fall semester. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is well positioned for this next step. Our safety focus is unparalleled and our board is unanimous in supporting this decision.”

“We have resumed flight and housing operations on our campuses,” ERAU President P. Barry Butler said in making the announcement. “Beginning face-to-face classes on June 30 will mark the next critical milestone. Our plan focuses on statistical risk testing, risk mitigation, support for contact tracing—and most importantly, education. We are continuing to educate our community on the risks, create redundancy across all of our safety standards, and finalize our testing protocols.”

Procedures in flight check-in and aircraft sanitization provide guidelines to follow that other flight training organizations may emulate. A total of 1,747 Eagle graduates celebrated the occasion virtually in May.

Gold Seal Online Gives Away Pilot Ground School Passes

Gold Seal’s Private Pilot Online Ground School offers free access for flight instructors.
Gold Seal’s Private Pilot Online Ground School offers free access for flight instructors. (Gold Seal Online/)

Russell Still, founder of Gold Seal and a longtime flight instructor, has already given away 50 passes to the company’s Private Pilot Online Ground School—and he’s not stopping there. Still plans to give away 50 more courses via the “Flying Relief” promotion starting on May 13. “We’re giving this to people specifically who have lost their job or income due to COVID," said Still. "We’re trying to directly help the people who’ve been hit the hardest.”

Lisa Spencer was one student caught up in the coronavirus crisis—and she really appreciated the helping hand after she lost her job as a social media marketing agent in the tourism industry. “During this tough economic situation, I was thrilled at being given the opportunity to work with Gold Seal,” said Spencer. “I’ve learned so much since starting their ground school. This experience is helping to keep my aviation career dreams alive. They’ve really made learning fun, interactive and achievable. It’s something I look forward to every day.”

The course regularly retails for $199, with student monitoring and tracking built into the program—and flight instructors can join for free. Still notes that more than 2,000 CFIs have taken advantage of the free access to the course as well. The company guarantees that users will pass the knowledge exam and practical test after finishing the course, which automatically generates a signed endorsement following successful completion. Still has offered several webinars through the website during the past two months to help students stay on track as well. You can find more on Gold Seal and other apps in Flying’s Learn to Fly issue.

Pilot’s Discretion: Efficient Flight Training

You may need to try a number of ­different mounting angles before you find the right one.
You may need to try a number of ­different mounting angles before you find the right one. (Courtesy Sporty’s/)

While recent advances in electric-airplane technology are exciting, the reality is that most general aviation pilots will be flying piston-engine airplanes for the foreseeable future. Even if you assume new airframes will be enthusiastically adopted by flight schools and private owners, it will take a long time to replace the 130,000 piston airplanes built in the 1970s alone.

But just because your next flight will be powered by a Lycoming or Continental doesn’t mean you can’t fly more efficiently. For many pilots, simply staying current consumes a significant portion of their flying hours every year. Using some new technology to train smarter, you can reduce these hours and save both avgas and money—without reducing proficiency.

Video Camera

One tool may already be in your cockpit: an action camera, such as a GoPro or Garmin Virb. Pilots typically use these to record a memorable trip or a landing at a unique airport, with dreams of creating the perfect YouTube video that goes viral. That’s fine, but a camera can also serve a valuable training purpose on less-exciting flights. Things happen pretty quickly in the cockpit, especially for a new pilot, so the ability to rewind and pause a flight is invaluable for post-flight review.

The key to making a video camera a training tool and not just a gadget is to set it up, then forget about it. Spend some time on the ground (with the Hobbs meter stopped) finding the right mounting location that will give you the perspective you want. The latest generation of cameras feature amazing picture quality and exposure controls, so you can usually get a good look at everything: the panel, the view out the windshield and the movements of the controls. A suction-cup mount on the copilot’s window is a good place to start if you’re unsure. For more-advanced users, an external mount that attaches the camera to a tie-down ring or wingtip is another good option. This can provide a unique perspective on in-flight maneuvers or landings.

If you’re mounting the camera internally, be sure to hook it up to your aviation headset with an adapter. This allows you to play back real-world air traffic control transmissions and to add your own real-time commentary, if you so desire. This is particularly helpful for operations at towered airports or for instrument training.

Once you have the camera positioned properly, hit record and don’t touch the camera for the rest of the flight. The focus should be on flying the airplane, from engine start to shutdown. If there’s a particular maneuver you want to review, make a note of it or say something in the microphone, then get back to flying. You don’t need to narrate the entire flight, but a few well-timed comments can help organize your post-flight review.

After the flight, don’t worry about editing the video; just watch it. Review the flight from beginning to end, making notes about mistakes you made or areas for improvement. You’ll know right away if your nosewheel was on the centerline or not.

Flight-Data-Recorder Apps

A nice supplement to a video camera is a flight-data recorder. While this once meant expensive, permanently installed “black boxes,” there are a host of new options that are much less expensive—some are even portable. The most basic option is an app like ForeFlight, which uses GPS to record the airplane’s track and speed. This is helpful for reviewing ground-reference maneuvers (Was that rectangular course really rectangular?) and getting a general sense for how smoothly you flew. It’s also a good way to track your proficiency over time: If you notice your altitude control is getting sloppy, and your traffic patterns aren’t as square as they used to be, you can schedule a flight to get sharp again.

Read More from John Zimmerman: Pilot’s Discretion

The next step up would be to use a Stratus portable ADS-B receiver, which automatically records pitch and bank in addition to GPS position. This allows you to play back the flight with a simulated attitude indicator and is particularly helpful for instrument pilots.

The ultimate in post-flight debriefing comes from a panel-mounted data-recording device, like those found in the latest Garmin G1000 glass cockpits. These record everything that happens on the panel, including engine data. Using an app such as CloudAhoy, you can overlay your flight on a sectional chart or instrument approach plate, watch a simulated glass-cockpit view, track airspeed control, and see just how precisely you flew that ILS.

Flight Simulators

Another powerful proficiency tool is a flight simulator, and the options have become much more affordable here as well. While full-motion simulators are still the best, you don’t have to visit FlightSafety International to get value out of a sim session. Check to see if a local flight school has a Redbird or Frasca simulator on site; these won’t teach you how to land in a crosswind, but they’re a great way to maintain instrument currency or just get an aviation fix when the weather stinks.

Even home flight simulators can be valuable for keeping your skills sharp. For well under $500, you can have a capable system that runs on the laptop or desktop you already own. The key to making this more than a game is to have a plan before you fly: What specific skills are you going to work on, in what order, and how will you evaluate your performance? In a basic simulator, it’s best to skip the stick-and-rudder stuff and focus on procedures, instrument scan and cockpit switches.

Some pilots get caught up in the minutiae of simulator regulations, stressing about which models allow you to log time. That’s wasted effort. The real payoff from a simulator is not what you put in a logbook—it’s the time you save in the airplane. If your next training flight is one hour instead of two, or if you can complete your instrument rating in 30 hours instead of 50, the savings are significant.

Of course, there’s no better way to improve your flying than to do it for real. So, when you’ve reviewed your last flight and practiced in the simulator, make sure you get out there and slip the surly bonds.

This story appeared in the April 2020 issue of Flying Magazine

APS Launches UPRT Online for COVID-Impacted Pilots

One new APS class is Six Essential Considerations in All Airplane Upset Recoveries.
One new APS class is Six Essential Considerations in All Airplane Upset Recoveries. (APS/)

Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) provider Aviation Performance Solutions (APS) said on April 28 it is now offering a fresh line-up of free and paid online UPRT course options. Participating pilots can credit costs of the paid courses toward their future on-site UPRT programs. The new classes are targeted specifically at pilots impacted by changes in their flight departments caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

APS is offering two different types of training: traditional work-at-your-own pace online courses and webinars. Web-based classes offer deep training on core academic concepts related to airplane aerodynamics and upsets, Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I), as well as recovery concepts and techniques. Specific courses include Stall Awareness, Recognition and Recovery for All Airplanes, Six Essential Considerations in All Airplane Upset Recoveries and more. The company is offering 50 percent off every online courses for a full 3 months for anyone signing up before July 31, 2020.

Additionally, APS has released a series of free webinars as well as the option for flight departments to take the academics portion of their UPRT course remotely through live-interactive 1 to 3 hour webinars. The sessions work for 1 to 2,000 participants using APS UPRT experts, or some other pre-designed scheduled webinar presentation.

“APS’s new online training options help to meet the needs of pilots who are currently unable to fly regularly during this unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Paul Ransbury, CEO of APS. “We are honored to support the safety training needs of the aviation industry during these challenging times through the mobilization of our elite UPRT instructors’ expertise and technology to support this initiative.”

Nearly 100 ATOs Now Using Boeing Learning Solutions’ Training System

A dashboard offers the flight training provider the opportunity to see at a glance key metrics for their operations.
A dashboard offers the flight training provider the opportunity to see at a glance key metrics for their operations. (Boeing Global Services/)

The aviation training legacy now under the care of Boeing Global Services began in 1968 when Sanderson Films—led by legendary instructor Paul Sanderson—was purchased by Times Mirror, and then in 1974 merged with Jeppesen to create the company Jeppesen Sanderson. Over the intervening decades, Jeppesen used its reach and technical expertise to deliver aviation education to flight schools and prospective pilots around the world. (Full disclosure: I worked in Jeppesen’s aviation training department from 1997-2000 and again from 2012-2014).

After Boeing’s acquisition of Jeppesen in 2000—and the acquisition of Peters Software GmbH in 2015—that expertise has evolved to address the challenges of delivering training both directly to student pilots and for aviation training organizations to use to oversee pilot development. With its new Boeing Learning Solutions learning management system, the company now provides nearly 100 aviation training organizations and flight schools globally with a dashboard housing a host of materials and functions to streamline student learning and flight school operations.

From the flight school’s point of view, the dashboard forms the central repository for monitoring both student and instructor progress, and resource management within the training milieu. A clean interface provides an instant read of key metrics, including attendance, flight operations, and instructor schedules. The ability to track elements such as classroom usage and aircraft utilization help the training provider to forecast more accurately. The system is scalable to fit a wide range of ATOs from a size and syllabus perspective, with both EASA and FAA courses used within the LMS—including the latest revision to the EASA syllabi available in May.

The complete line of EASA ATPL and FAA Private Pilot materials can be found within the LMS.
The complete line of EASA ATPL and FAA Private Pilot materials can be found within the LMS. (Boeing Global Services/)

From the student’s perspective, the LMS provides a hub for the progression through study materials, interim question-and-answer sessions, and stage testing. Both EASA and FAA materials—in the form of eBooks—can be studied through the LMS, using a iPad, tablet, Mac, or PC, depending on the user’s preference. Jeppesen’s Guided Flight Discovery eBooks that follow the FAA private-pilot syllabus are included in the system as well. Students can use typical functions such as highlighting and note recording to ensure challenging topics are returned to and understood. Instructors can assign questions from the data bank and track student progress.

“The team does a release every two weeks with updates and new features,” said Sascha Neusser, program manager for the BLS, which drives user feedback into the system and keeps it fresh. Reports can be customized for the specific ATO or university, including crew, training, and flight log reports. Because it is optimized for each ATO the pricing for the LMS is by the system, per student, and varies according to the features selected.

Jumpseat: The American Dream

The Romualdo family celebrating their American life.
The Romualdo family celebrating their American life. (Courtesy Les Abend/)

As the Diamond DA42 Twin Star climbed northeast over Florida’s coastline after departing Daytona Beach’s Runway 7L, I grinned empathetically as Will Romualdo’s multiengine CFI student dealt with the process of correctly managing a simulated engine failure from the right seat.

How many years had it been since I recited, “Dead foot, dead engine, mixture, props, throttle, identify, verify, feather”? The years that had passed weren’t nearly as significant as the fact I was trusting my rear end to a man who wasn’t born until after I had been hired by the airline from which I am now retired. Even more ironic, the combined flight time logged for the pilots seated directly in front of me was less than one-quarter of my career total. But I was still relatively comfortable. Why?

It had been six years since I went flying with Brazilian Will Romualdo in his previous life. After riding in the jumpseat of an Avianca Airlines A319 in summer 2013, I had written “The Brazilian Shuttle.” The article described the experience of round-trip flights between the downtown Sao Paulo airport and Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont Airport, with runway lengths at 6,300 feet and 4,300 feet, respectively. Will’s competence was as unquestionable then as it is now. So how did a former airline pilot end up as a flight instructor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University?

The answer is simple: The American dream. Will had caught the flying bug at 5 years old after sitting on the lap of a captain flying for Varig’s regional airline. (He eventually flew as a first officer for that same captain years later.) Will became immersed in a desktop flight simulator at 9 years old. This magazine had a pivotal role in his future, with some of the translated articles enticing him about the freedoms of unrestricted flying in the United States; airspace in Brazil is highly restrictive for general aviation.

For his junior year in high school, Will traveled to Indiana as a foreign exchange student, further encouraging his desire to become an American. He obtained his private certificate and instrument rating and then returned to Brazil for completion of his senior year.

Having developed an affinity for Indiana, Will enrolled in Indiana State University at Terre Haute with a student F-1 visa. He attended one semester and then found a better opportunity to advance his flight training at Portland Community College in Oregon as part of an African missionary program. In addition to obtaining his A&P license, Will became a 19-year-old CFI, teaching at the Hillsboro Aero Academy for 2½ years. Having recommended the school to many aspiring Brazilian pilots, he eventually became their sales rep, sending approximately 210 students to the academy.

After spending some time in Africa flying a Cessna 206 as part of the missionary program following his time at Hillsboro, Will returned to Brazil. He converted his FAA licenses to the Brazilian equivalent. Because taxes for general aviation airplanes registered in the country are horrendous, affluent owners would oftentimes purchase aircraft in the US just to have the N number. This fact provided Will with an opportunity to fly a Beech King Air 350, which would be flown outside of Brazil to avoid the time requirement for registration.

With the appropriate flight experience in his logbook, Will was hired by Gol Airlines as a 737 first officer. He faced the possibility that it would be 12 years before an upgrade to captain presented itself, so when Avianca Brasil Airlines offered a faster track to the left seat, he accepted employment. In 2014, after two years with Avianca, Will became an A319 captain at the ripe old age of 28. His rapid success was further catalyst toward pursuing a better quality of life in the US.

Read More from Les Abend: Jumpseat

Though Brazil has its share of poverty and crime, it is a modern and vibrant part of the world. My exposure to Brazil and its people always left me with the impression of overall satisfaction and happiness. Sure, we avoided certain areas of the streets on layovers in several cities and traveled most often as a group, but that was common practice for many of our layovers.

Will’s insight to his country had more depth. He was frustrated with the corruption. The disparity between haves and have-nots promoted crime to the point that many of Will’s captain colleagues opted for bullet-proof windows in their cars. He shocked me with the statement, “They would kill you for an iPhone.” Will expressed fear that his emergency room pediatrician wife, Debora, might not come home from work.

And beyond the fears of everyday life was the lack of freedom to fly. Renting an airplane is not an option in Brazil. Flight plans are always required. Fees are charged for every flight. Will did not want to raise a family in that environment. Beyond his impeccable fluency with the English language, and his ability to assimilate colloquial speech to the point you just assume he is from Indiana, he had mentally transformed himself into an American.

Obtaining a visa to the US is not an overnight process, involving mountains of documentation and years of waiting, much of the delay because of quota restrictions. So when Will had a chance meeting with a fellow countryman in Orlando, Florida, he learned of an academic H-1 visa opportunity at Embry-Riddle, which is not subject to the standard quotas. He could complete the requirements for his Bachelor of Science degree and become a flight instructor. It didn’t take him long to apply. Leaving behind an airline career and a medical career, Debora and Will moved their life to Daytona Beach with hopes for the future.

Initially, Will assisted a professor with lab work. Within a short period of time, he not only became a CFII and multiengine instructor for the university, but he was anointed in-house check airman with the ability to conduct FAA standardized tests. Because of the waiting time required to obtain a green card and become a permanent resident, many of the students that remain at the school after graduation are foreign nationals. The six-day-a-week pace required for the job is beyond the energy level of most people.

One of the great parts of this story is that Debora and Will have brought a son into their new life. At 2 years old, Nathan is already indicating potential as a budding airline pilot. Another great part of the story is that they received green cards on the day before our nation’s birthday in 2019.

And as I sat in the back of the Diamond Twin Star, watching the calm, cool, collected Will talk through various procedures as we made six circuits around the pattern of my hometown airport of Flagler Beach, I smiled. At 33 years old, he was just about to begin his new career while I had recently ended mine. In less than two weeks, he would begin his employment at Spirit Airlines as an A320 first officer.

Not only is it the beginning of a happy ending, it’s the American dream. None of us should ever forget these are the people that help define our country. I am humbled to call them friends.

This story appeared in the March 2020 issue of Flying Magazine

FlightSafety Creates New Pilot Training Tool for the US Air Force

FlightSmart gives the instructor constantly updated information about a trainee pilot's strengths and weaknesses.
FlightSmart gives the instructor constantly updated information about a trainee pilot's strengths and weaknesses. (FlightSafety International/)

FlightSafety International just announced a new integrated pilot-performance evaluation and training tool called FlightSmart that begins moving away from qualitative-based instruction towards evidence and competency-based training. Bert Sawyer, FlightSafety's director of strategic management said, "It employs artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology to capture insights using evidence-based training methodologies and then predicts the best training approach to learning by providing instructors with a comprehensive understanding of a pilot's strengths and weaknesses." FlightSmart was created after the training company received a contract in November 2019 from the US Air Force Air Education and Training Command.

FlightSmart has successfully completed acceptance testing at the Columbus Air Force Base where the company is working closely with Air Force instructors to optimize the design and development of the tool’s interface. The Air Force plans to use FlightSmart at Columbus AFB on 16 T-6A training devices, including Initial and Operational Flight Trainers. The new tool enables instructors to proactively address a pilot’s deficiencies and optimize the training curriculum by focusing on areas that need improvement, rather than simply repeating actions called for in a fixed syllabus. FlightSafety developed FlightSmart in conjunction with IBM, a world leader in advanced analytics and AI.

Padpilot Launches EASA ATPL Course

High-quality graphics come to life when the texts are viewed on tablets and other devices.
High-quality graphics come to life when the texts are viewed on tablets and other devices. (Padpilot/)

If you’ve had any connection to professional flying in Europe, you understand that the exams required to obtain your airline transport pilot license (ATPL) under the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are notorious for their length and complexity. Recently the agency released its update governing flight crew licensing, the EASA 2020 theory syllabus, including the ATPL. This new document updates the Learning Objectives (LOs) for the theoretical knowledge syllabi, and introduces the TEM (threat and error management) concept and its application.

In early April, Padpilot debuted the first theory textbooks compliant with the new syllabus, which is now taking effect—with an extended transition period; the old syllabus is valid through January 31, 2022, with certain countries having further extensions. The new texts represent the second edition of Padpilot’s text series, expanding on its coverage of TEM and other LOs.

A number of irrelevant LOs have been deleted, and “there is now a greater emphasis on new procedures and technologies,” according to Padpilot’s media release. “For example, details about the separation rules applied to aircraft by air traffic controllers have gone, making room for a more in-depth discussion of new avionics and new datalink communication procedures, and more about aircraft automation. The new syllabus still refers to some obsolete technology, but it's more relevant to modern airline operations than the old one.” Two tests, VFR and IFR Communications, have been combined into one, reducing the total number of ATPL theory exams to 13 instead of 14 separate tests.

Under the current and widely varying stay-at-home orders globally, the 58 aviation training organizations affiliated with Padpilot have moved much of their ground coursework online. The second edition of the Padpilot books has been optimized to be used in distance learning situations, and they include correlation and application elements such as “Connect the Dots”—tying subject areas together—and Case Studies to explore real-life scenarios.

One new addition to the network of ATOs using the Padpilot materials is EuroPilot Center, which is based in Antwerp, Belgium, and Thermal, California. EuroPilot Center’s CEO, Kay Vereeken, said that they chose Padpilot because “they’re ahead of the game; the books are beautiful and well-structured, and include the new Knowledge, Skill and Attitude areas for the 2020 EASA requirements. They have implemented new technology, such as AR (Augmented Reality), and they’re a good match with our training philosophy which is ‘personal pilot training, in style.’ Padpilot books are convenient, paperless, and a fun way for students to study. And of course, Padpilot always offers great customer service.”

The Flying Six-Pack

There are a lot of adventures you can find in a Cessna 150, as the Swanson family knows well—six of its members are pilots.
There are a lot of adventures you can find in a Cessna 150, as the Swanson family knows well—six of its members are pilots. (Trent Palm/)

Aviation has long been a part of my life and the life of my family going back many years. None of us would carry the love for aviation we do today if it hadn’t been for my grandpa, Ralph Swanson.

Grandpa Swanson was a master sergeant who served 22 years in the US Air Force. His career in the USAF was phenomenal, including over 500 combat flight hours and thousands more flight hours as a flight engineer aboard a broad variety of aircraft—including the F-4. Not only did my grandpa serve long, hard and proud, but he was also the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross within the USAF because of the heroic combat missions he had flown in unarmed aircraft over the jungles of Vietnam.

The cousins, uncles, fathers, and sons that make up Trent Palm’s (far right) flying family.
The cousins, uncles, fathers, and sons that make up Trent Palm’s (far right) flying family. (Trent Palm/)

So, as you can see, it was within him that our family’s love of aviation began and has led to a generational journey of taking to the skies, beginning with his two sons, Jamie and David Swanson (my uncles), who bought their first airplane just out of high school to begin their training. Their example of passion and proficiency led the next generation to join in the adventure, starting with me.

At the age of 15 I began my flight training and flew my first solo at the age of 16, getting my private pilot certificate just after my 17th birthday. The passion and enjoyment of aviation began with my grandpa, was nurtured by my uncles, and has only grown stronger and more exciting over the years.

Grandpa Ralph Swanson and the F-4 he was crew chief on in Vietnam.
Grandpa Ralph Swanson and the F-4 he was crew chief on in Vietnam. (Trent Palm/)

The generational love of the skies didn’t stop with me, though. In due course, David’s two sons, Chase and Seth would also train and receive their private pilot certificates as well—both training and then adventuring in their family’s Cessna 150. And, the circle was completed with Jamie’s only son, Joseph Swanson, not only completing his flight training—just a couple of days apart from his cousin Chase—but also being an honored recipient of a $10,000 EAA Ray Foundation scholarship.

You know a person can be fortunate to meet a family with one or two pilots in the mix, but it is on rare occasion, there are six in a room. In our family, we have an active “six pack” of family pilots, which might just be something for the record books today. Aviation is in our blood and one might say we have caught the bug, but it’s truly what brings us together as a family.

Palm and his uncle, Jamie Swanson, flying the Piper Cherokee Six on a doughnut run to Ames, Iowa, in better times.
Palm and his uncle, Jamie Swanson, flying the Piper Cherokee Six on a doughnut run to Ames, Iowa, in better times. (Trent Palm/)

From hangar flying at the family grass strip (MY95, Swanson Field) in central Minnesota, to cross-country adventures to Ohio, Pensacola, or North Carolina, we love seeing family, making memories and the thrill of each throttle-up, take off and fly-by. The love of aviation brings us back together whether it’s in the air or on the ground. I would love to tell more of our story to the world of aviation—the simple, hard, adventurous and beautiful. It’s all been entirely worth it.

You can follow Trent Palm on Twitter, @aeroTpalm. Share your own “family flying” story with us by an email to: edit@flyingmag.com.

Sporty’s Offers Online Flight Instructor Refresher Course at No Cost

Access to the eFIRC is available on any smart phone, tablet or computer.
Access to the eFIRC is available on any smart phone, tablet or computer. (Sporty's Academy/)

Flight instructors are required to renew their certificate every two years. CFIs with a specific number of successful checkride recommendations during the previous two years can however, renew based alone on that record—but that may not be possible in the current environment.

Recently, the bottom has fallen out from underneath flight schools because of the coronavirus outbreak, leaving many CFIs with no students to teach. Online options for a flight instructor refresher clinic (FIRC) have come to the rescue with companies like Sporty’s Academy, already well known for their online FIRC. Sporty’s recently announced that it will offer its online eFIRC free, as a convenient renewal option.

Created by the instructional staff at Sporty’s Academy, Sporty’s eFIRC is universally accessible on PC, Mac, and mobile devices including iPad and Android platforms through a web browser. Simply log in through an internet connection and begin training. There is no software to install. Sporty’s Academy president Eric Radtke says, “Sporty’s eFIRC was developed from scratch with today’s modern CFI in mind so you won’t find just a rehash of regulations and dry FOI theory. Rather, you’ll learn about topics pertinent to today’s flight training environment.”

Sporty’s eFIRC contains 16 lessons, each broken into learning modules for ease of study. Topics range from emerging technology to loss of control, from regulatory changes and updates to new weather products. Another module contains important information about accepting remote pilot or student pilot applications and additional relevant content to keep you current. Each lesson has a corresponding quiz to assess your progress. Also included is an extensive reference library with quick access to certification standards, advisory circulars, regulations, handbooks and more. The progress dashboard keeps the instructor apprised of their study progress and quiz scores.

New to Sporty’s eFIRC is the CFI Endorsement Guide, a plain-language reference covering the endorsements required for students and when they apply. The CFI Endorsement Guide is abbreviated to quickly access endorsements used most often, and it meets the latest advisory circular information.

With the option of paperless ACR (airmen certification representative) service, flight instructors who complete Sporty’s online FIRC have the option for Sporty’s to process all their CFI renewal paperwork from within the course and issue a temporary certificate, all from the convenience of their home or office. Ground instructors may also receive a graduation certificate to meet the recent experience requirements.

Once registered, access to Sporty’s eFIRC is available for one year at no cost. The paperless CFI renewal service does run $24.95. To enroll or see an interactive course demonstration, visit sportys.com/firc.