Reviewing the Flight Review Process
Now that the new Flight Review system has been in place for almost 6 months, it’s a good time to reflect on how the new process has been working and to clarify any misunderstandings with the process.
Since last August, there have been 640 flight reviews under the new system and 550 pilots are now on a 2 yearly flight review cycle. The 90 pilots on a shorter review period usually had low experience and/or lacked recency and currency (COVID has played a part in this). Some Club panels are using the Currency Barometer at Appendix C of OAN 01/20 to determine the Flight Review period; for example, pilots in the red zone will only be eligible for a 12-month review period which should encourage pilots to fly more.
The Ops Department had many questions and comments about the online exam that is part of the flight review process. The aim of the exam as stated in the Flight Review FAQs is not to assess the pilot’s knowledge, but to encourage pilots to refresh themselves with those things that they may have forgotten. The questions can be done in your own time with access to any references as questions are taken from the following sources:
- GFA Operations Manual
- Australian Gliding Knowledge
- GFA Airways and Radio Procedures
- Instructors’ Handbook
- Winch Launch Manual
- GFA Aerotowing Manual
- GFA Human Factors
- The Glider Flying Handbook
Some questions require knowledge of the Civil Aviation Regulations and other resources; such as Civil Aviation Advisory Publications (CAAPs), the Aeronautical information Publication (AIP) book, VFRG, ERSA, etc.
Even though the online system will grade the answers and assign a pass or fail (70% is the lowest pass mark for the online system), there is no requirement to ‘pass’ the test to achieve your Flight Review. If you score less than 70%, you can retake the test if you wish. Regardless of your score, the online system will output your questions and answers to take to your flight assessor who can debrief any knowledge gaps as required to make the exam a positive learning experience.
The Online Exam Question Bank is the same for both instructors and command pilots. Questions are categorised, but one category applies only to instructors so instructors will answer 40 out of 224 questions and command pilots will answer 35 out of 211 questions.
The question bank caters for all glider pilots: males, females, self-launching glider pilots and winch drivers. The software can’t identify what category so you may receive a question which may not be totally relevant to you. For pilots without access to a computer to do the online exam, please discuss options with your assessor. Some assessors have offered the use of a computer to do the exam or the assessor can email the EM/O for a set of Q&As which can be delivered orally.
We have had useful feedback on some questions that were not relevant, incorrect answer, ambiguous or poorly worded and we have updated the question bank accordingly. We will continue to update and improve the question bank so any specific feedback on questions and answers is welcome. The feedback to questions have identified some discrepancies between GFA publications that have now been fixed, it has also stimulated discussion about some procedures that aren’t as standardised as previously thought. Some pilots notified us and insisted that a particular answer was incorrect, only to learn that the answer was actually correct. Therefore the online exam has achieved its aims and many pilots are gaining the benefit of a 2 yearly Flight Review.