Initial, Recurrent, Differences – and Those Crazy Insurance Company Rules

Initial Aircraft Training Approved by Insurance Companies

Pilots will call us and tell us they want (and need) an initial training.  The initial training is prepared with a syllabus that is approved by the aviation insurance companies. When you take an initial training, the training is geared around a syllabus that has been reviewed, squeezed, copied, changed, and finally approved.  This is what the insurance companies want.  This has nothing to do with the training facility. It has everything to do with what the insurance companies have approved.

Let’s say you complete an initial and the insurance company then wants you to take a yearly recurrent.  Then the facility or training group/person puts on their “recurrent hat” that has been approved by the insurance company.  That is what you get trained on and it should be a “refresher” of what you learned on the initial.  The problem occurs when the person took an “initial” and that initial training did not help you learn anything about safety or the safe operation of the aircraft.  Then the new facility or group/person must start peddling like going up the river against the flow to get you up to speed.  If you walk into recurrent training and you don’t even know the basic operations of the aircraft and someone “pencil whipped” your initial, then you are not only behind the power curve, but you are a walking time bomb.  

So, the problem is two-fold. First, you were “short changed” on the initial training.  You basically had a book read to you or you flew around in the plane with no ground school. You learned nothing about the operation of the systems or detail flight problems of the aircraft.  Second, you have opened yourself up to litigation as the training you received did not meet the requirements of an initial training program.

Finally, people think that they will fly in the aircraft, and they get signed off for an initial training.  They don’t need any detailed simulator training as they learned all they need from flying the plane.  This is just plain garbage.  When you fly in the plane you learn “how to fly in the plane.”  There is no way you can cover the 40 to 45 emergencies that we teach in the simulators.  If you did work those problems in the plane, I can tell you for one thing you will “crack the cases” on those turbocharged engines.  We see this consistently.  Even “0” thrust in the plane is not enough to handle an engine loss with weight on the plane and full fuel.  In the case of twin Cessna aircraft in most load environments they will fly on one engine.  We know that for a fact as we have flown these aircraft in a real engine loss and so have our students.  It is not the same in the plane.

We train airline captains who buy large turbocharged aircraft.  The very first thing they do is schedule training with us. Think about this. Train hard and fly safe.

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