General aviation (GA) pilots enjoy a level of flexibility and freedom unrivaled by their aeronautical contemporaries. Airline, corporate, and military flight operations are all strictly regulated, and each uses a significant degree of internal oversight to ensure compliance. GA has relatively few of these regulatory encumbrances. As a result, safety depends heavily upon the development and maintenance of each individual pilot's basic skills, systems
knowledge, and aeronautical decision-making skills.
The purpose of the flight review required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 61.56 is to provide for a regular evaluation of pilot skills and aeronautical knowledge. AC 61-98B states that the flight review is also intended to offer pilots the opportunity to design a personal currency and proficiency program in consultation with a certificated flight instructor (CFI). In effect, the flight review is the aeronautical equivalent of a regular medical checkup and ongoing health improvement program. Like a physical exam, a flight review may have certain "standard" features (e.g., review of specific regulations and maneuvers). However, just as the physician should tailor the exam and follow-up to the individual's characteristics and needs, the CFI should tailor both the flight review and any follow-up plan for training and proficiency to each pilot's skill, experience, aircraft, and personal flying goals.
To better accomplish these objectives, this guide, intended for use in conjunction with AC 61-98B, offers ideas for conducting an effective flight review. It also provides tools for helping that pilot develop a personalized currency, proficiency, risk management, and "aeronautical health maintenance and improvement" program. A key part of this process is the development of risk management strategies and realistic personal minimums. You can think of these minimums as individual "operations specifications" that can help guide the pilot's decisions and target areas for personal proficiency flying and future training.
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