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The TCC Transition Training Guide

By Thomas P. Turner, EAA 238678, TTG Working Group Chairman

May 2018 - Creating an industry-wide best practices guide for transition training and a recommended curriculum for type-specific pilot training was the original chartered purpose of the Type Club Coalition. The TCC Transition Training Guide working group is nearing completion of such a guide for type clubs to use in creating and improving type-specific pilot training products. The ultimate goal is to reduce the accident rate and especially the fatal accident rate in general aviation. A secondary goal is to help type clubs provide products and services that enhance the value of belonging to a type club, as a means of recruiting members to ensure the training message has the widest possible audience. We will formally announce the TCC Transition Training Guide at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.

The TCC made this commitment to increase the quality of type-specific training for all types of general aviation aircraft, including type-certificated aircraft, experimental amateur-built aircraft, and warbirds. Emphasis is placed on using the experiences and products of type clubs that already have pilot training programs to help other clubs create similar resources of their own. Sharing best practices will also help type clubs enhance existing programs. The wide variety of aircraft, missions, pilots, and operating environments among TCC members makes it impossible to create a single syllabus that works for everyone. The TCC Transition Training Guide, then, is an outline of topics, techniques, and recommendations that type clubs can use as a template for creating their own customized training systems. The guide  references existing examples of manuals and syllabi from TCC members to show how some issues have been addressed and give type club course developers ideas for their own training programs.

How Type Clubs Will Use the Guide

Type clubs may use the TCC Transition Training Guide (TTG) to provide a structured format for their training, and as a crosscheck to ensure completeness of the training the club provides. The TTG uses examples of existing type club training products so developers may get ideas they may wish to incorporate, and see how other groups have addressed training issues and resolved problems. With the TTG as a template, type clubs can write their own program specific to the aircraft that club supports.

It’s the individual type club’s choice to determine how much effort and oversight it wants to put into training. Regardless, for success it is vital that the club seek out ideas and techniques from flight instructors and other pilots who fly the design. If instructors and mentors do not buy into the program, they will not follow the club’s recommendations when training pilots. If that happens, the effort put into creating type club guidance is wasted. 

Sometimes a club may promote alternative techniques for a given task or procedure. There is rarely only one correct way to fly an aircraft, so having multiple techniques for safely accomplishing maneuvers and tasks gives pilots and instructors greater insight and the ability to choose what works best for the individual. Once a type club has released its pilot training guidance, the club will distribute and promote it to its members.

How it’s Organized

The TTG includes three sections: suggestions for ground and preflight study, notes on creating a flight-training syllabus, and guidance for instructors and mentor pilots who will provide the type club’s training. 

We recognize that not all type clubs want to provide the same level of flight instruction, or have the resources to administer a program. The working group suggests three levels of training from which each type club may choose the level that best fits its organization. The three levels are pilot’s notes, training for proficiency, and training for mastery.

Pilot’s notes is a written transition guide that may or may not include a full flight-training syllabus. It is a detailed collection of notes, observations, and recommendations from pilots and instructors who are experienced in the design, on type-specific aircraft handling and techniques for normal, abnormal, and emergency operation.

Training for proficiency includes pilot’s notes and adds a recommended flight training syllabus and suggested criteria for selecting a qualified instructor or pilot mentor to oversee flight training.

Training for mastery includes the training for proficiency items but takes it a step further with type club standardization and accreditation of instructor pilots, required documentation of flight training events, type club review of training records to ensure the entire syllabus was presented and the pilot received training to the club’s completion standards, and a course completion certificate for pilots who complete the entire syllabus to published standards. The training for mastery level represents a type club’s greatest commitment to pilot excellence and may satisfy insurance requirements for training in aircraft types for which obtaining insurance is a challenge.

Each level of service to your members builds upon the previous level. You may find it daunting at first to aim for the gold standard of training for mastery. As you develop pilot’s notes, however, you may find it’s natural to add a suggested flight syllabus to attain the training for proficiency level. After success with such a program, your club may elect to train and accredit specific flight instructors and mentor pilots, and issue completion certificates to pilots who meet your club’s standards for aircraft mastery. It’s vital to solicit input from pilots and flight instructors experienced in the type, and to incorporate as much as possible their suggestions and techniques for the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft.

Guide Sections

The TTG will be delivered in three sections for the type club to use as it sees fit. The sections are ground study, flight-training syllabus, and guidance for instructors.

Ground Study

Ground study is designed to get pilots into whatever documentation exists on the type, including pilot’s operating handbooks, flight manuals, and other published materials when available. The type club creating its training should add notes and recommendations that provide significant insight into real-world systems knowledge, procedures, and pilot techniques. The TTG provides type clubs with a sample of how they may wish to format their recommendations, suggestions, and notes. 

Flight-Training Syllabus

The flight-training syllabus should mirror FAA or similar tasks and completion standards, customized to take into account the specific systems, handling, and characteristics of the aircraft type. This section of the TTG makes extensive use of examples already published by TCC member organizations.

Guidance for Instructors

This “train the trainer” section will provide guidance to type clubs on the selection, training, and standardization of flight instructors or other mentor pilots who will conduct the flight syllabus. It will also include ideas for tracking the conduct and results of pilot training if the type club elects to do so.

Creating the Guide

A training best practices committee was mentioned briefly at the TCC meeting at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, and as a result I volunteered to chair a working group to get it done. With EAA’s help we circulated a call for working group volunteers shortly after AirVenture 2017. Reiff Lorenz of the Velocity Owners and Builders Association, Jeff Edwards of the Lancair Owners and Builders Organization, and Coyle Schwab of the Cessna 190/195 Association and chairman of the Type Club Coalition, volunteered to help. Mack Dickson served as EAA liaison until he moved to a position at Embry-Riddle, and the duty transferred to Kyle Ludwick when he began at EAA.

After completing the ground study program we submitted it and the general guide outline to peer review: the North American Trainer Association, the Ercoupe Owners group, and EAA Vice President of Advocacy & Safety Sean Elliott, and also the antique and warbird communities. After incorporating their suggestions, we finalized the ground study draft and the overall TTG concept. We briefed the entire TCC during our quarterly phone call on March 29. The final development step, which is about to be undertaken as I write this, is to send the final TTG draft to all TCC members for their organizations’ review and suggestions. We’ll take these into account and release the final draft at AirVenture 2018.

Thank you to the committee members and liaisons, and to everyone who helped with the review and improvement of the draft TCC Transition Training Guide.

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