Airlines are hiring like never before. Pilots are moving up through the ranks quicker than ever, and CFI's are needed at rates that have never been seen before. One hurdle to becoming a CFI is earning the required spin endorsement. The FAA says a CFI applicant must be competent and possess instructional proficiency in stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery procedures. What does that mean and how is the training done? More importantly, how should it be done?
AC 61-67 gives a little insight. Basically it says an applicant needs to demonstrate a power on and off stalls, avoid a spin a few times, and enter and recover from a spin in each direction. What this all too often looks like is someone goes up with a CFI that has done a handful of spins before, they do 2 spins (one in each direction) and leave happy with the coveted spin endorsement in their logbook.
There are a few problems with that. The endorsement recipient can, once they earn their CFI, now go out and give spin training. Most won't, but some will. The other problem is doing a small number of spins builds a false sense of security and simplicity about spins. I'm not saying they are difficult, they usually aren't. I'm saying when they go bad they go really bad really quickly and an incorrect recovery may mean no recovery at all. Lastly, the endorsement states the pilot is proficient in teaching spins. There is no realistic expectation that anyone can teach a spin after only doing a few themselves.
So what do we do?
Our spin training program includes 2 days of training and three flights with structured ground presentations and detailed completion standards. The ground prepares the student, the flights expose the student to enough spins (spread out enough to allow for retention and reduce nausea) that they can comprehend what is happening, and the completion standards holds everyone to a standard level that includes being able to teach stalls and spins. We avoid setting people up for failure by requiring the CFI written exams be completed prior to training- we incorporate the fundamentals of instruction in how we teach spins.
We recognize most CFI applicants just need the endorsement and aren't interested in any extra training or expense. We also accept that this level of training is beyond the industry norm. However, in a time when loss of control (LOC) accidents kill more pilots than the next 3 causes combined, and the majority of LOC accidents involve stalls and spins, we feel it's our duty to train instructors to the absolute best of our ability.
What about people that want to do spin training but don't want to become a CFI? That's perfect! We do exactly the same thing, just without talking about teaching techniques.
Want to learn more? Download your free copy of our training syllabus.
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