Rate One Aviation is serious about helping anyone, be they independent instructors or small flying schools, who would like to offer instrument flight training. We want to offer them our resources at prices that enable them to earn a decent profit. We don’t see any need to keep this intention secret from pilots so there is no ‘trade access only’ section of our website. If pilots can see ways in which they can get the deal they want by packaging Rate One resources with local schools or instructors that’s great. This can be a winning situation for everyone.
Any instrument instructor who holds an IR and wishes to become an associate instructor with Rate One Aviation will need to visit us for a day’s course. This provides an explanation of our approach to instrument training and checks you out. We also cover our standard IR checks and operating procedures. If you subsequently choose not to use them, that is your decision. However, we have put a lot of effort into designing our procedures for the private pilots with a minimum of the commercial aviation practice that commercially orientated schools include in skill test preparation but which is not actually required under EASA regulations. We think they give your customers the best chance of a first time pass in the minimum time.
There will be a charge for this course (see prices section) but this will be discounted against subsequent use of our resources. There will also be an annual half day instructor refresher session to maintain this associate instructor relationship.
What resources are involved?
To a degree that is up to you to decide. You can package what Rate One can offer with whatever you feel you can do best at your local airfield. We have spent the last five years directly involved in the process of developing the new courses so no one understands them better. We have a structured course with training materials to back this up. A standard method of recording your training, compliant with the EASA record keeping requirements, comes with the package. Perhaps less obviously we have put a quarter of a million pounds of investment and two years of effort in order to be approved to offer the CBM IR and the EIR. Of course other ATOs could benefit from our work and duplicate these approvals at less cost and good luck to them. However we doubt if this will be commercially viable for more than a small minority of ATO’s
What Approach to IR Training might work best?
This is a new situation and the best ways of working will emerge over time but here are some thoughts about how to make a start, some techniques that are likely to work well and a few that seem ill advised.
You might for example use an economical aircraft available locally which was good for basic IF, ILS and GPS approaches but which was ill equipped for NDB DME approaches. (Poor ADF or no RMI) You and your customer might accept this and decide that they will just come to grips with using a fixed card ADF. Alternatively you might decide to employ some mix of local aircraft and Rate One Aviation aircraft. Converting to our aircraft at a late stage will raise its own issues but maybe the extra couple of hours are worthwhile and will come with VPP, retractable and glass cockpit sign offs. Associate instructors can instruct on Rate One Aviation aircraft subject to a thorough check out.
The final training in an ATO
We obviously hope that you will use Rate One for your final 10 hours in an ATO brush up prior to test. Gloucester is almost certainly the best IR test location in the country. However there is no compulsion. If for whatever reason you decide to test elsewhere and there is a CBM IR approved local ATO that will sign off your candidate as ready for test that’s fine with us. With us at Gloucester It may be possible for you to instruct that final brush up hours under our supervision. This will probably not be appropriate for your first IR candidate through Rate One Aviation but once we have built confidence and mutual understanding then this will certainly be an option.
How you deal with your customers is up to you but we suggest that unless they have 40 hours of well-structured and planned training they are unlikely to pass the skill test. An IMC they did years ago, a few hours of solo FBSRI and few hours local practice with an instructor is not going to be anywhere near adequate preparation. Bringing them to us for a mid-course assessment flight with our head of training is a wise precaution and reality check. It is in all stakeholders interests to avoid any possibility of disappointment at a late stage in the course.
Recommendation for test
Deciding when pilots are ‘test ready’ is always awkward and stressful. There is a delicate balance between waiting till they deliver a perfect pre-test performance and giving them the chance to have a go when they are almost up to standard. Rate One Aviation has absolutely no interest in stretching out candidates’ training. We want successful candidates in the minimum time. However a skill test costs about £1000 and a ‘partial’ retest not much less. We also want Rate One to have a good success record so we try as honestly as we can to judge a pilot’s preparedness. If on their mock test they definitively fail for example by busting minima then they will not be put forward for test without further training. We will not send candidates for test in very strong winds or when the forecast indicates the test is very likely to be cancelled. Typical weather problems are embedded CB’s or a low freezing level. It is unwise for candidates to get themselves into a position where there is pressure to test on a given inflexible date. Whenever possible a three or four day slot giving some opportunity to pick the best weather day works best.
FAA IR conversions
It has now become clear that, at least in the UK, FAA conversion candidates will have to be recommended for test by an ATO, in all probability one approved to deliver the CBM IR. Some, perhaps most UK examiners are unfamiliar with the FAA system so will be reluctant to test at all unless an ATO takes responsibility for the legality of the pilot and their aircraft. If after doing an assessment flight with an FAA IR holder we recommend some training we are happy for this to be delivered by associate instructors. It may also be possible for them to test at locations other than Gloucester but briefing facilities will be required so a local ATO will need to be involved.
If you know of FAA IR conversion candidates, we suggest you send them (or bring them) to us for an initial assessment. For prices see the costs section.