Decisions

TATC File No. O-3059-59
MoT File No. 5802-398304

TRANSPORTATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL OF CANADA

BETWEEN:

James Kevin Wilkins, Applicant

- and -

Minister of Transport, Respondent

LEGISLATION:
Aeronautics Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. A-2, s. 7.1(1)(b)


Review Determination
Hebb C. Russell


Decision: September 6, 2005

I am in agreement with the respondent in not granting the applicant a Class 2 instructor rating and that the Notice of Suspension is confirmed.

A review hearing on this matter was held Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 10:00 hours, at Victory Verbatim, Ernst & Young Tower, in Toronto, Ontario.

THE LAW

Paragraph 7.1(1)(b) of the Aeronautics Act:

If the Minister decides to suspend, cancel or refuse to renew a Canadian aviation document on the grounds that

[...]
(b) the holder or any aircraft, airport or other facility in respect of which the document was issued ceases to meet the qualifications necessary for the issuance of the document or to fulfil the conditions subject to which the document was issued, or
[...]

the Minister shall, by personal service or by registered or certified mail sent to the holder or to the owner or operator of the aircraft, airport or facility, as the case may be, at the latest known address, notify that person of the Minister's decision.

ISSUE

The matter at issue before this review hearing, requested by the applicant, is whether the respondent was justified in suspending the applicant's Class 2 instructor rating due to a lack of "overall planning and organization of lesson, teaching proficiency", pursuant to paragraph 7.1(1)(b) of the Aeronautics Act.

As stated on the Flight Test Report, Exhibit M-1, there are two assessed items listed as failure to meet the Class 2 standard. As either item is cause for failure, there are therefore two issues to be dealt with on their own merit:

1)    1a    Mr. Wilkins did not correctly identify the training needs of the student.

2)    2b    Mr. Wilkins' selection of a practice field was located too close to the built-up area, causing an overshoot over the town below 1,000 feet above ground level.

Mr. Wilkins testified that he felt his rating during this exam was within the limits of a Class 2 instructor rating.

EVIDENCE

A motion was made by the respondent to amend the Notice of Suspension, issued to James Wilkins on August 17, 2004, by the removal of the requirement to re-write exams as part of the prerequisite for the applicant's re-licencing to a Class 2 standard.

As the applicant had no objections to the withdrawal of this requirement, I affirmed the amendment.

The respondent presented the following exhibits:

  • M-1 , Flight Test Report, Flight Instructor Rating, James Wilkins, dated August 17, 2004
  • M-2, Photocopy of Inspector Spiers' Examination Flight Log, dated August 17, 2004
  • M-3, Pilot Training Record, Aeroplane. This ten-page document is of the pseudo Student's Pilot Logbook that was presented to Mr. Wilkins for the use in his lesson preparation for the flight test in question.

The respondent presented the following Transport Canada public domain documents:

  • Flight Instructor Guide - Aeroplane (TP 975E)
  • Flight Test Guide - Flight Instructor Rating - Aeroplane, Helicopter, Aerobatic (TP 5537E)

The Member has accepted these documents as well as all reference material that these documents refer to.

Inspector Spiers, witness for the respondent, described the procedures and methods used for the renewal of a flight instructor licence as published in the Transport Canada publication Flight Test Guide - Flight Instructor Rating - Aeroplane, Helicopter, Aerobatic, 2002.

Requirements for Issue of a Rating which states:

Candidates must meet all prerequisites in the Personnel Licensing Standards CAR 421 and demonstrate the following performance in each of the seven items assessed on the flight test:

  • Class 1/Assessed as Class 1 in all items.
  • Class 2/Assessed as Class 1 or 2 in all items.
  • Class 3/Assessed as Class 1, 2, or 3 in all items.
  • Class 4/Assessed as Class 1, 2, or 3 in all items.

Assessment Standards

[...]

Class 2 – Aeroplane and Helicopter

  • Presentation may include very few minor errors in the application of the learning factors and techniques of instruction
  • Teaching method obtains good student involvement
  • Technical information presented to the student must be accurate
  • Demonstrates knowledge of training and testing standards appropriate for supervising a staff of instructors
  • Able to readily identify errors in the performance of flight manoeuvres and suggest effective strategies for improvement
  • Performance of flight manoeuvres predominantly involves very few minor errors

[...]

Conduct of the Flight Test

The flight test for the flight instructor rating consists of three phases titled – Pre-flight, In-flight and Post-flight. The test, which should not normally take more than half a day to complete, is intended to simulate a realistic training session with a student. Skills as an instructor will be assessed in the following areas:

Pre-Flight

  • Overall Planning and Organization of Lesson
  • Preparatory Ground Instruction
  • Pre-flight Briefing

In-Flight

  • Flight Proficiency
  • Teaching Proficiency
  • Analysis of Student Performance

Post-Flight

  • Post-flight De-briefing

The privileges sought will determine the nature of the test. For example, the test for upgrading to a Class 2 rating, aeroplane or helicopter, will include assessment of supervisory skills. [...]

Inspector Spiers described how he, as the examiner, played the role of the pseudo student pilot and the sequence of events that he followed in his Flight Test Exam of Mr. Wilkins.

Mr. Spiers provided Mr. Wilkins with a copy of a Pseudo Pilot's Training Record (Exhibit M-3), in order for him to review and subsequently determine an appropriate Lesson Plan Number, as listed in the Transport Canada Flight Instructor Guide.

After reviewing the Pilot Training Record, Mr. Wilkins elected to choose Lesson 24. The applicant then amended Lesson 24 with the addition of Exercise 11 which is a demonstration of Slow Flight.

Mr. Wilkins then had 20 minutes to prepare for Lesson 24 which now consisted of:

  • Short Minimum Runway Take-Off
  • Locate a field suitable for precautionary landing demonstration
  • Precautionary Landing
  • Slow Flight
  • Soft Field Landing

Mr. Wilkins then gave Mr. Spiers a pre-flight briefing covering what was to be demonstrated and flown. This included:

1. Pre-Flight briefing and clarify with the student:

  • What we are going to do
  • How we are going to do it
  • Safety considerations

2. Air Test

  • Minimum (short) Runway Take-Off
  • Navigation: Map Reading and ETA to Training Area
  • Find a field suitable for precautionary landing demonstration
  • Precautionary Landing and Overshoot
  • Slow Flight Demonstration
  • Soft Field Landing

3. Post-Flight Debriefing

It was Mr. Spiers' testimony that the first issue of failure to meet a Class 2 standard, as listed in Exhibit M-1, was the applicant's choice of lesson from the Flight Instructor Guide, and that he modified the lesson as well. Mr. Wilkins elected to choose Lesson 24, which included Exercise 21, Precautionary Landing. Mr. Spiers was expecting Lesson 20, which included Exercise 22, Forced Landing. It was Mr. Spiers' opinion that the student was not ready for Lesson 24 as it would be outside of this student's envelope. Mr. Spiers went on to state that Mr. Wilkins compounded the error by electing to modify this lesson with the addition of Exercise 11, Slow Flight, which was not part of Lesson 24's itinerary, as published in the Flight Instructor Guide. Mr. Spiers also stated that the lesson syllabus as published should not be amended.

The second issue of failure to meet a Class 2 standard, as listed on Exhibit M-1, occurred during the in-flight portion of the flight test. It was Mr. Spiers' opinion that Mr. Wilkins chose a field, for the purpose of demonstrating a precautionary landing, that had insufficient margin or distance to allow for a climb to an altitude of 1,000 feet or more above ground level, prior to flying over the built-up area. Mr. Spiers stated that this is a straight violation of subparagraph 602.14(2)(a)(i) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), which reads as follows:

(2) Except where conducting a take-off, approach or landing or where permitted under section 602.15, no person shall operate an aircraft

(a) over a built-up area or over an open-air assembly of persons unless the aircraft is operated at an altitude from which, in the event of an emergency necessitating an immediate landing, it would be possible to land the aircraft without creating a hazard to persons or property on the surface, and, in any case, at an altitude that is not lower than

(i) for aeroplanes, 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle located within a horizontal distance of 2,000 feet from the aeroplane,
[...]

Mr. Spiers reviewed the difference between a Class 2 and Class 3 instructor rating. The Transport Canada Flight Test Guide – Flight Instructor Rating – Aeroplane, Helicopter, Aerobatic, under Assessment Standards, states that a Class 2 instructor must, among other things:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of training and testing standards appropriate for supervising a staff of instructors

Mr. Spiers stated that it is not just the violation of the CARs that is being assessed as a failure; it is more that Mr. Wilkins did not meet the standards required of a Class 2 instructor. The respondent stated that a Class 2 instructor has the responsibility of managing Class 3 and 4 instructors and as such he must know and follow all of the CARs' restrictions. The Precautionary Landing Demonstration was good except for the overshoot portion which resulted in a climb to an altitude of only 900 feet above ground level, prior to crossing the built-up area.

It was for these reasons that Mr. Wilkins is being assessed as not displaying a Class 2 instructor standard and as such is being reverted to a Class 3 instructor rating.

Mr. Wilkins testified that he felt his rating during this exam was within the limits of a Class 2 instructor and made the following points:

After reviewing the student's Pilot Training Record, Mr. Wilkins decided on selecting Lesson 24 after concluding that this student had spent the previous two months primarily flying circuits and therefore needed to spend some time away from the circuit, reading a map. Mr. Wilkins felt he had met all procedures, for the Precautionary Landing Demonstration, with proficiency and that it was preferable to demonstrate the procedure as an exercise and not a practice. He felt he had met all of the rules that apply for executing a Precautionary Landing. He also mentioned that it is common to use, as he did, the acronym COWLS, as a guide to be followed when executing a precautionary landing, justifying his choice of a field close to a town:

C........ Close to Civilization

O........ Obstacles

W....... Wind direction

L......... Length of field

S......... Surface construction and condition

DETERMINATION

I, for the reasons previously indicated, accepted the respondent's request for the removal of the requirement for the applicant to re-write exams for re-licensing to a Class 2 standard as stated on the Notice of Suspension.

I conclude the applicant, after reviewing lessons completed in Exercise 22 and finding no indication of lessons completed in Exercise 21, could understandingly judge that Exercise 21 had been passed over or missed. As Exercise 21, Precautionary Landing, is included in Lesson 24, I support the applicant's decision of having this as an acceptable lesson of choice.

I conclude an instructor has the prerogative to not only choose but also to modify a published lesson, if he feels it is in the best interest of training a particular student. I refer to the Flight Instructor Guide – Aeroplane, Introduction, where it states:

This guide has been prepared by Transport Canada Aviation for the information and guidance of pilots preparing to apply for flight instructor ratings, and for use as a reference by qualified flight instructors. (Emphasis mine)

Also in Part III, it states:

Lesson Plans for the Private Pilot Flight Training Syllabus, which follow, provide guidance for the new instructor, and a ready reference for the more experienced instructor. [...] (Emphasis mine)

While it is recommended that flight instructors carefully follow these Lesson Plans as outlined, the personal instructional techniques of an individual flight instructor may be cause for modification of this syllabus, in which case, it should be committed to writing and followed with care. In either case, special circumstances such as aircraft availability, geographic location, or weather conditions may necessitate a departure from the written numerical order of the Lesson Plans.

I conclude on the evidence before me that an overshoot of less than 1,000 feet above ground level did occur during the in-flight portion of the test, as the applicant did not contest or cross-examine the respondent's witness regarding the overshoot altitude as stated. Therefore, I must accept the 900 feet above ground level altitude as being correct, proving a violation of CARs 602.14(2)(a)(i) did occur. I therefore agree with the respondent in assessing, pursuant to paragraph 7.1(1)(b) of the Aeronautics Act, a Class 2 instructor rating failure, as being appropriate in this circumstance.

As either of these failures alone shows just cause for a suspension of the applicant's Class 2 instructor rating, I conclude a failure to have taken place and the assessment to be upheld.

September 6, 2005

Hebb C. Russell
Member
Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada