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CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:28 pm
by Cub flyer
I get requests to fly with pilots as a CFI when they buy an old airplane.
They come to me saying they need a CFI “sign off” or “checkout" to satisfy their insurance.

Does anyone know what this sign off is? Todays dumb liability I have to look over my shoulder at everything. I can certainly give dual instruction in an airplane and write in remarks what we did but there is no real official language for checkout passed or "I determine pilot is proficient to operate XXXX small airplane". I’m talking about LSA, J-3, Stearman, Stinson, Cessna 182 etc.

In the FAA eyes the pilot could simply climb in and go with a tailwheel or high performance signoff. This is an insurance thing.

If they said you need 5 hours dual with 20 takeoffs and landings we can do it. Of course that can backfire too if the pilot needs more than the required amount.

If I put in the persons logbooks something like “Taylorcraft familiarization" and a description of what we did, is that enough or at the end of say 2-4 flights do I need to put in language that says “checkout complete” If I include that wording does it then get me on the hook if there is an accident and I have a CFI liability policy? Without that wording will it count for insurance?

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:12 am
by drseti
If the insurance company specifies a certain number of hours of transition training, I merely log that number of hours of dual as "X hours of dual flight instruction in accordance with paragraph Y of insurance policy Z" (or similar language). If they don't specify hours or content, I just perform and log a standard flight review in that aircraft, and cite the flight review FAR in the signoff once the usual flight review standards are satisfied.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:10 pm
by foresterpoole
I'll chime in on this one since I just had to get the insurance "sign-off" for a rental Piper Arrow. In my case the insurance company wanted 10 hours logged with a minimum of 10 TO/LND's in the aircraft before they would insure me. This was a matter of flying with the CFI, logging the hours in my logbook and documenting it for the insurance if anything even happened, nothing more. In this case it also meant after 5 hours I got a complex endorsement, but that was a footnote since the insurance requirements were more stringent, requiring hours not proficiency. Most insurance I have come across operates under the same pretext: certain hours and TO/LND's, not a sign off per se...

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:28 pm
by drseti
A related issue is that lately many of my primary students have been buying their own LSAs to get their ratings in. I notice that the Open Pilot clause on their insurance policies is more restrictive than what I see for even high performance and complex certified aircraft! For those, there's usually coverage for any flight instructor to act as PIC while training the owner.

For LSAs, the insurance industry seems to want CFIs to have a certain number of hours of PIC time in the exact same make and model before giving instruction. This is hard to achieve, since there are about 180 different SLSA airplane models, and countless different types of E-AB LSA, some with only a handful of specimens in the US.

Fortunately, no student's insurer has yet required me to get dual and a CFI signoff (which would be impossible in some cases - where am I going to find another CFI who has time in the exact make and model?) But I do have to borrow the student's aircraft, and take it out solo for 5 or 10 hours, before I can start instructing in it.

I've never had this issue with certified aircraft, so it's obvious the insurance industry either doesn't understand or doesn't like LSAs. I think the industry is trying to push instructors toward buying their own non-owner insurance policies, which would probably make it almost impossible for us to afford training folks in their own aircraft.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:26 pm
by Cub flyer
Just to be sure, Paul you complete a flight review with the new owner in the airplane or make model needed for insurance. This is logged and then if the new owner presents that to the insurance co they have been accepting it?

There is no statement of “Joe Pilot has been found to be proficient in a Skycatcher” Or “Joe Pilot has completed a Sport Cruiser checkout this date”

I have no problem with giving a flight review or logging time and various maneuvers or TO/LDGS as insurance requires but similar statements to the ones above are what the new owners are looking for. It’s not a real thing for me to determine other than a tailwheel sign off or similar thing. Make and model is different.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:01 pm
by drseti
Cub flyer wrote:There is no statement of “Joe Pilot has been found to be proficient in a Skycatcher”


Well, there kind of is. I log "Joe Pilot has satisfsctorily completed a flight review in accordance with FAR 61.56 in a Cessna 162 on this date." That should satisfy the insurance company's requirements, as long as they don't specify a required number of hours. After all, if the pilot isn't found proficient, the flight review is not satisfactorily completed!

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:10 pm
by 3Dreaming
Cub flyer wrote:Just to be sure, Paul you complete a flight review with the new owner in the airplane or make model needed for insurance. This is logged and then if the new owner presents that to the insurance co they have been accepting it?

There is no statement of “Joe Pilot has been found to be proficient in a Skycatcher” Or “Joe Pilot has completed a Sport Cruiser checkout this date”

I have no problem with giving a flight review or logging time and various maneuvers or TO/LDGS as insurance requires but similar statements to the ones above are what the new owners are looking for. It’s not a real thing for me to determine other than a tailwheel sign off or similar thing. Make and model is different.


Generally the policy spells out what is required, and once those requirements are met you are good to go. I have never heard of anyone having to present anything back to the insurance company after the fact. I would suggest that you ask to see the insurance policy to see exactly what the insurance company wants. Also take a look to make sure you meet the requirements of the policy to provide the instruction. Here is an excerpt from a policy for a Taylorcraft.

(1) Each pilot shown above who has logged less than 15 (fifteen) flying hours in conventional gear
aircraft must have satisfactorily completed a checkout of at least five (5) hours duration from a Certified
Flight Instructor (CFI) in this make and model aircraft within one year immediately preceding acting
as pilot in command of the aircraft;

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:01 pm
by bryancobb
drseti wrote:...the insurance industry seems to want CFIs to have a certain number of hours of PIC time in the exact same make and model before giving instruction. This is hard to achieve, since there are about 180 different SLSA airplane models, and countless different types of E-AB LSA, some with only a handful of specimens in the US...


I'm sure you are familiar with the FAR's requirement that you have 5 hours of PIC in any aircraft model you wish to teach in. If a student comes to you in their XYz-Super, wanting flight instruction, they must be ready to loan their plane to you for 5 hours ( they can come along and let you fly ) unless you have already flown that make and model for a few hours.

No insurance would pay a claim if you don't meet that requirement because you are breaking the law.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:20 pm
by drseti
bryancobb wrote:I'm sure you are familiar with the FAR's requirement that you have 5 hours of PIC in any aircraft model you wish to teach in.


That FAR only applies to multi-engine aircraft, Bryan.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:33 pm
by drseti
drseti wrote:That FAR only applies to multi-engine aircraft, Bryan.


Actually, I gave an incomplete answer. That requirement also applies to helicopters and powered lift. The reference is 61.195 (f):


(f)Training received in a multiengine airplane, a helicopter, or a powered-lift. A flight instructor may not give training required for the issuance of a certificate or rating in a multiengine airplane, a helicopter, or a powered-lift unless that flight instructor has at least 5 flight hours of pilot-in-command time in the specific make and model of multiengine airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift, as appropriate.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:34 am
by bryancobb
I stand corrected.

I remembered having to familiarize another Brantly owner's CFI in my Brantly for five hours before he could teach that guy to fly his.
Somewhere in the past, I must have convinced myself it applied to all aircraft. I thought I remembered a question on the 2007 CFI-S written but I guess not.

Thanks for the correction.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:48 am
by Sling 2 Pilot
As Doc stated...

“For LSAs, the insurance industry seems to want CFIs to have a certain number of hours of PIC time in the exact same make and model before giving instruction. This is hard to achieve, since there are about 180 different SLSA airplane models, and countless different types of E-AB LSA, some with only a handful of specimens in the US.”

I’m going through this now. My BFR is due in April and the insurance company wanted the above requirement met. I gave them a quick call and was told the fix was easy. They sent a form for my CFII to complete, to add him to my policy, With no premium increase.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:02 am
by 3Dreaming
bryancobb wrote:I stand corrected.

I remembered having to familiarize another Brantly owner's CFI in my Brantly for five hours before he could teach that guy to fly his.
Somewhere in the past, I must have convinced myself it applied to all aircraft. I thought I remembered a question on the 2007 CFI-S written but I guess not.

Thanks for the correction.


I don't have an old set of regulations handy, but I was thinking that early on that there was a requirement for sport CFI's to have a certain amount of time in a particular make and model before doing instruction. I think that requirement went away in 2010.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:05 am
by drseti
3Dreaming wrote:I don't have an old set of regulations handy, but I was thinking that early on that there was a requirement for sport CFI's to have a certain amount of time in a particular make and model before doing instruction. I think that requirement went away in 2010.


You're kind of right, Tom. Except it wasn't based on make and model. At first, all LSAs were divided into sets, and you had to have time in the appropriate one. Sets did indeed go away in the 2010 FAR revisions.

Re: CFI checkout, is it a real thing?

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:12 am
by 3Dreaming
drseti wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:I don't have an old set of regulations handy, but I was thinking that early on that there was a requirement for sport CFI's to have a certain amount of time in a particular make and model before doing instruction. I think that requirement went away in 2010.


You're kind of right, Tom. Except it wasn't based on make and model. At first, all LSAs were divided into sets, and you had to have time in the appropriate one. Sets did indeed go away in the 2010 FAR revisions.


I just looked it up in a 2007 FAR/AIM, and it does say 5 hours Make and Model within the same set before providing instruction.