zdc wrote:The same information that is in the instructors' record is the same as what is in the students logbook.
Of course, I can't speak for other flight schools and other instructors, but it is my experience (and good professionalism) for instructor records to go far beyond the FAA minimum requirements. The Gleim and ASA pilot kits, for example (and probably the Sporty's and King ones as well) contain a training record in which the flight instructor can check off exactly which maneuvers were taught in each lesson, and enter the level of proficiency demonstrated by the student. Such a record will let a new instructor know exactly what the student has covered, in what aircraft, and to what skill level. Absent such a detailed record, a checkout to transition a student to a new instructor will need to be more thorough and detailed -- but with good documentation, the new instructor can reduce the scope of a checkout, saving the student time and cost. Thus, it is in the best interest of the student for the instructor to exceed FAA record-keeping requirements.
Back to the original question -- if a student has started in a PPL curriculum, and wants to transition to SP, I would need to know what kind of aircraft he or she trained in, because skills learned in one aircraft do not necessarily transfer directly to another one. LSAs are a different breed even from the ubiquitous Cessna 150 and 152, and meeting PTS performance levels on one does not necessarily mean the student will be able to meet them in the other.
Bottom line: of course the hours count, but that doesn't necessarily mean the skills are up to par. In the final analysis, any student needs as much training as it takes to meet PTS requirements. If the student can't satisfy the CFI's personal standards, it's unlikely that he or she will meet those of the DPE. Conversely, if the CFI is happy, the DPE will probably be as well.