When an owner buys a new pressurized, turbine, or high performance aircraft quite often they have questions. I will attempt to answer some of the common questions here. Hopefully this will be informative.
Question: My insurance company is asking that I complete an approved training course and that I have a given number of hours of instruction in the airplane. Can I complete all of this in the course of Watauga Flight Service Initial Training Course?
Answer: Yes the dual instruction requirement is normally met in the course of our initial training course. In some rare cases the insurance underwriter may require the school PLUS some additional dual instruction but normally they just want you to complete the school and have at least 10 hours of dual instruction flight time before flying the aircraft by yourself. This is one area where In-Aircraft training is more efficient and economical than simulator based training. With simulator based training you will have to complete the course then began flying your dual instruction time, whereas with In-Aircraft training you will be fulfilling both requirements at the same time.
Question: Is the lowest insurance quote the best one?
Answer: I think you already know the answer to this question, but I would like to add my thoughts here. The first thing to do is to ask questions. One question to ask is what are the specific training requirements? Will they require Simulator training and dual instruction. What are the dual instruction requirements? If I agree to attend annual recurrent training will I receive a reduced premium in the second year? It is important to note that if you must attend simulator based training and receive dual instruction then the training will be more expensive because you will need to pay for the simulator course and then pay additional fees for the instructor.
Question: How are emergencies procedures handled while training in the aircraft?
Answer: They will be handled much like you would handle a real emergency. First the simulated emergency is identified, and then the proper procedures are followed just as they would be in a real emergency (except shutting down the engine). The interesting thing about handling emergencies during In-Aircraft training is that you get a tactile feel of how the airplane handles during an engine failure. When training for pressurization issues your ears will feel exactly like they do when you have sudden pressurization. You will also see the performance of the aircraft when configured for emergencies such as an emergency descent. Since no simulator can reproduce every aircraft configuration, unlike the simulator you will be utilizing the same avionics, switch locations, and controls.
Question: Is there a chance that that the length of my training could be shortened?
Answer: Our syllabi is a somewhat of a contract between us and the insurance underwriters. We have told them that the items in our syllabi would be covered with our clients. As long as all items in the syllabus are covered and we have flown the required hours we can complete the training. This may require long days, but I am willing to put in the time to assist as necessary.
Question: Is there anything my insurance underwriter will need from you?
Answer: Some of the insurance underwriters approve us with a blanket type of approval which covers all pilots. Other underwriters approve our training programs, but will evaluate approvals for individuals based on their experience. What we will need is the name, telephone, and email for your insurance broker, so that we can assure that all approvals are in place, in addition to this we will email your completion certificate to your agent following the training. This saves our clients the time of scanning and sending a copy of the certificate, and ensures that your coverage is in full effect immediately following the training.
Question: Do you offer any training discounts?
Answer: While we feel that our training is fairly priced based on the quality of our training we do offer a few discounts to our customer. We offer a multi-pilot training discount. Normally the first pilot will be full price, and additional pilots will receive at 25% discount (If multiple pilots are paying separately we will divide the discount among the group). We also offer a local training discount. If you train at our location Elizabethton, TN (0A9) airport we offer a 10% training discount.
Question: What sets your training apart from other companies?
In addition to many years as a corporate pilot, I am also an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. The courses are taught so that an owner operator not only gets the experience needed to safely operate the aircrft, but the owner also gets the knowledge necessary to manage their aircraft in an efficient manner.
Question: What are the advantages to training in the aircraft versus the simulator?
Many of the simulator companies provide very good training. The difference between flying the “box” and flying your airplane is that there is no way a simulator can look like each and every aircraft. In this day and age when cockpits are being updated with G500, G600, and Aspen Avionics it is important the pilot know precisely how to operate the avionics which are specific to their aircraft.