Why is there 0.1 (or 0.2) of ground briefing?

You’ve been flying for awhile and know that prior to each flight, your instructor will spend around 20-60 minutes briefing you about the exercises that you’ll be practicing for the flight. But you’re thinking, “That’s when I didn’t know anything about those exercises”; now that you’re only practicing, you’re wondering why is he/she charging the 0.1 (0.2).

That’s the Preparatory Ground Instruction (PGI) that’s required to teach you “how to do an air exercise”. It generally covers how to enter, recognize, recovery, and safety considerations for the maneuver. There should be a minimal amount of theory. Occasional brief review sessions takes place after the initial PGI regarding the exercise to help maintain your proficiency.

There also needs to be a pre-flight briefing whether or not there are new exercises to be covered. It’s also a safety issue since there’s no confusion as to the general overview of the flight and sequence of events. It’s a one-to-one discussion prior to the flight so that the student understands what will take place. Some important aspects that it should include are:

  • What are we going to do?
  • How are we going to do it?
    • Where the exercises will be conducted
    • Sequences of exercises to be covered
    • Duration of flight, expected time up/time down
  • Safety considerations.
    • Meteorological and aerodrome conditions, NOTAM
    • Aircraft to be used, fuel/oil and other relevant information
    • Review of relevant airmanship and decision-making situations expected during the flight

It can be as short as simply: “For this flight, you’ll do the usual pre-flight inspection, start, taxi, run-up, and climb to 3000’ and bring us to the practice area. We’ll practice steep turns, slow flight, stalls, and forced approaches. It should take around 1.2 hours then we’ll come back. Check the weather and documents and let me know if it’s go or no-go. Questions, comments, concerns?”

That pre-flight briefing may only take 2-5 minutes. Maybe a bit longer if there are any discussions regarding and factors that could affect the flight. That’s where the 0.1 (or 0.2) ground brief comes from.

From a fairness perspective, if you require instruction from an instructor, you should be paying for that service. Instruction can be the literal sense of teaching you how to perform an exercise, but also includes the feedback and debriefing at the end of the flight. You may already know how to perform that exercise, but you’re flying with an instructor because you also want feedback and assessment of your performance. Some instructors would count the 0.1-0.5 of debriefing as ground briefing, some may not.

On the flip side, if you’ve been charged for 0.5 of ground briefing, but the instructor completely went on a tangent about their new puppy for 20 minutes, consider finding a new instructor. You shouldn’t be paying someone to tell you how their day was.

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