Biennial Flight Review

two men in plane

To maintain competency, skills and keep knowledge up-to-date, a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) is mandated for pilots by the aviation authorities of many countries. A regular flight review is also a practical way to assess changes in competence, ensure an updated understanding of changes to regulation or procedure and forms an important part of ongoing safe flight.

For holders of a Recreational Pilot Certificate as issued by Recreational Aviation Australia, the Biennial Flight Review is required of every active holder of a RAAus Pilot Certificate conducted, every 2 years.

The RAAus Operations Manual Section 2.07 paragraph specifies that the review must include:

  • A review of the current general operating and flight rules, and
  • A review of those manoeuvres and procedures that, at the discretion of the person giving the review, are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate.

BFRs – not a pass or fail exercise

Whilst Examiners cannot fail you as a BFR is not a test (there are no pass or fail criteria), the examiner providing the BFR may decline to endorse your logbook. This may be on the basis that a flight review is not completed until appropriate competencies (minimum standards) are met and demonstrated. 

Other accepted methods of meeting your RAAus BFR requirements
Alternatively, you could consider using the BFR due date as a prompt to add to your skills by training for a Formation, Tail Wheel, In-Flight Adjustable Propeller or other endorsements. Try flying different aircraft at different aerodromes, as we can all become complacent and fly in a “comfort zone”.

Issue of an endorsement which required a flight assessment (excluding Radio and Human Factors endorsements) conducted by an appropriately qualified RAAus Examiner will be accepted as a substitute for a flight review. This will change the date of your previous BFR which was based on the date you achieved your Pilot Certificate, so make sure you create a reminder or use your RAAus Member Portal to check this.

Likewise, if you have been issued a CASA Licence or endorsement requiring flight assessment this will also be accepted as sufficient to complete your RAAus BFR requirements. This relates to flights conducted in single engine aircraft up to a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 1500 kg under day Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

What you need to bring to your BFR

Pilots must bring their logbook and RAAus membership information, although it is possible for the CFI to confirm your membership and endorsement information along with your aircraft registration using a RAAus online CFI Portal.

If a navigation exercise is planned, you will need appropriate maps, ERSA and means of obtaining weather and NOTAMs. The CFI may be able to spend some time with you revising your understanding of Electronic Flight Bag information, GPS or tablets as these change regularly. 

Feedback from Examiners reveals common problem areas for review (usually linked with lack of currency or recent practice by the pilot) include:

  • Aircraft – lack of knowledge of Pilots Operating Handbook
  • Attitude flying (Partially cover the panel to simulate limited panel).
  • Over controlling the aircraft
  • Passenger briefing
  • Pre take-off safety brief – a “what if” plan
  • Weather forecast – obtaining and interpreting (valid for local and cross country flights)
  • Fuel management – use of a fuel log
  • Unusual circuits – low level or right hand circuit
  • Short field approach and landing – rarely practiced
  • CTAF procedures – circuit entry/departure, in circuit calls and SA
  • Identifying controlled airspace or frequency change boundaries
  • Crosswind take-off and landing
  • Engine failure after take-off (part of the pre take-off safety brief – have a plan, fly the plan) Common areas which require review
  • Engine failure in the circuit
  • Management of simulated emergencies – partial power loss, failure of a system such as flaps, trim or electrics, diagnosis or troubleshooting of issues, etc.
  • Go-arounds
  • Practice forced landing (away from the circuit)
  • Flight at slow speed
  • Precautionary Search and Landing
  • Understanding of pressure height and density altitude
  • Stalls – (typically only last practiced at the last BFR)
  • Turns – steep (flying by aftude)
  • Weight and Balance calculations
Further information can be obtained from Recreational Aviation Advisory Publication (RAAP5) here.