Organizing the Training

Organizing the way you conduct your multi-engine instruction will help your students to master the required knowledge and skill more efficiently. Think of the training as having four parts:

  • Ground Instruction
  • Basic Operations
  • One Engine Inoperative Manoeuvres
  • Abnormal or Emergency Situations

Ground Instruction 

Ground school is not a regulatory requirement in training for the multi-engine class rating, but it is a good idea.  Whether you offer ground school to a group of students or on an individual basis, there are many points that must be covered before attempting in-flight instruction for specific exercises.  The place to look for these points is under the "Essential Background Knowledge" listed for each exercise.  Possible topics include aeroplane systems, theory of flight as it relates to multi-engine aircraft, aeroplane performance, weight and balance, and human factors.

The ground instruction could be organized in one long session, but it is better to present the material in several shorter units.  This will allow the student to study and absorb new material at home and let you use review of previous work to improve retention.

Whether you choose to include a formal ground school component or not, you must ensure that all the points listed as "Essential Background Knowledge" are covered before related in-flight instruction is attempted.  To do otherwise takes more time, reduces student achievement, and increases frustration for both you and your student.

You should also spend time with the student sitting in the aeroplane on the ground locating controls and practising checks and cockpit procedures.  Finally, consider assessing knowledge by requiring the student to pass a written examination before going flying.

Basic Operations 

Aside from having two engines, there are a number of other differences between this aeroplane and any that the student has flown in the past.  The multi-engine aeroplane probably features systems unfamiliar to the student, systems such as retractable landing gear, constant speed propellers, and hydraulic systems.  Loading variations are probably greater than the student has experienced before.  Attitude references will be different.  All of this will take a bit of getting used to.

Spend the first flight or two giving your student the chance to operate this aeroplane with all systems functioning normally.  Once reasonable proficiency is obtained, gradually introduce abnormal or emergency situations.  Even if the student masters normal operations quite early, make sure that at least some parts of all future trips involve normal handling. It is easy to fall into the trap of concentrating only on the abnormal or emergency situations.

One Engine Inoperative Procedures 

When should you introduce the first engine failure?  Apart from a demonstration for familiarization purposes, you should be satisfied that the student can control the aeroplane in normal situations first but not leave it so late that training is rushed or needlessly extended.  Usually, this means the second or third flight is the place to introduce the first engine failure.

The student will progress more quickly if you review and practise procedures on the ground or on a flight training device before simulating them in the air.

The introduction of engine failures should move from simple to complex.  The first engine failure should be introduced in cruise flight.  Once the more basic engine failure is mastered, proceed to engine failures in turns, in overshoots, and then to circuits and landings with one engine inoperative.

Abnormal and Emergency Situations 

Training in abnormal and emergency situations should not be left to the end.  Rather, introduce simple situations early, perhaps starting with abnormalities or emergencies commonly found in single-engine operations.  As skill and confidence builds, introduce more complex situations.  Be sure to review before each flight the abnormal or emergency situations to be covered.  This will help learning progress more quickly.

Planning the Flight Lessons 

Maximize the effective use of a suitable flight training device or full-flight simulator to enhance the learning process.  The device will allow one to realize the consequences of major pilot errors and the importance of following a prescribed procedure without creating a safety risk.

When you are planning a flight lesson, consider the lesson in the context of the lesson before and the lesson that will follow.  Review some of the material from the previous lesson and build on that material. Include an introduction to exercises that will be presented in the next flight lesson.  After the initial lesson, each trip should include some abnormal or emergency situations.

Once you have decided what will be covered in each flight lesson, identify those topics that will require ground instruction.  Preparation for each flight lesson should include assignments related to weight and balance calculations, use of performance charts, or study of other parts of the Pilot's Operating Handbook.  Assign advance study for your student if reference material is available.  Consider assigning reading or other work to be done following each flight.

Careful planning of training will allow your student to become a proficient multi-engine pilot in a relatively short time.  You will be able to take satisfaction in knowing that you have provided high quality instruction in a most professional manner.