RAAP 01 Type Training

Friday 15 September, 2017

Recreational Aviation Advisory Publication (RAAP) – 1-2016

Version 1, June 2016

Download the PDF Here

A Must Read

All responsibility for ensuring safe operation of an aircraft sits squarely on the shoulders of the pilot in command. By creating a conversation about aircraft types and transitioning to a new aircraft type, RAAus is raising awareness of the potential difficulties facing pilots when flying an unfamiliar aircraft for the first time.

RAAus data indicates lack of familiarity with an aircraft is a causal factor in a significant proportion of crashes and near misses. Insurance and liability issues potentially exist should pilots operate an aircraft with which they are unfamiliar without undertaking appropriate transition training.

Pilots should make use of all available resources to ensure they are well prepared before flying an unfamiliar aircraft as pilot in command. Recommended actions include:

  • Read and understand the Pilots Operating Handbook for the aircraft;
  • Seek advice and assistance from experienced instructors or other pilots experienced with the type;
  • Ensure you understand how the aircraft differs from aircraft you have flown before;
  • Ensure you know how to use all the knobs, buttons, levers, dials, etc. before take off;
  • If necessary, have someone experienced with the type fly with you before you fly the aircraft as PIC.


Members train for a RAAus Pilot Certificate for the specific aircraft group trained on, i.e. three axis, weight shift or powered parachute. Along with gaining this Certificate, the pilot must also undertake training to gain the appropriate aircraft design endorsement, or operational endorsement.

Examples of aircraft design endorsements include retractable undercarriage, waterborne float or hull or in flight adjustable propeller, and an example of operational endorsements would include passenger or cross country endorsements.

Once all this is achieved, the pilot is legally entitled to operate any RAAus registered aircraft in that Group, to the MTOW of the aircraft and with the appropriate endorsements to operate the aircraft design features or operational requirements.

Type Training was introduced in Operations Manual Issue 7 in response to analysis of aircraft accidents which revealed a high number of accidents relating to fuel mismanagement such as exhaustion, or starvation due to incorrect use of fuel shut off valves and loss of control accidents during landing or take-off (R-LOC). Assessment of these accidents revealed the pilot did not have sufficient time on or may not have been completely familiar with the aircraft type. Pilots may have initially trained on one type at a school and then privately purchased a different type, operating away from the oversight of a CFI, at a private airfield or strip. R-LOC accidents occur due to a wide variety of factors, from unfamiliarity with the aircraft type, overall low hours and lack of recency and currency, particularly in relation to slow speed flight.  

Other examples include aircraft with unusual design elements not covered by RAAus endorsement requirements, such as the dive brakes which are fitted to motor gliders. “These types of aircraft were not being operated as required by the manufacturer in the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), resulting in aircraft mishandling.

Type Training was intended to correct this issue by requiring pilots to gain training with an Instructors prior to operating the aircraft alone. While a laudable objective, Type Training really didn’t address the root cause. Further analysis revealed this to be pilots being taught to specific aircraft type and location at their home airfield, rather than learning to fly any aircraft at any location, and referencing the aircraft POH for relevant operational information.


Pilots should consider a wide variety of factors when flying a new aircraft type. These may be as diverse as ensuring familiarity with aircraft fitted with ‘glass cockpit’ instrumentation rather than ‘steam gauges’, a clear understanding of the fuel or trim system, or understanding the different performance possible from different wing types and constructions.

As an example, familiarity with one style of instrumentation will lead to confusion when operating different instruments, when adjusting subscale changes for barometric pressure, or operating different radios with the dual monitoring capabilities, setting codes in transponders or programming flight paths in GPS. Even the use of different hands for throttle and control inputs can result in control issues if not clearly considered.

Flights should initially be conducted at a safe altitude to determine the aircraft stall and slow speed flight characteristics, familiarisation with appropriate speeds such as stall speed in the landing configuration, best climb and glide speeds, and control responsiveness at various speeds.

The pilot can then conduct circuit training in good calm conditions to fully familiarise themselves with all aspects of operations in the new type, before extending the flight operations to include more challenging conditions and flight regimes such as crosswinds and short field operations.

Finally, if the pilot consults the POH and discusses the aircraft type proposed to be flown, they may decide an Instructor is not required. Through discussion with experienced pilots, and simply sitting in the cockpit of the new type familiarising themselves with the panel layout and prior to flight, the thoughtful pilot could familiarise themselves with potential differences.

First of Type

If a Pilot Certificate holder intends to fly a new type of aircraft, and there is no-one in reasonable geographical proximity with experience on that aircraft type, the pilot

should take all reasonable steps to ensure they have recent experience on a similar performing aircraft, and utilising the aircraft design endorsements required for the flight. Use of an experienced Instructor or CFI as a safety pilot is also a recommendation.

The Instructor or CFI may initially elect to fly the aircraft solo in order to ensure they are competent on the type. Due to the wide range of experience it can be assumed an Instructor or CFI should hold sufficient recency and currency to ensure safe operations on a new type of aircraft.


The reassessment of Type Training has resulted in an organisational shift in focus. RAAus will concentrate on all aspects of ensuring the pilot is trained appropriately to fly any aircraft, along with making the pilot solely responsible for seeking additional training and assistance when converting to a new type.

A multi-faceted education campaign will be implemented, aimed at three levels. Firstly at CFIs and Instructors to ensure students are taught general aircraft handling techniques rather than specific aircraft type or aircraft characteristics.

Additionally, students and pilots will be educated to ensure adequate management of slow flight elements, particularly when landing and taking off.

Finally pilots will be educated to reference the aircraft Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) to ensure they adequately understand and manage flight in a new aircraft type.

None of the above is new, but focus on these key areas may have been potentially lost over recent years. An awareness campaign will assist to ensure pilots are fully aware of the potential problems possible when flying a new aircraft type.


To assist pilots to understand differences changing from one aircraft to another can include, the following definitions have been provided relevant to each aircraft Group.

In the case of Group A or B aeroplanes; aeroplanes of similar undercarriage configuration, design features, wing design and camber, fuel and electrical systems, ancillary controls such as flaps, trim, dive brakes, cowl flaps, differing avionics, cockpit ergonomics, critical operating speeds including flight envelope (e.g. high drag/low drag with consideration of inertia), stall speeds and normal/emergency handling characteristics as noted by the manufacturer or RAAus.

In the case of Group D aeroplanes; aeroplanes of a similar canopy type (box or elliptical) similar control type (foot or hand) and nose wheel type (steerable or fixed).

Aircraft characteristics

Three axis

  • Aircraft performance - Fast- 100 kt +, Medium – 60-100 kt, Slow- less than 60 kt
  • Avionics - Glass cockpit, traditional gauges, combination, GPS, radio and transponder
  • Wing configuration – high lift and high camber wings, high speed wings
  • Fuel system – taps, cross-feed, injection, pumping systems
  • Ancillary flight controls and lift devices - Flaps (electric or manual), dive brakes, trim (electric or manual), cowl flaps, carburettor heat, fixed slots and slats, vortex generators
  • Pre-flight considerations – aircraft construction – metal, composite, fabric, combination
  • Cockpit ergonomics – yoke, control stick, position of controls, seat access, door securing systems, canopy securing.

Weight Shift

  • Wing - Strut wing versus wire braced
  • Single surface or dual surface wing
  • Setup, inspection and flight behaviour differences
  • Bar pressure, roll rates and acceleration in normal and extended flight manoeuvres
  • Stall characteristics
  • Rigging, de-rigging and packing procedures.
  • Yaw stability and oscillation control differences
  • Trimming and reflex control systems.
  • Engine – two stroke or four stroke, torque and power management
  • Steering and braking system differences
  • Avionics - Instruments and systems


Powered Parachute (PPC)

  • Elliptical or Box wing differences including input responsiveness, glide performance and drag differences, landing and take-off distances
  • Wing setup, inspection and flight behaviour differences
  • Control input pressure, roll rates and acceleration in normal and extended flight manoeuvres
  • Emergency responses for line breaks
  • The effect of turbulence on differing wing types
  • Foot steering and hand throttle or hand steering and foot throttle
  • Steerable or fixed nose wheel
  • Parachute attachment points
  • Solo versus dual payload performance, rigging and setup
  • Wing layout and inflation differences

That's A WRAP!