RAAP 06 Conduct of Biennial Flight Reviews (BFR) by Instructors

Monday 29 April, 2019

RAAP – Conduct of Biennial Flight Reviews (BFR) by Instructors

Recreational Aviation Advisory Publication (RAAP) – 6

Version 1, August 2017

Click here to download PDF 


A Biennial Flight Review (BFR) or some form of periodic flight review is mandated for pilots by the aviation authorities of many countries. The reviews take different forms in different countries.

Aside from the regulatory requirements outlined in RAAus Operations Manual Section 2.07 paragraph 5, a regular flight review is also a practical way to assess changes competence, understanding of new regulations or procedures and forms an important part of safe ongoing flight.  

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

The RAAus Operations Manual Section 2.07 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


Conduct of a flight review and who is in command during the flight

A BFR can be completed by a Senior Instructor or Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) (known as the Examiner). As the Examiner, you will require the pilot to manoeuvre the aircraft in specific exercises or flight sequences. The Examiner is the Pilot in Command and the flight must be logged in the pilot’s logbook as dual time.

It is critical to nominate, prior to the flight taking place, who will be pilot in command should an emergency occur. While the Examiner may have greater experience overall, if the BFR is being conducted in the pilot’s aircraft, they may have greater familiarity with the aircraft systems and competence flying the aircraft. Regardless of the specific circumstances, as for any emergency, it is easier and simpler to manage if a plan has already been discussed and can then be implemented.

Pilots are encouraged to complete a BFR with a different Examiner to the CFI or Senior Instructor who completed their basic training or issued the Pilot Certificate. The opportunity to learn something new from another Instructor is invaluable.


Alternate means of compliance

Issue of an endorsement that requires flight assessment and conducted by an appropriately qualified Senior Instructor (SI) for an additional endorsement will be accepted as a substitute for a flight review (excludes Radio and Human Factors endorsements). Likewise, the issue of a CASA Licence or endorsement will also be accepted as sufficient to complete flight review requirements. This includes flights conducted in single engine aircraft up to a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 1500 kg under day Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

Pass or fail

Whilst an Examiner should advise pilots a BFR is not a test, as there is no pass or fail criteria, the Examiner may decline to endorse a pilot’s logbook and complete the BFR Reporting Form. This is acceptable on the basis that a flight review has not been completed to appropriate competencies or standards by the candidate.

Operations have interviewed Senior Instructors and CFIs after pilots have been involved in accidents and been informed the pilot had not met the requirements, or “come up to scratch” during the BFR process. Although the candidate was not to standard the Examiner still signed the pilot’s logbook as completing the BFR, but added a requirement for the pilot to return for additional training. Of course the pilot did not complete any further retraining before the accident.

Not signing off a BFR if the candidate is not to standard is a key responsibility for a SI or CFI and protects the pilot, the CFI, the school and RAAus. This decision by a SI or CFI will be fully supported by Operations provided sufficient evidence or information is provided on request. 


Discuss and outline the process first

It is strongly recommended to set out the objective of the BFR with the candidate by discussion, prior to beginning the review (which could be days or more before the proposed day of the flight). This can be done by discussing the pilot’s flights in the past and proposed flights in the future to ensure the review is relevant. Elements to be covered include both ground and flight segments of the review. These elements should be understood by the pilot and the Examiner prior to the commencement of the review. The pilot being reviewed should also highlight any specifics that they want to achieve from the BFR.

Each review should therefore be individually tailored to meet, at the reasonable discretion of the Examiner, the safe operating demands of the pilot. The primary objective of any review should be to assess the pilot’s competencies and ability to conduct safe flight operations. Rather than using standard guidelines or a list of manoeuvres the candidate should be encouraged to participate positively to ensure that they gain the maximum benefit from the review.


Minimum components of a BFR

It is recommended the BFR consist of 1 hour of ground review and minimum 1 hour in flight with a qualified RAAus Examiner. The old days of a lap around the paddock should remain in the past, as our aircraft become more sophisticated and our privileges increase.

The BFR should be tailored to the pilot’s previous and planned future flights, to ensure future flights will be conducted safely.

Recommended areas for review (usually linked with lack of currency or recent practice) include:

  • Aircraft – lack of knowledge of Pilots Operating Handbook
  • Attitude flying (Partially cover the panel to simulate limited panel).
  • 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
  • Crosswind take-off and landing
  • Engine failure after take-off (part of the pre-take-off safety brief – have a plan, fly the plan)
  • 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 attitude)
  • Weight and Balance


Considerations could include:


  • Pilot’s preparation for flight (e.g. Cross country flight plan)
  • Managing expectations – pilot and passenger
  • Medical considerations – use of IMSAFE
  • Personal minimums – discuss creation of minimum weather, visibility, maximum wind, personal standards for flight tolerances

Ground Review

  • Aircraft systems knowledge – POH, aircraft limitations
  • ASIC requirements (if appropriate)
  • Assessment of risk management and personal minimums
  • Cross country planning – the candidate should be requested to prepare across country flight plan and review the plan considering weather and NOTAMS on the day of the flight. Instructor recommendation: Request the candidate prepare a flight plan that can be used as part of the review and allows assessment of the pilot’s departure procedures then divert to training area for air work. Assess the use of electronic devices to assist navigation and determine the candidates understanding of requirements.
  • Operations at non-towered aerodromes - CTAF procedures and radio
  • ERSA – references and special considerations using a local example
  • Fuel management – as relevant to all flights
  • Interpreting weather forecasts
  • Pilots history and currency
  • Pre take-off safety brief
  • Review applicable regulations

Flight Review


  • Pre-flight Inspection
  • Current aircraft registration
  • Aircraft serviceability and cleanliness
  • Compliance to scheduled service, completion of SBs and ADs
  • Aircraft operating competency – management of the aircraft within minimum tolerances such as airspeed, height maintenance, heading maintenance, etc.


  • CTAF radio and procedures – recommended calls
  • In-flight decision-making
  • Situational awareness and lookout

Minimum requirements

  • Complete 3 landings –combining partial/full flap (if available) and clean, go-around
  • Stall entry and recovery
  • Practice forced landing
  • Satisfactorily demonstrated ability to conduct radio communication and circuit procedures
  • All requested elements should meet standard 2 competency as defined in the RAAus Syllabus of Flight training. 


  • In-flight observations
  • Plan for continuous practice - future proficiencies (Tail wheelor APA, creation of personal minimum expectations for flight tolerances)
  • Retraining plan (if required)
  • Future development of candidate
  • Ground review
  • Reflect the Redirect


This could be summarised as “The Attitude to Flying and Flying the Attitude”

It is recommended the Examiner make a record of what was completed. A sample record is provided below. You need to complete and submit the RAAus BFR Form and endorse the pilot’s log book.

The checklist below is provided as a quick reference to confirm all requirements have been met when conducting the BFR.

The checklist is provided on the CFI Portal in section 3. 




The following syllabi specify the MINIMUM standard of knowledge required. The competency codes outlined below specify the levels required for each individual item within a particular subject, as follows:

  • 5 requires further instruction specific to the lesson. The student did not reach the required standard to move onto the next lesson or requires further instruction of a specific activity within the lesson, or sections of the lesson could not be completed.
  • 4 outlines the need for further practice. The student demonstrated an understanding of the content of the lesson but has not met the requirements of competency code 3. The student will benefit from further practice gained during the normal progression through the syllabus. They can progress onto the next lesson, or may benefit from a refresh of multiple activities across multiple lessons.
  • 3 is the required competency for solo conduct of the intended operation. This code represents the competency of the member to perform the activity correctly without instructional assistance under carefully supervised conditions in a safe environment.
  • 2 is the competency required for the operation to be safely completed at a Pilot Certificate level. This represents the student’s ability to be able to competently and without instructional assistance, perform the activity correctly and adjust actions to cope with emergencies under uncontrolled environments.
  • 1 is the requirement for Instructors wishing to teach the endorsement. This standard represents the Instructor’s ability to competently perform the required activity with a high degree of accuracy and in a professional and competent manner in uncontrolled environments and adjust actions to cope with emergencies in a highly consistent manner, facilitating the instruction of the activity to a student.

These codes are the basis of assessing competency in the required fields of the syllabus. In order to establish consistency, accuracy must be witnessed by the instructor on greater than two occasions to ascertain proficiency in the required exercise. Attainment of these competency standards is required to be recorded in the student training records.