Using Flight Director

Airmann

Well-Known Member
I would like to hear the opinion of the CFII's about the use of the Flight Director only and not the auto pilot for students that are working on their instrument rating? I am half way through my course, our planes all have the G 1000 with FD. I have found using the FD only to be great for muscle memory and for all instument flying including all approaches. I now use it about 90% of the time. What about its use during the check ride? Since starting its use, my instrument flying has progressed quite well. I am able to keep the needles centered and right on glide slope.
 

Ajax

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I'm interested in some of the thoughts too. I don't teach in anything with an FD, however I do teach in a G1000. I would imagine that I would probably treat it similar to the MFD and loaded approaches. You need to be able to use it, but at the same time you should do just as well with it off than as you do with it on. Again, I don't teach with a FD so it's easy for me to formulate an opinion without any experience in the subject, but I would limit its use.
 

Airmann

Well-Known Member
If you can't fly without it, you will be very disappointed when you fail your checkride.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777 using Tapatalk 2
The fact is that the DPE that is affiliated with the school encourages its use, is perfectlyl OK to use during the checkride. He indicated that if used correctly it is as valuable as any other item of the G 1000 over say the round dials.I relate it to learing to ride a bike and using training wheels. You gain muscle memory by using the training wheels over and over, learning and knowing how to balance on and then turn on a bike without falling down. The use over and over of the FD has given me muscle memory that has now taught me how to use small corrections, how and what they feel like and at the right time, so, now I do not over correct. For me it has been an invaluable training tool. As I and I am sure you would use the HSI if flying with the G 1000, the FD is another useful tool for pilots that is not in most GA older planes with round dials. I would need to learn to fly if the HSI failed as I would if the FD failed, both without failing the check ride.
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
I really cannot imagine encouraging the use of an FD or an autopilot during primary instrument training. Learn to hand fly consistently and comfortably without a computer thinking for you...or just throw in the towel. If you're going to use an FD you might as well just have a CFII sit there and tell you what to do throughout the whole flight.

Now then, long after one has become very proficient in hand flying I dont think training would be complete until the use of both an FD and AP is covered, if the airplane were so equipped, but really I think they should be viewed as an add-on luxury that can reduce your workload in normal flight, but you should be ready to comfortably fly the whole check ride without either.

But I'm not a CFII, so what do I know.
 

Screaming_Emu

Great and Unmatched Wisdom
If it is installed, it should be taught. But only briefly and after the student has a solid understanding of the basics.

You should absolutely teach all of the tools available. But you're also preparing them to fly instruments in aircraft without glass cockpits and flight directors. Don't allow them to use it as a crutch.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I would like to hear the opinion of the CFII's about the use of the Flight Director only and not the auto pilot for students that are working on their instrument rating? I am half way through my course, our planes all have the G 1000 with FD. I have found using the FD only to be great for muscle memory and for all instument flying including all approaches. I now use it about 90% of the time. What about its use during the check ride? Since starting its use, my instrument flying has progressed quite well. I am able to keep the needles centered and right on glide slope.
It's a mistake.

IMHO using a G1000 for primary training is a set-up for career disaster. The days of going from EFIS Cessnas to EFIS regional jets has largely come to a close and the training for your first employment opportunity is most likely going to involve a round-dial instrument configuration.

Don't be "that" guy who can't fly basic attitude instruments.
 

Ajax

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It's a mistake.

IMHO using a G1000 for primary training is a set-up for career disaster. The days of going from EFIS Cessnas to EFIS regional jets has largely come to a close and the training for your first employment opportunity is most likely going to involve a round-dial instrument configuration.

Don't be "that" guy who can't fly basic attitude instruments.
But airlines LOOOOVE GLASS TIME!:smoke:
 

Autothrust Blue

"I’d make a suggestion but you won’t listen”
I'm interested in some of the thoughts too. I don't teach in anything with an FD, however I do teach in a G1000. I would imagine that I would probably treat it similar to the MFD and loaded approaches. You need to be able to use it, but at the same time you should do just as well with it off than as you do with it on. Again, I don't teach with a FD so it's easy for me to formulate an opinion without any experience in the subject, but I would limit its use.
I don't teach period, but I think that learning to fly instruments in EFIS with an advanced autoflight system sort of shorts the student. I transitioned to glass AFTER I got my instrument rating and it was cake; going back the other way is not always so favorable.

It's a mistake.

IMHO using a G1000 for primary training is a set-up for career disaster. The days of going from EFIS Cessnas to EFIS regional jets has largely come to a close and the training for your first employment opportunity is most likely going to involve a round-dial instrument configuration.

Don't be "that" guy who can't fly basic attitude instruments.
This. Hugely. Don't be learning to fly a six pack during initial simulator, you have too much to do at that point.

Even in glass, basic attitude instrument flying WITHOUT a flight director is still a basic and fundamental skill, and the scan you develop raw data is essential for instrument interpretation and cross-check and "ruling out the offending instrument," which is something that Air France can tell you all about.

I like the G1000 because you can do some REALLY precise attitude instrument flying with it, but teaching someone to fly on instruments with ANY autoflight director system is teaching them to mash the buttons and follow the magenta, not to aviate.
The fact is that the DPE that is affiliated with the school encourages its use, is perfectlyl OK to use during the checkride. He indicated that if used correctly it is as valuable as any other item of the G 1000 over say the round dials.I relate it to learing to ride a bike and using training wheels. You gain muscle memory by using the training wheels over and over, learning and knowing how to balance on and then turn on a bike without falling down. The use over and over of the FD has given me muscle memory that has now taught me how to use small corrections, how and what they feel like and at the right time, so, now I do not over correct. For me it has been an invaluable training tool. As I and I am sure you would use the HSI if flying with the G 1000, the FD is another useful tool for pilots that is not in most GA older planes with round dials. I would need to learn to fly if the HSI failed as I would if the FD failed, both without failing the check ride.
...right.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
But airlines LOOOOVE GLASS TIME!:smoke:
Parking RJ's, turning the lights out at CMR and the new experience rules, if someone expects to go from a G-1000 Cessna to a regional airliner, I've got some beachfront property I'd like to sell them in Tucson! :)

If a student is that hard up for EFIS, go out and rent one to tool around in for a few hours.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when a EFIS-trained instrument pilot starts flight training at a freight company flying a Navajo.

Edit:

I think the reason some flight schools (and affiliated DPE's) are cognizant of the fact that they have to pay the leases on those aircraft. They probably loaded up on those aircraft when there was a realistic expectation of going "checkride to regional", which doesn't exist now. But the lease agreements must be fulfilled. They have an economic necessity to train you in those aircraft for their bottom line, and if the student has his ass handed to him down the road, well, too bad so sad.
 

Pilot5510

Well-Known Member
As others have said, I think it is a necessity to be able to hand fly using the basic attitude instrument flying skills. I also think the FD gets over looked sometimes as well. My feeling is most students associate the FD with the autopilot and therefore fly very rarely by just the FD as a reference. If a student gets into an airplane with a FD for a check ride and wasn't able to properly use it to his advantage, the check ride wont go so well.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
I really cannot imagine encouraging the use of an FD or an autopilot during primary instrument training.
Absolutely should flip on the autopilot when briefing an approach / setting up GPS / etc, if so equipped.

If the aircraft has an FD, an Examiner is probably going to expect you to have the flight loaded into it (not that you are going to fly much of it on a checkride).
 

Airmann

Well-Known Member
Absolutely should flip on the autopilot when briefing an approach / setting up GPS / etc, if so equipped.

If the aircraft has an FD, an Examiner is probably going to expect you to have the flight loaded into it (not that you are going to fly much of it on a checkride).
Gentleman, I am not sure where anyone got the idea that this student was looking to go from the instrument rating to a regional airline? For myself, I obtained my Private 9 months ago, learning in an old Cessna with round dials. I am now working on instrument at a new school that has four single engine 2012 C 172 S all with G 1000. The PTS indicates if it is in the plane it must be used and you must know how to use it. So telling my instructor that I refuse to learn on this new equipment is not prudent. I am finding from most of the responding JC'rs, as with most current student here, they have not tried using a FD in instrument flight, do not know how to properly use it. If you were to give it a try and learn how to use it, my guess is most would really like it. It is a great tool to have. As I said in previous email, it teaches muscle memory so that when it is off, you really know how to hand fly it much better and have a great feel as to the small corrections.
 

BajtheJino

I'm looking at you.
As I said in previous email, it teaches muscle memory so that when it is off, you really know how to hand fly it much better and have a great feel as to the small corrections.
Completely false.
You turn a FD off on a career airline guy and watch things go from great to disaster in about 5 seconds (not always sure but more likely than not). FD does not teach muscle memory. FD when used, is 99% of the time paired with a AP. The other time it is used is when hand flying to 400 ft and then engaging the AP. Every plane I've flown in the last 5 years has had a FD and believe it or not they don't always work correctly. Like anything in aviation you have to double check that junk or your "muscle memory" will fly you right in to the ground. Like most automation these days pilots are becoming less aviator and more monitor. FD ends up being a crutch. During initial training you should turn it off and learn to fly. If you're over correcting then there's a problem that needs to be addressed, not disregarded by turning on a FD that makes all the decisions for you.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
Gentleman, I am not sure where anyone got the idea that this student was looking to go from the instrument rating to a regional airline? For myself, I obtained my Private 9 months ago, learning in an old Cessna with round dials. I am now working on instrument at a new school that has four single engine 2012 C 172 S all with G 1000. The PTS indicates if it is in the plane it must be used and you must know how to use it. So telling my instructor that I refuse to learn on this new equipment is not prudent. I am finding from most of the responding JC'rs, as with most current student here, they have not tried using a FD in instrument flight, do not know how to properly use it. If you were to give it a try and learn how to use it, my guess is most would really like it. It is a great tool to have. As I said in previous email, it teaches muscle memory so that when it is off, you really know how to hand fly it much better and have a great feel as to the small corrections.
I assure you that most of us that fly professionally have used a flight director and autopilot. I don't think there's an RJ out there without one. Some navajo's at my freight company had an autopilot with flight director that could be slaved to the 430W. But the next day you might be lucky to have an HSI.
We're suggesting that the student ditch the FD. It's stupidly easy to use and if required for instrument flight, then you should not be flying instruments.
Thanks to dealing with Asians recently I do know that there are DE's out there that should lose that ability based on the com-multi pilots that come from them. So just because some DE will let everyone crutch on the FD and AP all flight doesn't mean this guy is going to be capable of instrument flight regardless of holding the certificate.
The way the checkride should go, is FD on, AP on. DE - "oh cool you know how to use those." - breaker pulled.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
So telling my instructor that I refuse to learn on this new equipment is not prudent. I am finding from most of the responding JC'rs, as with most current student here, they have not tried using a FD in instrument flight, do not know how to properly use it. If you were to give it a try and learn how to use it, my guess is most would really like it.
Pretty sure everyone that is saying don't use the FD & AP has tons of experience using them. Hell, I did my instrument checkride in a G1000 (after doing all of my instrument training in an Arrow with steam gauges). I'll be the first to hit easy button when I'm actually going somewhere, but for proficiency and checkrides - better to pretend it isn't there :)
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
I can't imagine learning, and I would absolutely never teach primary IFR training with an FD. Heck, I firmly believe in doing it in a round dial airplane. As others have said, if you can't fly IFR without an FD, you should be only flying VFR.

There is some fantastic advice in this thread from many who are SUBSTANTIALLY more experienced and further ahead in our careers than the OP is, so if he chooses to ignore the information given here, that's his loss.
 
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