The Flight Test 4-Point Marking Scale
- The Flight Test 4-Point Marking Scale
Knowing how your pilot performance skills and knowledge will be evaluated by both examiners and Flight Instructors is a critical feature of your training. Be sure you know what is held in high regard, and what is—well, undesired (to use a polite word). The following is the 4-point evaluation scale used universally in Canada for pilot-performance grading—you want to be familiar with the general content of the scale so that you understand how your knowledge and skills will be evaluated during your flight test. It is used for flight test evaluation, and it is also used for pilot evaluation in air taxi, commuter, and airline evaluation.
As you will see, intrinsic to the marking scale are the concepts of minor errors, major errors, and critical errors, as well as the related concepts of minor deviations, major deviations, and critical deviations. Be sure you are equally familiar with these concepts.
As per ther requirements of the Flight Test Guides, a mark is awarded by an examiner or Flight Instructor that best describes the weakest element(s) applicable to the candidate’s performance of the particular test sequence/item demonstrated.
Here is the evaluation scale:
4 Above Standard
Performance is well executed considering existing conditions:
- Aircraft handling is smooth and positive with a high level of precision.
- Technical skills indicate a thorough knowledge of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics.
- Situational awareness is indicated by continuous anticipation and vigilance.
- Flight management skills are exemplary and threats are consistently anticipated, recognized and well managed.
- Safety margins are maintained through consistent and effective management of aircraft systems and mandated operational protocols.
Comments: note the reference to smoothness in control handling. This is the only place this reference appears, so remember to ensure that smoothness is always an feature of your handling. Especially avoid jerky inputs that beginning students typically us to correct altitude deviations—even if your altitude has strayed from the assigned target, work it back smoothly.
Performance is observed to include minor errors:
- Aircraft handling with appropriate control input includes minor deviations.
- Technical skills indicate an adequate knowledge of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics to successfully complete the task.
- Situational awareness is adequately maintained as candidate responds in a timely manner to cues and changes in the flight environment to maintain safety while achieving the aim of the sequence/item.
- Flight management skills are effective. Threats are anticipated and errors are recognized and recovered.
- Safety margins are maintained through effective use of aircraft systems and mandated operational protocols.
2 Basic Standard
Performance is observed to include major errors:
- Aircraft handling is performed with major deviations and/or an occasional lack of stability, over/under control or abrupt control input.
- Technical skills reveal deficiencies either in depth of knowledge or comprehension of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics that do not prevent the successful completion of the task.
- Situational awareness appears compromised as cues are missed or attended too late or the candidate takes more time than ideal to incorporate cues or changes into the operational plan.
- Flight management skills are not consistent. Instrument displays, aircraft warnings or automation serve to avert an undesired aircraft state by prompting or remedying threats and errors that are noticed late.
- Safety margins are not compromised, but poorly managed.
1 Below Standard
Performance is observed to include critical errors or the Aim of the test sequence/item is not achieved:
- Aircraft handling is performed with critical deviations and/or a lack of stability, rough use of controls or control of the aircraft is lost or in doubt.
- Technical skills reveal unacceptable levels of depth of knowledge or comprehension of procedures, aircraft systems, limitations and performance characteristics that prevent a successful completion of the task.
- Lapses in situational awareness occur due to a lack of appropriate scanning to maintain an accurate mental model of the situation or there is an inability to integrate the information available to develop and maintain an accurate mental model.
- Flight management skills are ineffective, indecisive or noncompliant with mandated published procedures and/or corrective countermeasures are not effective or applied.
- Safety margins are compromised or clearly reduced.