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Old 04-15-2020, 09:42 AM
Vac Vac is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Niceville, Florida
Posts: 521
Default Links to Corrected PDF Version:


We've been busy with the AOA project, and version 3.3 of the training resources is still current. Turns out when I published this, I used the wrong "save as" option when I converted it to pdf format, and the hyperlinks in the table of contents didn't work properly.

Here are two options for downloading a corrected pdf that has hyperlinks.

Via the resources tab at https://3c039af6-63d7-4703-82ff-4bf9...af70132c08.pdf

Via Google Drive:

I regret I didn't catch the problem with the hyperlinks sooner. Hopefully that hasn't caused too much consternation. As always, if any one has any difficultly downloading anything from either our website or Google Drive, drop me an email or PM.


Mike Vaccaro
RV-4 2112
Niceville, Florida
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Old 06-25-2020, 12:55 AM
FlyinTiger FlyinTiger is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gilbert, SC
Posts: 345
Exclamation Transitioning pilots and the planes

Thank you for these useful resources. The last couple of years has been fun transitioning a few pilots into their newly acquired flying RVs, and assisting one with Phase I.

The pilots I flew with chose not to travel to an established transition trainer mostly because they wanted to learn in an aircraft they recently purchased. One person was fresh from his private pilot check ride. Another a builder of an RV-10 who had no experience reading a manifold gauge or using a prop control, let alone taming a 260 hp six cylinder.

In general I get calls from pilots with less than 200 hrs, flight time with little tail wheel experience and usually no complex or technically advanced aircraft time.

We take in this transition training in small chunks. Sending this syllabus to them or even allowing them to see it would scare them. They can lose confidence quickly when presented with so much information.

I humbly recommend RV transition training instructors carefully consider the experience of the pilot they will be teaching. Presenting a simplified overview of the first two lessons in a chronological format, including the prebrief outline, seems to work well for most to get started. Send them the overview so they can follow along. Chair flying over the phone through the first lesson gets them started. Two full lessons a day is about the most the average student can handle. Pre-brief, fly, de-brief. Briefings take longer than the flying at first, but do become equal to or less than the time spent in the air after a few flights.

This is where many times we discover the checklist they’ve inherited from the previous owner is non-existent, unfamiliar, missing items or incorrect. This is unfortunate. Decide if fixing the checklist is a priority and how you will be compensated for your time should you choose to help drafting a new one.

Remember that taking on a transitioning student using his/her newly acquired RV will present a multitude of challenges but can produce the safest and most confident pilot in the end.

Next is the aircraft. No matter how carefully I’ve gone over the logs, weight and balance, panel review, required equipment lists and inspections, there are often surprises.

Transponder checks, pitot/static checks for IFR birds, condition inspections, oil changes, tire rotation, tail wheel and nose gear lube, ELT check and battery replacement requirements, etc all can be a surprise to an unprepared instructor. There are few things more frustrating than showing up and finding out the aircraft isn’t ready to fly.

Remember that many new transitioning pilots are first time aircraft owners, let alone first time RV owners. Aircraft maintenance needs to be discussed. Do they want to learn about maintaining their aircraft? Do I want to teach aircraft maintenance? Make sure to define owner authorized maintenance items in the FARs.

Introduce the new transitioning student to the local EAA chapter. Often times there are knowledgeable and willing people to help with maintenance and teach it “off the clock.”

Other good ground training topics:
Engine performance charts
Airspace and VFR sectionals (Flight Review topics)
Equipment overview and basic use (Autopilot, Nav, Glass, etc)
Similarities and big differences between an RV and what they flew last
Finger tip control pressures
Positive transfer of controls

Break up the ground briefings with shorter flights at the beginning. Instructors don’t hog the stick. Let the newbie fly as much as possible right off the bat.

Lots more to consider. Actual pay per hour of ground and flight instruction along with a ball park estimate should be discussed before flying.

After the transitioning RV pilot earns PIC privileges it might be useful to share a copy of the whole syllabus for future practice and proficiency. I find that Flight Reviews are an excellent time to encourage envelope expansion for an RV pilot that may want guidance in trying a spin or basic aerobatics for the first time.

Launching from SC45

Last edited by FlyinTiger : 10-16-2020 at 10:09 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 06-25-2020, 12:59 PM
Vac Vac is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Niceville, Florida
Posts: 521
Default Thank you

Hi Al!

Thanks much for taking the time to read the training materials and briefings and posting your thoughts and observations. Hopefully some of the resources can be beneficial to you in your work as a transition training instructor.

I'd very respectfully ask that we keep this thread dedicated to the task of providing the highest quality training resources to RV transition instructors and new members of our community at no cost. My work developing these resources is my way of paying back for a great flying career as well as inclusion in the VAF family, which is also the same reason I don't charge for my time as a CFI or flight advisor. Our angle of attack work is also conducted by a dedicated team of volunteers organized as a non-profit, open source effort to provide hardware, software and training resources designed to mitigate loss of control risk at very low or no cost as well. Our team volunteers their time and resources to the project. I fully realize that many folks make their living as an instructor, use instruction to supplement their income or offset financial risk, or provide services and products to the EAB community for profit, so there is obviously consideration that need be given to business arrangements; but I'd like to steer clear of that discussion in this thread, sir, if we may. Our mission is to get the information to the widest possible audience.

I'd also like to politely disagree that an inexperienced pilot would lose confidence (or be overwhelmed) simply by reading technical information. I specifically designed one of the appendixes as a "reader's digest" summary of RV handling characteristics for pilots new to type, and the Normal and Emergency procedures chapters are written in expanded checklist format specifically to help folks develop checklists or procedures for their particular aircraft. And, of course, some of the material is designed for instructors and dedicated to training program management. When I teach, I assign applicable portions of the text as a reading assignment for mission prep. The academic briefings are designed for instructors to introduce RV aero, handling, weight and balance and maintenance to transitioning pilots. Technique only, but I recall as a student that I always benefited from reading instructional material as well as the basic text. Lots of folks in our community have built their own airplane--that's an amazingly impressive thing to me, and demonstrates an incredible amount of discipline, skill and dedication to the craft. Undoubtably, many of these folks apply a similar mindset to training and honing their skills as aviators as well.

Of course, it's our job as instructors to help our fellow pilots. I've received great assistance from other folks in the VAF family developing these resources, and I welcome yours as well. If you would like to help edit or contribute; please feel free to do so. The links contain Word and PowerPoint versions of all of the briefings, texts, grade sheets, etc. that are designed for instructors or any interested RV'er to download and modify. If you have any trouble with the links, let me know and I'll email you a copy. Send me any edits or critique and I'll incorporate them in the next change!

Also, please feel to PM, email or give me a call any time to discuss training resources or any of our work.

We always welcome assistance and critique, so lease take this in the spirit in which it's intended. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to engage with you.

Very respectfully,

Mike Vaccaro
RV-4 2112
Niceville, Florida

Last edited by Vac : 06-30-2020 at 09:48 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 01-03-2022, 08:58 AM
Dandlac58's Avatar
Dandlac58 Dandlac58 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Sierra Vista
Posts: 89

Hi Mike,
The link to the transition training syllabus is no longer valid. Do you have a new link?

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Old 01-14-2022, 07:40 AM
Vac Vac is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Niceville, Florida
Posts: 521


Try this link on our website (

If it doesn't work, drop me an email at


Mike Vaccaro
RV-4 2112
Niceville, Florida
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