Aviation Solutions of Guelph, Ontario, received what it describes as the first and only approval from Transport Canada to offer the Flight Instructor Refresher Course completely online. The Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC) is a method by which flight instructors can renew their ratings — an ongoing requirement.
Aviation Solutions explains, that over the 69-year history of FIRCs in Canada, the program has traditionally involved a three- to five-day, in-person conference. In 2013, Aviation Solutions developed what it describes as the first and only version of the program combining one day of online self-study with a two-day in-person conference.
In order to respond to restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Aviation Solutions is now providing the conference portion of the program completely online. “This was not as simple as setting up a laptop with webcam and broadcasting a course,” said Michael Schuster, chief instructor and owner, Aviation Solutions. “The entire program was subject to our thorough risk assessment process and a validation by Transport Canada.”
Schuster continues to explain the Aviation Solutions team, in order to bring the FIRC program fully online, had to work through its presentations, activities, learning objectives and evaluation criteria to re-validate the effectiveness of the program and make modifications where necessary. “At the end of day, every client needs to display adequate knowledge, skills, and aptitudes to effectively exercise the privileges of their instructor rating,” said Schuster, noting the course can replace the need to undertake a renewal flight test.
Aviation Solutions is also offering a tuition deferral program to help flight instructors who have suffered from operational shutdowns since mid-March. “We will be offering deferred tuition fees until the Fall to those flight instructors experiencing financial hardship,” said Schuster. “This is a way for instructors to renew their qualifications now, maintain or gain employment for the summer season, and pay their tuition fee in the fall – interest free. It’s our small way of helping where we can.”