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Design for Preparatory Ground Instruction

Preparatory Ground Instruction (PGI) is one-on-one instruction that occurs usually just prior to departure on a training flight where the student is learning a new exercise.

PGI serves the purpose of getting the student ready to fly the new exercise, so its primary focus is on “how” the exercise will be done. 

Normally, then, the PGI  onveys to the student a sequence of actions related to the exercise and these actions are normally listed on the white board.  As the Flight Instructor works down the list, the student is typically informed of what to expect and what to look for during the action sequence—this is the primary function of PGI.

Around the “how” component, the Instructor includes any background information that me be required to perform the exercise, and perhaps most important, factors related to safety in the performance of the exercise.

Here is the organizational template used in PGI:

  1. Definition

  2. Aim

  3. Motivation

  4. Background Knowledge

  5. How

  6. Safety

  7. Questions



The definition simply defines the exercise that is to be flown.  It is normally a technically definition and it should be derived form the Flight Training Manual.

The definition should be extracted from the student where possible as this will set the stage for an interactive presentation (maximizing student involvement), and this will allow the Flight Instructor to assess the student’s level of preparedness (threshold knowedge test).

It is good practice to summarize the definition (in short hand) on the white board.


The aim statement should set the targets for the exercise.

It should be short, to the point, and student focused (“Today you will learn . . .”)

A good source to obtain the aim of an exercise is the applicable flight test guide, which sets out the aim of each exercise as it applies in a flight test environment.  This also set the stage for standards by which successful performance of the exercise will be measured.



The motivation portion tells a student why it is important to learn today’s exercise, and why it is worth the $200 cost of its training. 

This section should also motivate the Flight Instructor—a means of providing a reminder.

This is a good place to relay stories or experience.


Background Knowledge

The background knowledge section provides a space in the presentation where knowledge that is instrumental to performing an exercise (the “how” section) can be placed. 

For basic stalls, for example, you may want to review the sequential symptoms of the stall and how these come about. For forced approaches, you might want to review causes; for precautionary landings or diversions, you might want to review conditions that would warrant their execution.


The how section is normally an “action sequence” section of the presentation and is the primary focus.

Where applicable, the how section should begin with student reference to the Pilot Operating Handbook (which should be pre-assigned).

This part may include sub-sequences (stall variations) or separate sequences (forced landing based engine failure versus engine fire).

Importantly, this section should focus on pilot actions and actions in the cockpit—“flying” the exercise.


Safety relates to safety in performing or practicing the exercise. 

The student should be informed of the risks associated with the exercise, how to monitor them, and the actions to be taken in the event risk increases to an unacceptable level.


After the student has been asked is there are questions, the student should then be asked questions to confirm readiness to perform the exercise.


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