Managing your PTR Notes
There are two items that will be taken from your Instructor Rating experience, the first is your preparatory ground instruction manual, and the second is your aircraft. These are essentially the tools of your trade, and both will be examined at the time of your Flight Instructor Flight Test. The PGI notes will be scrutinized likely at the beginning of your meeting with the Transport Canada inspector, and of course the content of the PGIs, as selected for your flight test, will be presented to the inspector. The aircraft will be directly examined by the inspector, but they are designed to keep you organized in the air, as you will face a challenge of having to recall strategies for air instruction for as many as twenty air lessons.
Your PGI notes will be created as you develop your presentation material during the ground portion of your training. You'll be asked, for example, to prepare a PGI on Forced Approaches, and the preparation for that assignment is to review all of the resource materials available to you related to first approaches. The primary resource materials you will use are the publications you already own, and From the Ground Up, and Transport Canada's Flight Training Manual. The Internet is of course a bottomless source of information and its use is certainly encouraged, but you have to remember that the final authorities for the material used is the Transport Canada publications.
Your review of the collected resource materials serves two purposes, the first is for you to fill the holes that you have in your experience or knowledge of exercise discussed, and the second is for you to gather and filter the information you will included in your PGI notes. Your Class I Instructor will have already given you a broad outline as to what should be included your PGI presentation, but it is now your job to put the material together in accordance with the standard template or design of PGI presentations. This is how you learn as an Instructor student.
It is also a good idea to remember that your PGI notes should be of a quality that they can be photocopied by your student—so don't use expletives! It goes without saying that you must limit the amount of information contained in the PGI notes that will be used for your presentation. Things have to be summarized. You don't want to get lost in written detail in the middle of a presentation. The level of detail should only be sufficient to cue your memory. Some instructors like to divide their PGI notes into two sections for each presentation, the first is the brief outline that is used for presentation and handout purposes. The second is more detailed notes that are essentially raw bits of information based on the original research that supports your presentation. These research notes can be reviewed as required just prior to presenting a PGI.
Some instructor students have experimented with electronic formats, such as, for example, reading directly from a laptop, or using PowerPoint to display to the student during the PGI. Generally speaking, these are less popular and unnecessarily complicated.
The real purpose of the PGI notes is of course to prepare yourself for the presentation itself. But they are there to provide you guidance sheet so you don't inadvertently neglect to include a point or convey important material. Additionally, the PGI notes are there to catch you if you stumble. It's not difficult to get caught up in the conversation and lose your place, for example. PGI notes in this regard provide an effective backup when needed.
It is somewhat obvious, yet important to mention, that your notes should be mutable—that is, they can be readily changed, adjusted, etc., without hassle. When a PGI is practiced with your Class I Instructor, there will inevitably be requirements for alterations, additions, and deletions, and making edited changes to handwritten notes makes this difficult. Every time a PGI is presented, it should be refined.