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7 Answers

CFII before CFI?

Asked by: 3976 views ,
FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, Instrument Rating

I am interested in becoming a flight instructor and I don't know if I should be a CFI or CFII first.  I really enjoy instrument flying and an instrument CFI would be great.  I was wondering if I could become a CFII first, is the training more or less than a CFI and would it be a good move to do? 

7 Answers



  1. Mark Kolber on Feb 04, 2013

    There are those who think it’s the best way.

    But consider:

    First a clarification: “Certificated Flight Instructor” is a certificate. “Airplane, Single Engine” and “Instrument Airplane” are ratings on that certificate. So what you’re talking about is getting a CFI certificate with an “instrument airplane” rating but no “airplane single engine” (or multi or helicopter) rating.

    That means you would only be able to teach ground instrument lessons and in a simulator. You can’t give flight lessons in an aircraft. Is that what you were planning on?

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  2. Mark on Feb 04, 2013

    I was planning on teaching instrument students in an airplane. I thought there was an option to get cfii allowing to teach in an airplane for the instrument rating and ipc. If that is so would there be advantages to getting the cfii first?

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  3. Sam Dawson on Feb 04, 2013

    There use to be that option, but as Mark wrote that is no longer the case. The FAA Chief Counsel published a letter of interpretation stating this several years ago.

    http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2010/Grayson-2.pdf

    While there are some “straight” CFIIs out there still doing this they and the students they teach are exposing themselves to possible certificate action.

    Not much advantage to getting the CFII first.

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  4. Wes Beard on Feb 05, 2013

    A CFII cannot teach in a simulator or flight training device either. The only thing a CFII with an associated class is to provide GS for that category aircraft.

    If that is all you want to do get the Instrument Ground Instructor certificate. At least there you can teach GS for all category aircraft.

    See Beard Interpretation.

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  5. Mark Kolber on Feb 05, 2013

    Thanks Wes, for pointing that out (and for asking the question).

    For reference, the link to the Beard interpretation is here: http://goo.gl/6p2lj

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  6. Ben on Feb 06, 2013

    I was going to recommend this but did not know the FAA had nixed this route. Back in the day (2007) I did this based on the logic that the Practical Training Standards for the CFII was significantly thinner than that of the CFI…henceforth I went CFII…CFI…MEI and passed first time on each one.

    If the FAA has gotten wise to this approach then that’s too bad!

    Don’t forget to keep a nice paper trail of your students for the FAA Gold Seal, you’ll be there in no time, but pays to keep your paper workin order.

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  7. Mark Kolber on Feb 06, 2013

    >>If the FAA has gotten wise to this approach then that’s too bad!<<

    I don't think it's a matter of getting wise to the fact that the II was easier. The regs really always said that you needed to have a CFI aircraft rating to teach in an aircraft. Problem was that, for some reasons, it ended being interpreted differently by different parts of the FAA. So they re-wrote the reg slightly, called it a change, and issued the interpretation Sam referenced.

    You can almost feel the "I thought we took care of this!" frustration in the Beard letter. Talking about consistent interpretation that has in fact been inconsistent until 2010 and the final, we need to look at the reg again!

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