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5 Answers

Ways to get CFI

Asked by: 1977 views ,
Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor

Just plot my commercial ticket a few days ago, and am starting to heavily think about CFI training. Does anybody have a suggestion of the best way to go? Are these accelerated progams worth trying for? Or should I just stick it out at an FBO? I am starting to read the 'handbook for flight instructors' but is there Nything else I should be reading into? Any information helps, thanks!

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5 Answers



  1. Bill Trussell on Feb 19, 2013

    Read the handbook and get a good knowledge test study guide. I would suggest self study for the knowledge test followed by a good weekend ground school just before taking both knowledge tests, the FOI and CFI. Take them both and pass with a very high score before seeking out the assistance of a CFI for the flying and ground coaching lessons.

    After that I would seek out the assistance of an instructor with a good track record of training to success for initial CFIs. These are a somewhat rare breed but they are out there. Ask around and get recommendations based on the number of initial CFIs completed and passed on the first try. Accelerated schools are ok but there are good programs based on good instructors that are not necessarily based at these types of schools. You will need the assistance of someone who is looking to make you a good instructor, not just someone interested in “passing” the test.

    Plan on spending more time on the ground than in the air with your selected instructor. Depending on your own motivation the CFI rating is the most enjoyable one to work toward as you will find out why you did what you did to make your own instructors want to pull their hair out at times. Great fun to see you finally realize why you were told some of the things you were told. It all comes together for you and you will be a better person and a much better pilot for it in the end.

    Please keep us posted on your progress.

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  2. Matthew Waugh on Feb 20, 2013

    Bill offers great advice – but let me offer mine.

    Do not confuse obtaining a CFI certificate with learning to be a good instructor. They are not the same thing – and I would take the position that trying to do them at the same time leads to an inefficient process in achieving either goal.

    The CFI mills are efficient ways to get the paperwork that makes you legal to teach.

    You should figure out ways to become a good instructor through many of the ways Bill suggested, but not much of that needs to involve actually burning Avgas – which as an expensive way to learn. FInd mentors, spend time talking about how to deal with different students and learning styles and ways people can try to kill you and break airplanes.

    Even if you do all that stuff I will also take the position that you will learn much more from your first few students than they will learn from you – oh they’ll learn – but you’ll be learning at a rate that far exceeds theirs. I don’t think there’s anyway around that – nobody arrives perfectly formed as a perfect instructor for their first student.

    It is great fun, you will be a much better pilot, and in time you will be a good instructor, but it surely will not be on the day they hand you your temporary certificate.

    I always recommend dealing with the FOI as part of an AGI – it disappears your FOI score from view and costs you one more written. I, personally, monopolized the chair in a local test center and took the FOI, AGI, IGI and whatever the contractions are for the CFI and CFI-I – because it’s a lot of the same test bank – so you might as well maximize having it all in your brain at one time.

    Then when you present yourself for the CFI checkride they don’t know if you got a 70 or a 100 on your FOI (I guess, maybe they can look it up at the FSDO) – I don’t know if it makes the oral any easier or harder, but I’ve got to believe that a 70 (is that a passing score, it’s been a long time since I took a written) makes for a hard oral on the subject, and taking the test multiple times to get a good FOI score is expensive and mind numbing. Plus you got an AGI certificate – and who doesn’t like getting a new certificate.

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  3. Chris Carlson on Feb 20, 2013

    Thank you both, and I will keep you posted as I go through the process, it’s like virtual Mentoring on here.

    After reading 61.213 it’s my understanding that I would have to take the written test for recreational, private, commercial (mine is still within 2 years, so maybe not), ATP, and sport pilots licenses, as well as the instrument written if I want to teach instrument? That’s a lot of written tests, or am I missing something? Getting an AGI ticket would be nice, as I have a potential job teaching ground school at the school where I might be working on the fueling line, same place I trained.

    Would it be much more time consuming than just going straight to CFI, and worth the difference?

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  4. Chris Dupin on Feb 23, 2013

    61.213 applies to ground instructors only, and it breaks the knowledge areas out into three distinct areas: Basic (BGI), Advanced (AGI), and Instrument (IGI) with a knowledge test required for each. Additionally, you have to take the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) knowledge test as well. Turns out to be four tests total for a fully-capable ground instructor certificate. Getting mine was valuable as I was injured while working on my CFI and the ground instructor path enabled me to keep teaching (and working!) while I was injured. Be warned: just taking those tests and going to the FSDO to get your ground instructor certificate does not automatically give you the privilege to go teach ground school. Read up on 61.217 for the recent experience requirements for ground instructors.

    You do not have to take the relevant knowledge exams to instruct those topics as a CFI. To become a CFI, you only have to take the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) and Flight Instructor – Airplane (FIA) knowledge tests. If you later want instrument privaleges added to your instructor certification, you’ll have to take the Instrument Flight Instructor (FII) knowledge test as well.

    I found my ground instructor ratings to be valuable. Will the value be worth the cost? That’s entirely up to you…

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  5. Matthew Waugh on Feb 24, 2013

    This is much a question as an answer.

    If you have an AGI why would you want a BGI? I wasn’t aware of anything you could do with a BGI that you can’t do with an AGI.

    I don’t have a BGI – I’d hate to think I was missing out on something……

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