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21 year old flight instructor

Asked by: 8640 views General Aviation

I am currently training at ATP to work my way up to CFI, CFII, and MEI. I am 21 years old and I have been offered an instructing job already outside of ATP. Are young CFI's looked down upon outside of ATP? I'm worried about being young and not getting any sort of respect because I am so young.

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5 Answers



  1. Jim F. on Oct 04, 2013

    Probably not. Most people see/know that CFIs are normally pretty young, as they use it to build time. At the flight school I work at now, we get a lot of comments about some of the instructors young ages, but we just tell them it’s normal, as it’s about the only job for a new commercial pilot.

    Now I’ll be honest, I’ve never really liked all the young guys at the pilot factories I was at; They were only there for a few months then left, so the instructor turn-over was really high. Since there was normally one or two older guys there, I always made sure to get assigned to them.

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  2. Aaron on Oct 04, 2013

    you might have more trouble being from ATP than being young. not being absent here, that’s just a reality in the industry, at least around here. some people tend to look down upon those “puppy mill” flight schools, as the name suggests. May be later than sooner, but it’s not unheard of four a candidate to lose a job based on where he did his training. not saying I approve or endorse this practice, just trying to prepare you so you’re not surprised.

    …otherwise congrats on the CFI, and good luck with the job! it is a lot of fun, and there’s few better ways to build hours.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Oct 05, 2013

    If dealing with an older student, you are bound to get a few who look down on you because you’re young. Or a woman. Or have facial hair. Or the wrong color skin. Or the wrong religion. Or that instruction is a waypoint on the way to a piloting career. Or ____________ [fill in the blank with your favorite prejudice of choice].

    But that’s not most.

    And you can’t control them. All you can do is be the best professional you can be.

    I think it was Rod Machado who said in response to a similar question from a student (I’m paraphrasing) , “You may be young and inexperienced. But at this point you have been trained and passed checkrides for your private and commercial and CFI certificates and various ratings associated with them. So, if all you can do is teach your student to be as good a pilot as you, he or she is way ahead of the game.”

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  4. John D Collins on Oct 05, 2013

    Don’t worry about things you don’t control. What you do control is how professionally you approach your job and your students. Be proud of what you have accomplished, but don’t take the attitude that you know everything as you will always be learning new stuff. I have been flying for over 45 years and am still learning new things. Like most of us, you will learn more by instructing than by almost any other activity as you are forced to explain things to your student. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, but that you will find out and get back to your student. Be on time, don’t cancel your flights with a student to fly right seat in a neat airplane or charter. A year from now, you will be 22 and have over 1000 hours instructing. Enjoy yourself.

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  5. Kris Kortokrax on Oct 05, 2013

    Also, bear in mind that respect is not something conferred upon you by virtue of passing a practical test. Respect has to be earned.

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