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Do I get credit towards my CFI for my military instructor experience?

Posted by on August 7, 2008 5 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags : ,

Here is a flight training question from Frank:

Recently forced to retire from an airline career due to age 60; had 22 years of military flying before that, including appx 1500 hours of instuctor time in various military aircraft.
Do you know if the FAA has changed their rules to allow the military instructor time to count toward a CFI rating? Am going to pick up the CFI, but it would be nice to cut the program down some if the FAA gives credit for the instruction time.

Hi Frank, great question.

The federal regulations dealing with flight instructor certification are listed in subpart H of 14 CFR 61.  When you read through the requirements for becoming a flight instructor, the only flight experience requirement listed is that you have 15 hours of PIC in the category and class you are going to instruct in.  The other requirements to becomming a CFI, according to 14 CFR 61.183 are:

  • 18 years of age (you meet that one!)
  • Read and write English (check)
  • Commercial or ATP pilot (not a problem)
  • Instrument Rating (you have it)
  • Logbook endorsement for a written test on the fundamentals of instruction.
  • Pass the aforementioned written test (the only way out of this written test is if you are already a flight or ground instructor, have a teaching certificate or you are employed as a teacher at an accredited college or university).
  • Logbook endorsement saying you are competent and have instructional proficiency in stalls awareness and spins (entry and recovery)
  • Logbook endorsement for the practical test
  • Pass the required practical test

The other regulation that may apply here (because you are an ex-military pilot) is FAR 61.73 which allows you to take your military certificates and apply for the FAA equivalent of those certificates.  However, that is limited to the commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating and any other category and class ratings you may have as a military pilot.  There is nothing mentioned in this regulation about applying military flight instructor experience to apply for a FAA flight instructor certificate.  I can only guess at the FAA’s reasoning behind this, but I would think it has to do with the vast differences in the training mindset and cultural environment between military and civilian flight training.

I think your making a great decision to become a flight instructor.  General aviation needs flight instructors, especially those with experience and wisdom that a lifetime of career flying brings.  With a little bit of searching, you can find a job that pays pretty well too.  Granted not as much as you were making at the airlines but you won’t go hungry.

Thanks again for your question and….

Fly Safe.


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  2. Chad on Feb 17, 2009

    The FAA is in the process of changing the CFI requirements for former military instructors. You can read about it on the FAA website under notice of proposed rule-makeing – NPR 06-20. It eliminateds the requirment for the Practical test – all you would need to do is take the written tests. At this time it is under final review and should in place shortly.

  3. Paul on Oct 29, 2009

    Ruling was made and is effective as of 20 Oct 2009. Here’s the link:


  4. Eric on Jan 14, 2010

    So I have a FAA Helo Commercial Instrument rating and military instructor pilot. So when I take the MCI I will end up with CFI and CFII certicate. Is that correct? I have read all about it on ShepardAir but it was not plainly clear.

  5. Ralph on Dec 21, 2011

    I am a retired military Standardization flight instuctor and instrument examiner. I have an ATP, I am currently employed by major airline flying CRJs. What do I need to do, to apply for the military/CFI conversion. I presently live in the Atlanta area. Thank you

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