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How do I become a ground instructor?

Posted by on October 14, 2008 58 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags : ,

Rob wrote me and asked, in essense, “What do I have to do to become a ground instructor?”

Maybe it’s the economy and people are looking to utilize their skills sets but I am glad that so many people are thinking about instructing! Whether it is ground or flight instruction, general aviation needs you!

First off, there are three levels of a ground instructor certificate.  (You can reference 14 CFR 61.215)

1) Basic (BGI)- A basic ground instructor can provide the required knowledge training for a sport pilot, recreational or private pilot.  You can also accomplish the knowledge portion of the flight review test and recommend someone to take the knowledge tests (written) for one of those certificates.

2) Instrument (IGI) – An instrument ground instructor is able to provide the required knowledge training for a pilot applicant seeking a instrument rating.  Similarly to the BGI, you are also able to recommend someone for the instrument written exam.

2) Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI) – A advanced ground instructor certificate can provide the required knowledge training for any certificate issued under part 61.  That means, private, commercial, airline transport pilot, etc.

A ground instructor certificate does not require you to be a pilot or to have any other pilot experience (although it helps).  I have had quite a few instructors, both at FlightSafety and at the regional airline I worked at, who were not pilots, but had obtained their AGI.  To be honest, they were some of the best ground instructors I have ever had.

If you are a pilot, a ground instructor certificate is a completely separate certificate.  It will even be seperate from your flight instructor certificate.  A ground instructor certificate has no expiration although you can’t instruct unless within the precedding 12 months you have served as a ground instructor for 3 months or you receive an endorsement from another ground instructor or CFI that you are proficient (14 CFR 61.217).

In order to become a ground instructor you have to take the FOI (fundamentals of instruction) written test and the appropriate knowledge test either BGI, IGI, or AGI.   No oral exam is required! The best way to prepare for the knowledge test is to use a study guide like the one provided by Gleim:

Gleim Flight/Ground Instructor Written Exam Guide – The easiest, fastest, and least expensive means of passing the FAA Flight Instructor – Airplane (FIA) knowledge test

Once you pass the test(s), you can walk into your local FSDO (with an appointment), present your completed FOI and knowledge tests and walk out with a temporary airmen certificate for either a BGI, IGI or AGI.  That’s it!

Good luck with your FOI and AGI tests and have fun instructing and teach your students to always…

Fly Safe!

58 Comments



  1. Tim on Nov 19, 2012

    Earlier I read that in order to become an AGI and a CFI you are only required to take the FOI once. My question is if that one time is only good for two years or if it remains credible indefinitely.



  2. MAO on Nov 29, 2012

    @Tim

    Your FOI test results, alone, are only good for 24 months. Once you receive a CFI or a GI, you would not need to take the FOI test again.



  3. Brian on Dec 28, 2012

    A curiosity question of mine. To be a ground instructor, is a commercial certificate required? Or to be an IGI, is an instrument rating required? Just curiosity questions. I was curious because you are not being paid to fly so the commercial may not be required. Thanks!



  4. le on Mar 07, 2013

    I am an IGI. I took the AGI several years ago have a currant certified teacher certificate. Do I need to retake the AGI since I did not go to the FSDO to get the certificate? or can I do that now?



  5. Dany cala on Nov 24, 2013

    I’m already a cfi, and would like to get my ground instructor certificate. What test do I have to take?? Thanks in advance



  6. Esteban Oquendo on Jan 21, 2014

    I’m already a cfi, and would like to get my ground instructor certificate. What test do I have to take?? Thanks in advance



  7. David on Mar 24, 2014

    @ Dany and Esteban

    As you are already a CFI, the only thing necessary to become a ground instructor is to pass the required knowledge test (AGI or BGI). Then take that test and your certificate to the FSDO to apply for a GI license



  8. JJ on Apr 13, 2014

    Hope y’all doing just fine. Currently I’m a holder of A Commercial Pilot Certificate ME/SE land instrument airplane, also I have in my possession an Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate. Recently I was thinking to step it up just a bit and obtain my AGI and was looking at 14 CFR 61.215 and understood that I only have to give couple of written exams “FOI and AGI” and that will qualify me for an AGI Certificate , I’m I right?. Are there any other requirements that I have neglected?. Moreover, in order to become an AGI do I have to obtain my BGI then IGI or I just can go ahead and apply for an AGI . My interpretation from the above, the AGI have the same privileges as the BGI and IGI, correct me if I’m wrong please!!

    Appreciate it flyers, y’all fly safe.

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