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…