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7 Answers

Ethical Dilemma

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Flight Instructor


1.     When is it appropriate to tell a new CFI that they should not expect to ride a senior CFI's coat tails? I have an issue with a new CFI that thinks instructing is a "big club" and that everything we do should be "shared". This includes courseware, insight and knowledge that has been acquired over 30+ years of flight training/flying.


2.     My dilemma is that I want to be supportive of the junior CFI's but also want to know if others feel they need to look, listen and be asked to participate rather than assume they are "entitled" simply because they "earned their CFI Certificate". I am all for sharing techniques and experiences but draw the line at giving up my courseware, teaching materials and expanded instructor notes.


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7 Answers

  1. Nathan Parker on Apr 12, 2012

    I think that insight and knowledge should be freely shared with anyone that’s interested, but that doesn’t include physical training materials.  If someone asked for materials that I prepared with great labor over the years, I’d regard that as a bit presumptuous.  That said, I will generally give to anyone that asks a laminated copy of various diagrams or charts that I put together.
    I’m not sure what you mean by “look, listen and be asked to participate”, but if you don’t want new CFIs listening to you talk or discuss things with others, I would find that attitude a bit unusual. 

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  2. Best Answer

    Curtis Ide on Apr 12, 2012

    Are you in a management position at the school and if so, was this paperwork developed while you have been employed by the school?  If you answered yes then I would say you have a responsibility, although not required, to share the information with other employees. 
    However, if you are just a senior CFI I don’t see why you would have to share the information freely.  It is important to share experience and give tips (especially where safety is involved) but you also are operating your own self-employment business and your courseware is what allows you to gain demand in the market over other instructors.  As you stated you have taken your personal unpaid time to develop a product for your customers.  If you are comfortable sharing then that’s very nice and generous and the other instructor should be thankful but I don’t see why you would be obligated to share that information.  Just for grins imagine this argument with a company i.e. Gliem needs to give all their courseware to new instructors for free because they have gained so much knowledge after building learning materials for so many years.  Yeah right…   
    In any case, you have built those to cater to your teaching style and another instructor may not use the information correctly without guidance.  To resolve the problem I think it would be nice of you to offer to help them build their own courseware and notes and if they want advanced instruction from you to make them a better more knowledable instructor then maybe you have found yourself another market to work in. 

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  3. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 13, 2012

    I guess I’m not clear about what you consider courseware, teaching materials and expanded instructor notes.
    To me, courseware is either things like FAA training handbooks, AIM, Regs (free online) or ASA, Jeppesen or Gleim texts (available for purchase).  Are you saying he wants to use things of yours that you have purchased?  He can probably find a syllabus online for free, although as a CFI, he should be able to construct one.
    Teaching materials – whiteboards, sectionals, plotters, E6Bs, model airplanes?  What are the teaching materials you have that he would not have the ability to procure?
    Expanded notes – I have notes that I’ve made over the years.  Many from other texts, some from my own observations.  As you said, we are all usually willing to share experiences and techniques.  What the heck, that’s what we are doing by responding to posts on this website.

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  4. n on Apr 13, 2012




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     So a younger CFI wants to learn from you with your 30yrs “experience”.  IMHO most folks with real experiences, that have been around the block, look forward to giving others their hard fought knowledge. I find it very strange that  you are intimidated or afraid of this new CFI, who is looking to gain from your “knowledge”… perhaps you realize you don’t have much knowledge to offer him and that is the real issue???
     Ether way, I would tell him exactly what you said, do it in front of all your peers at work, I think things work themselves out in the work place.

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  5. Joe hatcher on Feb 08, 2015

    I am working on becoming CFIS (sport pilot). I am also a psychologist. In that field it is way unethical to have friends or family as clients. Obviously, there are differences between flying and therapy, but I can imagine that it’s still not a good idea to people with whom you have a close connection as students. I don’t see anything about this in the ethical guidelines, however. Any guidance on this?

    Joe at hatcherj@ripon.edu

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  6. Joe hatcher on Feb 08, 2015

    Can or should a flight instructor instruct family members or close friends? I’m not seeing anything in the ethical guidelines.

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  7. Mark Kolber on Feb 09, 2015


    “Can”? Yes. There’s nothing prohibiting a CFI from teaching friends and family, any more than there is something prohibiting a mom or dad from teaching his or here son or daughter to drive. I don’t see any ethical problem with it either.

    “Should”? That depends on the CFI and the student, doesn’t it? Just as it’s sometimes a very bad idea for dad to teach daughter to drive (one or the other might not be able to handle the emotional tie aspect and it can cause friction), the same is true for teaching someone to fly.

    Are you, for example, suggesting that when one of my primary flight students became a close personal friend, I should have bowed out?

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