Mike writes in asking:
I am an out of work, corporate pilot who has let his CFI expire . I am applying for a job that requires a valid CFI license. I have not instructed for some time. In your opinion, what is the most cost effective and painless approach to re-instating my license?
Hi Mike. There are two ways to get your CFI reinstanted:
1) You can call your local Designated pilot examiner (DP) and say that you need to do a CFI reinstatement ride. They will charge you a fee for the ride, but that is probably the fastest way. You don’t need to have a sign off from another flight instructor.
2) The other thing to do would be to call your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) directly and tell them that you need your CFI certificate reinstated and that you would like to schedule a flight check. The nice thing about riding with the FAA is that the ride (minus the airplane costs…which you provide) is free.
Mike wrote back asking a good follow-up question:
I haven’t been in a small Cessna in some time. My recent career has been in large transport planes. Do you recommend any type of refresher and is it possible to fail the reinstatement you mentioned.
It is possible to fail the reinstatement ride, especially if you haven’t instructed in a while. Most FAA examiners and DPs will be looking for your teaching ability, not necessarily your rote knowledge about a certain subject area. They will be looking for how you communicate and
educate. Being able to fly and demonstrate the maneuvers correctly from the right seat is also important.
It may not be the cheapest method, but if you want to gain some instructing proficiency I’d recommend taking a CFI refresher / renewal course.
AOPA, Jeppesen, Gleim all offer online CFI renewals. You could also attend a weekend CFI clinic in your area. I personally like the online series developed by AOPA and the ASF (Air Safety Foundation). If you successfully pass this course, it will take the place of the oral portion on the checkride.