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What the fastest way to reinstate my CFI?

Posted by on May 17, 2009 8 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog

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

AOPA's Air Safety Foundation

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.

8 Comments



  1. John on Jun 01, 2009

    “CFI refresher / renewal course…. If you successfully pass this course, it will take the place of the oral portion on the checkride.”

    Have you got any reference to support statement above?

    I am in a similar situation as the original poster. I have considered doing an MEI in order to get my CFI reinstated. As I understand it, this would not be reinstatement under ‘61.199 Expired CFI cert’, but under ‘61.183 Eligibility for Flight Instructor Certs’ (with the required training & instructor endorsement).
    If you, or anyone, have any thoughts or suggestions on this subject, I would be interested to hear them.
    Many thanks for your contributions, & GREAT site!



  2. Joe on Jul 05, 2009

    That makes three of us! In FAR 61.199 it states that you only have to comply with FAR 61.183(h)(1)or(2). So I am going to find a simulator and a DPE from a 142 school. Maybe more expensive but I hav not flown a single engine plane since 1975. I live in south Florida and will look tomorow.



  3. Jeff on Oct 06, 2009

    I have a checkride scheduled for CFI reinstatement this Saturday. I let my CFI which also had CFII and MEI ratings lapse in 2004. FAR 61.199 states:

    The holder of an expired flight instructor certificate may exchange that certificate for a new certificate with the same ratings by passing a practical test as prescribed in Sec. 61.183(h) of this part for one of the ratings listed on the expired flight instructor certificate.

    There is a little bit of a gray area here. I planned to just take the CFII ride because it is the easiest. When I scheduled with the DPE he said that we will be doing chandelles, lazy 8’s and eights on pylons. I asked him about 61.199 and said I wanted to take the CFII ride. However, the PTS for the CFI clearly states that the examiner will set a course of action.

    One checkride reinstates all the ratings on your certificate. For reinstatement you do not need to take any written tests, nor do you need an endorsement for the practical test. If you fail the test then you will need an endorsement to re-take.

    Hope this helps



  4. Chris on Nov 17, 2009

    Does the aircraft for the reinstatement have to be complex? I own my own PA32, and I hate to go rent someone elses airplane.



  5. av8erPrince on Nov 29, 2009

    @John: My opinion here is that no, the CFI refresher ground school by AOPA, or whoever else for that matter would not substitute for the oral portion of the checkride. If your CFI has lapsed, you have to take a checkride.
    @Joe: Were you able to find a DPE who agreed to do your CFI reinstatement on a simulator?
    @Jeff: Yes, I can tell you why? When you have not flown and taught in a ASEL in years, no DPE would risk giving you all those privileges back without testing you first. Legally, yes, ethically – no no.
    @Chris: As the CFI checkride is per the CFI PTS, and the PTS calls for takeoffs and landings, and emergency procs in a complex, so you would need to rent a complex at least for that portion. The rest you can accomplish on your PA32. And this is usually OK by the DPEs. But, be prepared for an extensive “aircraft maintenance” evaluation, and proof of aircraft insurance etc.
    av8erPrince
    http://cfiacademy.com



  6. av8erPrince on Nov 29, 2009

    http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/list/AC%2061-65E/$FILE/AC61-65E.pdf
    Read page 20, para 24. And something to think about: If you hold an AGI certificate you are exempt from the knowledge portion of your CFI initial checkride. That is the only time when you can skip the “oral”. How about at the time of the CFI reinstatement practical test? If you hold a valid AGI certificate? :-). No I don’t have the answer to this, just presenting a scenario.



  7. larry on May 20, 2010

    I’m in the same boat. I’ve let my CFII expire 10 years ago and am trying to get reinstated. I’ve gone to the college in warrensburg MO. to get it done but they are geared up for their full college courses and it’s not really working for me, (not fast enough) . Does anyone know of a school that is accelerated for this? I checked for Sowell aviation in FL. (I used them in the 80’s) but they aren’t in business anymore. I just need to get’er done.



  8. Jim Van Vranken on Oct 22, 2011

    Some really good input concerning reinstatement. I’m in the same boat with no single engine time in 40 years. I have been working in a part 121 & 142 environment but truthfully I was hesitant to request a reinstatement that would provide single engine instructor privleges. I guess I’m not looking for the easy and fast way to obtain reinstatement. A comprehensive review and back to basics will be my choice. I know this won’t be easy and it will require a lot of review and study, plus some out of pocket dollars. My pursuit is is to give back to younger pilots and new instructors my experience as a mentor and instructor.I attend FAAST seminars in my area and CFI refresher courses in the wings program. I’m now involved in an intensive study course that I believe will be worthwhile and display a professional commitment. Good luck to all of you in your pursuit of an aviation career.

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