How do you become a flight instructor?


Some people want to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) in order to build more flight hours, others want to become a CFI because they love the idea of teaching others... either way, you need to know what's required in order for you to earn your CFI certificate.

Prerequisites for CFI's:

In order to be eligible to earn your CFI certificate, you need to be a Commercial Pilot, which means you're at least 18 years old, have at least 250 flight hours, and you've complied with all of the other requirements for that certificate.

CFI requirements:

The Practical Test Standards (PTS) for CFI's is a document put out by the FAA that outlines what a CFI candidate is expected to know and be able to teach.  This goes through multiple topics like: Aeromedical Factors, Operation of Systems, Principles of Flight and Aerodynamics, and many more.

In addition to the flight-specific topics, a CFI candidate is also expected to understand and be able to teach the topics outlined in the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) section.  This goes over the psychology behind teaching and learning, the methods to teach complex skills, and the barriers to learning that a flight student might encounter.

In order to show that you have instructional knowledge in these topics, CFI candidates will need to organize and compile lesson plans for each of the tasks in the PTS.  You will then use these lesson plans to present the material during ground classes to show that you're able to teach and conduct a class on those topics.

Both of these facets of the PTS have their associated written tests, as well.  You will need to study and prepare for taking a written test for both the Fundamentals of Instruction, and Flight Instructor-Airplane subjects.

You will also need to be practicing flying from the right seat now, so you can get used to flying and teaching from there.  As you fly, you'll be expected to be able to explain, teach, and demonstrate each of the required maneuvers that private and commercial pilot candidates must perform.

CFI Checkride

After you've passed the written tests, have put together and presented your lesson plans, and are comfortable in the right seat of the airplane, you're ready for your checkride!

Be prepared to teach multiple lessons during the ground portion (the PTS outlines which lessons are required, and which lessons your DPE may choose from).  The ground portion may take several hours, since you'll be presenting A LOT of information!

After the ground portion, you'll head out to the airplane and take the DPE up on a flight, with them in the left seat and you in the right seat.  You'll go over all of the maneuvers, takeoffs, and landings that you're required to demonstrate... hopefully for a passing grade!

After everything is said and done, hopefully you'll be a Certified Flight Instructor at the end of it all!

If you think getting your CFI certificate is something you're wanting to pursue, contact us today to see how we can work together to get you where you want to be!

Happy flying!