Training for CFI

user954002
  • Training for CFI user954002

    I plan on starting my flight training soon at the age of 41, but I don't want to stop at PPL and simply fly for fun: I want to ultimately be a CFI.

    With this goal in mind, my question is what recommendations can my fellow aviation enthusiasts and experts give me in the planning I should do for my aviation education? Is there a specific type of facility to select for training, a progression of obtaining certificates and ratings I should follow, etc.?

  • First, if you haven't already go check out AOPA's Let's Go Flying site - specifically their page on how to pick a flight school/instructor. Some of the advice I'm going to give you is pretty much ripped right from them.

    For my two cents, if you're going for a career move (even a part-time side job type career), you want to optimize your training path - you do not want to be like me where you're doing this whole aviation thing "just for kicks" and can be be a perpetual student pilot taking as long as you want to get each rating!

    Generally speaking this means you want to follow the "traditional" path of certificates and ratings in your chosen aircraft category and class. For Airplanes that would be Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, and CFI.
    You probably don't want to "detour" to ratings like Sport Pilot (unless you want to become a sport pilot instructor and don't intend to ever become a "regular" CFI, in which case this path lets you skip the instrument and commercial ratings).

    The private->Instrument->Commercial->CFI path is "typical" in my experience, and it generally seems to make sense because the skills you use in each phase naturally build on each other and will help you with the more difficult tasks the next rating will demand.

    It's probably also worth spending a little time with the Part 61 requirements for each certificate and rating you intend to pick up and planning ahead -- for example, if you can economize by making sure your instrument rating cross-country flight time requirements also satisfy some or all of the requirements for the Commercial rating you can avoid having to do basically the same flying twice.


    As far as where you do your training, a lot of that depends on your personal situation (funding, schedule and personality). The general rule here is "the more you fly the faster the training goes". I was a weekend warrior for most of my private training, and between weather delays and extended gaps between lessons it took me a LONG time to get that first ticket - the instrument rating may end up taking just as long!

    If you're a good student, can take a substantial block of vacation, and have the money to throw at your training an accelerated/immersive program is often the most cost-effective and shortest route to a given certificate or rating: You are effectively becoming a full-time flight student, flying and studying every day, and when you eat, breathe, and sleep aviation you generally pick things up a lot quicker.
    As an added advantage these are often Part 141 programs, which reduces the hour requirements for the certificates and ratings (but even if the training is conducted under Part 61 you're still at an advantage because of the immersive nature of the program).

    If becoming a full-time student is not an option for you a structured Part 141 program may still be: Some Part 141 schools have "weekend warrior" programs that follow the same syllabus, and have the same benefit of reducing the hour requirements. The drawback is they're not as "immersive", so information may not sink in as quickly and skills will probably take longer to develop - you'll take longer (and probably spend more money) as a weekend student than you would as a full-time student.

    The last option is "regular" Part 61 training, which is what most of the folks I know with day jobs they can't escape from do. This is certainly the most flexible option as you're basically training on your own schedule and program. Good instructors will almost universally still be working from some kind of syllabus to keep your training on-track and moving forward, but there's more freedom to jump around and change up the order of lessons, which is nice if you're getting stuck, or bored, or need to really work on a specific maneuver/concept for a while.
    The downside is the same as I already mentioned for "weekend warrior" 141 training: the time between lessons really puts a hurting on your mechanical skill development and knowledge retention, and you'll probably wind up taking longer to finish your training.
    There is however no reason you couldn't finish up a Part 61 training program right around the bare minimums for each certificate/rating, assuming you fly frequently and don't hit too many personal stumbling blocks along the way.

Related questions and answers
  • Training for CFI user954002

    I plan on starting my flight training soon at the age of 41, but I don't want to stop at PPL and simply fly for fun: I want to ultimately be a CFI. With this goal in mind, my question is what recommendations can my fellow aviation enthusiasts and experts give me in the planning I should do for my aviation education? Is there a specific type of facility to select for training, a progression of obtaining certificates and ratings I should follow, etc.?

  • I'm a student pursuing a US Private Pilot License, and recently scheduled my checkride. I've been training in a 1981 Piper Warrior (PA-28-161), but if its annual goes sour I may have to take my club's 1980 Piper Archer (PA-28-181). I have well over §61.109's 40 hours in the Warrior alone, and only ~10 hours in the Archer. I have a separate club checkout and CFI solo endorsement for each... the box is really for. Of course I'd rather test in my more-experienced plane, but I'm asking specifically for regulations here if Plan A falls through. Are there any regulations or headaches that I

  • I'm considering getting a private pilot license, but considering that it is more dangerous than driving a car (with pilot error being a large factor of that), I want to make sure I train with a CFI and aircraft that are safe, and also ensure that I learn the habits necessary to become a safe pilot. Are there any objective (or fairly reliable subjective) ways to determine the quality of training provided by CFI at a local flying club?

  • When I learned to fly helicopters, I of course spent significant time learning about and practicing autorotations. The CFI at my school, who had around 15,000 hrs (that's right, fifteen thousand!) said a few times that practice, knowledge and currency are vital — but as long as you got the entry right (following which you can fly to the ground) and executed at least a decent attempt... might not get to use the machine again, and you might spend some time in hospital, you would live to fly another day. I am assuming a reasonable place on dry land is available to finally come to rest

  • clearance to land. After landing, I still had no idea I had done anything incorrectly as the controller made no indication to me. A few hours after I landed, my CFI sent me a text message asking me how.... What I'm wondering is how bad of a screw up is this? My CFI's reaction was one of legitimate anger and it makes me want to stay on the ground for a while. ...Here's the scenario: I was a student pilot on inbound for landing at my home airport on my final solo cross country flight I needed before doing a checkride. At roughly 8 miles out to the north west

  • Manual (in my case a 1972 Cessna 182P) simply says Full Power under the Normal Take-Off procedure. The reasoning I've heard is to try not to over-stress the engine (whatever that means exactly), but on the flip side, I've heard that if an engine is going to do something funky, it's probably going to happen when you do a power reduction, or otherwise do something. I personally want all the power I..." as to when you should perform this power reduction (inches off the ground or 700-1,000 feet), and if so, have there been actual studies that say why one way is better than the other, or is this one

  • In the last year, I have had to undergo bypass surgery. I am fully recovered now (and past the mandatory 6-month waiting period), but have just been apprised by my AME that my 3rd class medical deferral is likely to take a month or two for the FAA to process. I am also in a partnership, and our insurance requires annual recurring training. Normally, all four of us (partners) take the recurring training at the same time, and get a discounted rate as a result. As fate would have it, this year's recurring training will fall into the time I am waiting to hear back from the FAA. Since the flight

  • months) but I haven't been to training yet, so 135.323 doesn't really apply. From my interpretation of the regulations I would say no, however every 135 company that I have ever flown... it in the calendar month in which it was required. ... So let's say that I completed initial training in March. This says that if I complete recurrent training in February or April that they consider the training to have been completed in March. So what happens if a year passes and recurrent training is due. I don't make it in February or March, but the company schedules me for recurrent

  • the student pilot normally receives training to another location. A student pilot who receives this endorsement must comply with the requirements of this paragraph. (1) Solo flights may be made to another airport that is within 25 nautical miles from the airport where the student pilot normally receives training The student must be endorsed with something along the lines of: I certify that (First name, MI, Last name) has received the required training of section 61.93(b)(1). I have determined that he/she is proficient to practice solo takeoffs and landings at (airport name

  • Can my training in a Sport aircraft with a Sport instructor be used to fulfill the requirements to become a Private Pilot? As an example, assume I've started my training to be a Sport Pilot, but decided I'd rather be a Private Pilot.

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