CFI CourseThe View From the Right Seat
What is a Flight Instructor Certificate?
The CFI Certificate is one of the most difficult certifications in aviation to achieve. The FAA considers flight instructors to be an essential part of aviation’s education and safety system and wants to ensure that applicants have high levels of knowledge and motor skills. In keeping with that outlook, the FAA prefers that CFI applicants be examined by an FAA Safety Inspector instead of a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) when possible.
The flight instructor certificate is usually the first stop after achieving the Commercial Pilot Certificate. As a CFI, a pilot can build hours and experience without having to pay directly for the cost of the aircraft. Historically, many CFI’s have been young pilots building time for an airline or other professional pilot career.
That has started to change in recent years. With strong demand for CFI’s, many older pilots are earning a certificate or coming back to instructing as either a way to earn income or indulge their desire to fly.
What is Involved?
Like other certificates, the CFI requires an oral and practical exam. The more difficult part is the oral portion. A wide range of knowlege and how to teach it is required. The flight portion consists of being able to fly and teach private and commercial maneuvers from the right seat. Most applicants are prepared for the exam after 15 hours of flight training.
FAA Requirements for CFI Certificate
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate or ATP Certificate.
- Must hold a valid FAA 3rd Class Medical Certificate.
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
- Pass the Flight Instructor Airpland and Fundamentals of Instruction FAA Knowledge Test.