Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2021 times:
Hey guys, I'm in the process of finishing up my CFI-ASE rating. Now that I'm close enough that I can actually see myself as an instructor, I've started thinking about it and I'm not too sure how excited I am for what lies ahead of me.
I enjoy instructing, teaching people to fly, teaching them book knowledge. No problems there whatsoever. My concern moreso lies with other things... insurance and liability issues, irrational company policies that flight schools in general seem to have, the severely low pay, less than perfect (to say the least) training airplanes that are common, putting my license on the line, etc. You get the idea
Any advice for a new guy like me relating to these kind of things? What would you do if you were in my position? And, what do all you experienced people know that I'd like to without having to find out the hard way?
Jetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1986 times:
It sounds to me like you're taking this whole CFI thing with the proper amount of thought. You're absolutely correct, there is a certain amount of legal liability that you take upon yourself as an instructor and you may be asked to fly aircraft of questionable airworthiness. How do you deal with it?
As far as the liability issues go, you just need to make sure that you follow not only the "letter of the law", but the "spirit of the law" as well. If you follow the regs and just as importantly, document everything (keep proper records of every minute spent with your students) you won't have any problems. To give that extra bit of security, there are CFI liability insurance plans that will give you a certain amount of protection in the unlikely event that you have a problem.
As far as the equipment issue goes. Don't fly junk. Remember, a "pretty" airplane doesn't necessarily equate to airworthiness - I've seen ratty looking "working" airplanes that were perfectly airworthy and I've seen a lot of good looking junk with "Imron Overhauls". Personally, nearly everyone of the good pilots that I have known over my 37 year aviation career have quit at least one job because they refused to fly junk. Personally, I've left three jobs because of maintenance/operational issues. (I was with my previous employer for nearly 15 years when the new chief pilot decided to start playing games with maintenance and weight & balance.) Unfortunately, many inexperienced pilots are blinded by the "glamour" of a "any" flying job even a bad one. They are willing to take stupid risks to build up their logbook. It's not worth it in the long run.
If you take the proper precautions you won't have any problems. Remember, as a CFI you will learn many lessons that will be valuable in you career. It is time well spent and ,for most pilots, a necessary step in paying their dues.
HAL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1976 times:
I'll second what Jetguy said, and add a little more.
Being a CFI is absolutely (in my mind) the best first step toward a flying career. You get to go over the basics again and again, so that soon flying becomes such a second nature that you don't have to think about what or why you're doing something. At the same time you must realize (as you obviously do) that you have some responsibility toward your student to make them the safest and best pilot you can. Anyone who can do that does a great service to aviation in general.
Your concern about liability issues are valid too. However remember, as you progress up the ladder in aviation, your responsibility grows too. What you're facing as a new CFI is just the beginning. As a professional pilot you never stop 'putting your license on the line'. As an airline pilot you shouldn't ever forget you now have the responsibility of the 30 (or 300) lives behind you in your hands. It sometimes seems that those of us who fly the heavy iron have the 'easy' life, and that troubles such as you're facing are behind us. Like Jetguy said, that isn't true; we can face the problems of flying 'junk' and threats to our livelihood just as you do. We just end up with a bigger bill if something goes wrong. That is why the growth and experience you gain as a CFI will serve you well as you work up through the ranks.
Good luck in your career. It sounds like you'll be a good addition to the industry.
Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1951 times:
Jhooper, I've considered it. There are a few things stopping me though. I've never been the military type and can't at this point in my life be so sure as to my future that I can sign over a decade of it away. Being guarenteed a flight slot would be a must too. Maybe I'm just too demanding.
Jhooper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1891 times:
First, you must join the Civil Air Patrol, which involves an FBI background check and involves some paperwork that takes a few monts to be processed. Then you can do the online tests, aircraft questionnaire, and a "Form 5" checkride with a CAP check pilot, at which time you'll be qualified as a CAP pilot. Visit http://www.cap.gov. By the way, in order to be a cadet orientation pilot, you must generally be at least 21 years old (unless you're a CFI).
Sllevin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1783 times:
Look for a job flying trafficwatch, if you are near a major metro area. Lots of stations use small fixed wing wingles to complement the helos, and it's typically a great way to build up hours, while actually getting to fly and run the radios.
Positive rate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1780 times:
Someone mentioned above that at times as an instructor you will be pressured into flying junk. I would have thought aircraft used for instructing would be one of the most maintained in GA. Afterall if you operate old crappy equipment how many students are you going to get learning to fly with you? Not many.
Meister808 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1760 times:
Off the topic but how long does it normaly take to get the CFI rating?
Well, although I guess Jhooper speaks the truth, I would say about 6 months for a normal person... of course, you need to be certified Private, Instrument, and ATP before you get CFI, I think.. at least that is the procedure at the school I am at.
Jetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1685 times:
Some of the things that I'm going to put in this post I have written before; in fact, I'm simply going to cut and paste them into this reply.
The mixed feelings and apprehension you have about instructing are completely normal. Getting a CFI certificate is a lot of work, the FAA doesn't give them away and CFI applicants are held to a higher standard. They are placing a lot of trust in you. I had an ATP and over 3,000 hours before I got my CFI. I thought that somehow I had "dodged a bullet" by being able to go directly into Part 135 (charter) flying after I got my commercial and instrument rating. I was wrong. In any teaching situation, it's always the teacher who learns the most. The same thing applies doubly in aviation. Getting your CFI and actively instructing for a while will teach you things about flying that you will only learn through instructing. In my case, I ended up getting my CFI certificates so that I could keep my hand in flying while I went to school full time to finish up my degree. I learned a lot and to this day the lessons are very valuable and useful. Becoming a CFI, in my opinion, is one of the most important steps you can take in your aviation career.
Does that mean that you're going to enjoy the process? In the beginning you're going to be very nervous, remember how you felt just before your first solo flight? Just wait until you are ready to solo your first student.
It's not going to last forever. You'll probably get about all your going to get out of flight instructing after 500 to 1000 hours and it will be time to move on to bigger and better things. However, you may find that once you get into it you really enjoy it. I've kept up my CFI for all these years. I still find that it helps me to keep on my toes so to speak. I know many guys who once they got into it found out that they really enjoyed it and changed their career plans accordingly. Believe it or not, there are career CFIs out there.
Flying with the CAP is a very worthwhile thing to do, but it won't take the place of spending some time instructing. I would guess that the time required to log 1,000 hours giving Cadets orientation rides would be best measured in decades.
Jetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1661 times:
I guess that I was the typical airport bum when I was growing up. I also built and flew model airplanes. I worked as a bag and stock boy in a grocery store to earn the money for flying lessons. Back then I was able to rent an Aeronca 7AC Champ for $4.00 an hour wet. It sounds like a good deal, but everything's relative - I only earned $1.25 an hour bagging groceries. My PPL cost me about $400 if I remember right. (I had to do part of the training in a brand new Cessna 150 that cost me $60 for a 10 hour block - WET!) I was a sophomore in high school and my mother had to drive me to the airport for my lessons. My goal was to get my private license, then go into the Air Force and fly transports and move from there on to the airlines. I soloed right after I turned 16, got my PPL as soon as I turned 17. I was in the AFROTC while I was in college and everything was progressing according to plan when one day I was notified that, because the war in Vietnam was winding down, the Air Force was cutting back on pilot training and that our training slots had been cancelled. I was given the chance to get out of my commitment which I did. So much for my career plan. At that point, I ended up taking a loan to finance my commercial, instrument, multiengine and CFI training. I had just finished up my Commercial and Instrument rating when, out of the blue, I got a call from a friend offering me a job flying air tours through the Grand Canyon. I was able to do it because I had accumulated just barely over 500 hours, by that time, and I was qualified to fly Part 135 VFR. I spent the next 3 years flying Grand Canyon air tours and other charter flights. Before it was over, I had just over 3,000 hours total time and an ATP. I wasn't making any real progress towards my degree and therefore, my ultimate goal of flying for the airlines so I left Las Vegas and picked up my CFI ratings and returned to school as a full-time student. After finishing up my degree, I took a couple of corporate jobs and did some charter flying. In the early 1980's I spent 3 years flying air ambulance. This was easily the most personally rewarding job I ever had, but three years is about all most people can handle it - it can be pretty emotionally draining. After that I spent another year or so in corporate flying. During this period I had my resumes out and I ended up being hired by one of the majors. I wasn't there too long. It was pretty neat to have finally achieved my goal, but after the "novelty" of flying a big airplane wore off I realized that it was a pretty sucky flying job. (Just one man's opinion.) I found it to be pretty boring and without too much challenge. At that point I decided that I would leave the airlines and go back to corporate flying. That was 18 years ago and I haven't regretted it. Oh well, I'll probably catch it from some of the airline types. My answer to them is "what ever floats your boat".
The entire process requires almost a fanatical amount of determination and perserverence. The schooling, the training, the expense, gaining the experience, etc. The secret is just take it a step at a time. Set goals and work at them until you've accomplished them. Every one starts at the same place with the same amount of experience. It usually all works out - eventually.