Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to Choose a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI)

Whether an individual chooses to train under 14 CFR part 141 or part 61, the key to an effective flight program is the quality of the ground and flight training received from the CFI. The flight instructor assumes total responsibility for training an individual to meet the standards required for certification within an ever-changing operating environment.

A CFI should possess an understanding of the learning process, knowledge of the fundamentals of teaching, and the ability to communicate effectively with the student pilot. During the certification process, a flight instructor applicant is tested on the practical application of these skills in specific teaching situations. The flight instructor is crucial to the scenario-based training program endorsed by the FAA. He or she is trained to function in the learning environment as an advisor and guide for the learner. The duties, responsibilities, and authority of the CFI include the following:
• Orient the student to the scenario-based training system.
• Help the student become a confident planner and in-flight manager of each flight and a critical evaluator of their own performance.
• Help the student understand the knowledge requirements present in real world applications.
• Diagnose learning difficulties and helping the student overcome them.
• Evaluate student progress and maintain appropriate records.
• Provide continuous review of student learning.

Should a student pilot find the selected CFI is not training in a manner conducive for learning, or the student and CFI do not have compatible schedules, the student pilot should find another CFI. Choosing the right CFI is important because the quality of instruction and the knowledge and skills acquired from this flight instructor affect a student pilot’s entire flying career.

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