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CFI training programs

Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:13 am

Hello again everyone. Question about general training to throw out there and hopefully get some opinions about.

As some of you know I'm currently living in Germany and working as a teacher but trying to get back to the US and move into flying.

I do want to be a CFI and do more teaching/tour type flying. Not opposed to any other stuff but just not particularly drawn to airlines.

I recently discovered two places; Falcoln Aviation with a couple bases in Georgia and Flight Safety with quite a few bases but one in particular with an offer in Vero Beach, Florida. Both of these places have offers to train you for "Free" to CFI, CFII, MEI, and possibly more with the caveat that you must sign a full time contract for a predetermined amount of time (1-2 years or around 1500 dual given hours) and would still receive full pay for training given.

To me this almost seems ideal as it gives me job security in my career change. But I'm sure there are plenty of things I'm overlooking or just don't know about at all. I would definitely like to hear your thoughts and opinions on a program like this.

P.S. I'm currently at 233ish hours with instrument and commercial training basically completed but still need to refresh and then take checkrides.

Thanks for your feedback.

Re: CFI training programs

Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:17 am

Make sure you read the fine print Chris. I have seen deals like this, where if for some reason you can not complete the contract, you are on the hook. I.E. - Lose you Medical Certificate, become incapacitated etc. Also check what they pay for flight instruction and what kind of housing is available.

It certainly is a way to get your CFI for free. If you will already have your commercial and instrument rating, I would look into what a simple CFI course would cost you so not to have to commit to 1-2 years of life at one specific place. You will have two writtens, the Fundamentals of Instruction and the CFI Written. If you add the CFII, which you should in my opinion, you can add the Instrument instruction written. Getting the MEI? No written for that one. There are some good packages out there for all three CFI's from places like ATP Aviation, etc.

Florida, as well as Arizona have been favored flight training areas due to their average annual weather, where there are a high percentage of flyable days. Makes a big difference when you train or get paid by the hour.

In the 60s, I went to Aerospace Technological Institute, formally Campbell Aviation, which then became the Flight Arm of Florida Institute of Technology. I was offered 300 hours of Free Flight in a Beech D-18. I signed up, got checked out and then flew 300 hours of night time mail delivery around Florida, mostly solo and regardless of the weather. Worse yet, I had to load mail and unload it.

Would I do it again? Hell yes? I got a lot of experience and a lot of free multi time.

Good Luck - Bob

Re: CFI training programs

Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:51 am

You have so many options. The demand for CFI's is absolutely overwhelming across the country right now. If being a flight instructor is something you want to do don't give in to a free ride. The flight school down the street is paying twice as much. Do it out of your own pocket and pick through the good offers. I have two CFI friends that charge $50 an hour. It sounds like a lot of money but both are going to be old next year and can only put in 3 or 4 hours a day. They aren't as sprited and young as Bob.

Re: CFI training programs

Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:28 am

I totally agree with Klaus, if that is the way you want to go. I also charge $50.00 per hour, though I now charge $75.00 in the C-340A and have no problem getting it, but that is really well under what many other instructors get, I.E. Ski, Tennis, Scuba, Golf etc. Most charge $75.00 to $100.00 in this neck of the woods. If you work for an FBO though, expect them to take part of it, so you may net $40.00. Again, weather is one of the factors that will determine how much you can really make, though now a days with the level of sophistication that some simulators have, you can make billable time lost from weather in the simulator.

In the late 80s I owned and ran a Multi-Engine Training School in the suburbs of Chicago (I was there part time as I had a real job). I had three Duchess's, two C-310s (one Turbo), a C-421 and a Sweringer Metro Liner. So basic Multi through Turbo Prop / High Altitude / Pressurized. Chicago can have some nasty weather. So, I bought a Frasca Multi Simulator. At $80,000 this advanced model cost more than all but the 421 and the Metro Liner, but it made me and all my CFMEIs very happy. Much of our Part 141 Multi-Package could be practiced on the ground when the snow was coming down in blizzard conditions. To get instructors, I gave them free time to get their ratings, though I did not make them sign a contract. I did allow them to rent for personal use at cost, which helped them build more real Multi-PIC time so I did not have a huge turn over.

Still, most of these full time CFIs were only getting about 30 hours per week of billable hours.

In any case, good luck with your decision. By the way, while you are doing your commercial and instrument, if you haven't done it yet, get some spins in. Both the left and right and you will have that part covered. Might want to get a little right seat time if you have not done much as reacting to a student from the right seat will be a little different at first. When I took my MEI ride, the examiner had me sit in the left seat. I was amazed that he did that. The advantage was that I got to easily see all the instrumentation, which depending on what you teach in, can be more of a challenge from the right seat.

On another note, though you can build a lot of time doing this, it is no where near as much fun as the kind of flying that Glenn does and back when I flew Part 121, we had fun, which is not the case anymore.

Cheers, Bob

Re: CFI training programs

Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:37 am

Thanks for the feedback so far... I really appreciate getting your opinions and advice.

I definitely agree with the opinions that I might could get more fun/enjoyable flying by just doing it myself and then trying to find a job in a better location, or flying part 61 which I think I would enjoy more than the 141 schools training others to head to the airlines. My biggest concern about that is basically money and job security. To do this I'll be basically moving from Germany to wherever I might happen to go in the US, spending money on finishing up my instrument, commercial, and in that case, CFI ratings, on my own dime (I'm estimating that will take at least a month to accomplish, and that's probably a very optimistic outlook) and then at the end of that time starting the job search process, which with probably between 250 - 300 hours may not be easy to get solid work right from the start.

Am I right in thinking this or is the CFI shortage so short right now that I won't have the troubles I'm thinking?

Also, I'm currently working as a teacher and our school year ends at the end of June. If I had an offer for a full time position after training then I would be able to leave earlier than that but if I'm just doing it on my own I would probably have to wait until school finishes up. I'm assuming that getting started at the end of June might have a negative impact on my job opportunities as opposed to looking now and being ready to instruct during the summer months?

Re: CFI training programs

Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:14 am

I can not speak for the West Coast, but in this area of the East Coast, I do not see a shortage of flight instructors, what I see are two issues:
1. - The biggest is there is a shortage of Pilot Starts - No new pilots, no primary training to speak of.
2. - There is a turn over of flight instructors hence why the place your talking to what the committed time since most of the CFIs I believe they see, are off to the airlines as soon as possible.

My experience has been that most of the schools in the south hire their CFI graduates so they can build time on their resume's. So you will be competing there with recent school graduates at the bigger schools.

For some operators, just having the Certificate is not enough either and you will need to show that you have the knowledge, the experience and can teach that to others. Its akin to the CFI that gets he SES rating and legally then can teach it. Just like when I got me MEI I then got a lot more legally not required instruction in how to really teach those things.

Totally get the money issue. Just keep your eyes wide open before signing on the dotted line.


Re: CFI training programs

Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:05 am

Chris, When you get back State-Side, where will you be living and how much time do you still need for the Commercial and Instrument?


Re: CFI training programs

Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:36 am

Bob, it's actually completely unknown right now. That's kind of what I'm trying to decide so that where I move to can be where I might could start flying as soon as possible. I have family in North Carolina that I could stay with while doing my training, but I am certainly willing and happy to go wherever the flight opportunities are.

The actual time may vary but when I was doing my previous training I picked up the flight maneuvers pretty quickly and already have experience doing most, if not all of the tasks for the commercial and instrument check-rides, so it will simply be a case of refreshing my skills and getting familiar with the airplanes/locations. I'm hoping I can get both finished up in the 17-ish hours I still need to reach that magical 250 mark but may need to go over that by a bit.

Re: CFI training programs

Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:47 am

I spend a lot of time in North Carolina now that my daughter moved there (and took my grand daughter with her ! :( ) When I did my Commercial it was the other way around. 160 for the commercial and 250 for the instrument. You could do a few things in those days with a commercial and no instrument rating. Then the Instrument rating got dropped to 125 and finally no minimum time as long as you have the private and the 40 hours required for the instrument rating, which in my opinion should have always been the way. Keep us informed as to when and were you might land.


Re: CFI training programs

Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:06 pm

Just did a search for Flight Instructor jobs and there's hundreds advertised across the country. I would recommend doing a flight school search around your families area. Contact the schools and get their offer. I'll bet that every flight school you contact will give you an offer. Let me know if there's one that's not looking for Instructors.

The first season as a Flight Instructor will not pay very good so having a cheap room will help out. Once you get established as an Instructor you'll get recommendations and the money continues to get better. Even the busiest flight school will give you a slow start. You already know as a teacher that it takes a little experience before you have your teaching technique mastered. You do have a really big head start with a teaching education and experience.

Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:19 am

^^what he said^^

Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:27 am

The places on Long Island that are looking for instructors are looking for them since they can not hold any as there is not enough pilot training to provide anything but part time money. I instruct out here, but manly for flight reviews, Instrument Proficiencies etc. as there are licensed pilots but very few new student starts. I am doing some part time multi-engine instruction for a guy with a Duchess, manly because I have so many hours in BE-76s, which his insurance requires.


Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:45 pm

The larger 141 flight schools are having trouble with recruiting students and even tougher time keeping them to the end. My Instructor friends doing part 61 out of their tee-hangar are having much better success. I'm helping with the local Instructor's two aircraft and he just did 50 hours in January and another 50 in February. You know this far north has short days and lots of unpredictable weather. Normally, Thanksgiving to Easter is written off around here for flying. Once an Instructor gets a name for themselves the students stand in line waiting for another to finish up.

It's all about having a reputation of finishing students in the shortest time.

Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:56 pm

What Klaus says is completely correct. I have flown with timebuilder CFI's for $25.00/ hour and with career instructors who charged in excess of $95/hour. One thing that wasn't mentioned is that many 141's pick up tons of foreign students. Once you've taught a group of Italians, Indians or people from China, you may find your pay not matching your effort, quickly.

Generally, if you work for a specialized flight school (tailwheel, floats, mountains, upset recovery, aerobatics) you end up with more of those students who have been through the "quote" wringer and have lost enough time and money on wannabe's.

Having an instructor on staff that works the student to obtain ratings within +10% of quoted price (which is NEVER based on minimum hours and includes absolutely everything) you are generally well regarded.

We used to laugh at the flightschool down the road and told students who stomped out to spend less money elsewhere, to come see us when the planned budget was getting closer, with no hunch of a checkride in view.

There are books out there who deal with the topic of being a successful CFI and leaving the academies and time builders in the dust.

The first year or so is going to be tough. Its well possible that you won't enjoy flying with apex predator type personalities or Type A egomaniacs who have something to prove. Select your flight school based on first attempt pass rate (local FSDO's often know) and best case, if you plan to get your CFI, select a flight school that has the highest initial CFI pass rate.

There is lots of talk about DPE prices which, depending on FSDO can cost up to 1000.00 for the initial CFI Oral Exam & Checkride. So, don't let anyone convince you to avoid the checkride with the FSDO. Its free. Well prepared candidates pass their checkrides, those who fall short, re-train weak areas and pass it then.

As said on the phone, as a low time pilot (<750 hours) your first goal ought to be to get JUST those certificates which make you employable.

In most cases, thats your Instrument/ Commercial and CFI. I made the mistake of investing into my MEL and SES, rather than finishing my CFI. That brought me to SPA and it went freaking downhill from there. By the time I wanted to get my CFI finished, life had happened and money got tight. I ended up with some 200 hours of twin time, but that was a lucky draw. By the time I departed SPA I was seriously thinking about walking off stage completely. These time and passion thiefs had burned me out and down to the foundation. Our founding members here kept me thinking about staying in and kept me motivated enough to keep working.

Take your time learning how to instruct and teach + pass your students and things will be fine. Take a single shortcut or try to cut cookies and things will be wasted time and effort quickly.

Any charter/ non TSA/ or float- outfit will appreciate someone with passion and skill and you've already made a name in at least the seaplane industry with your writing. Even though you have bad Bakers on your resume, people like you and appreciate your articles and way of looking at things.

Unlike me, you will find good opportunities offered if you put your best foot forward and stay out of enemy sights by steering clear of the political powerhouses, association figureheads and manipulators out there.

Seaplanemag probably gave you some good first hand insight at what goes on behind the glorious curtain, candle and light show, that everyone else watches.

Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:19 pm

I agree about taking the initial ride with a FSDO, though you can get the ride through a Designated Examiner, if the FSDOs are backed up. Around here they charge $300.00 for the initial. Renewal is a snap. Show your log book if you have enough sign offs and a 80% pass rate or take the two year renewal course. I have done well over 100 Multi Engine Ratings and had a 100% pass rate until one wise you know what, pushed me to sign him off, which I should never had done. Blew the ride in the first 10 minutes and ruined my pass rate, but he was the only one and the local FSBO has been great for me.


Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:26 pm

Best book you will ever buy on being a good and well paid flight instructor. Indispensable book, unless you already walk on water... ... P3446.aspx

Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:37 pm

I have a number of instructor tutorials, but never read this one. I will have to get it.


Re: CFI training programs

Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:42 pm

Tell ASA I ( sent you...
I've done everything aviation with them and never failed a test or checkride.

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