Thursday, February 9, 2012

What do you look for in a CFI?

During the course of my travels I often think back to what I had to do to get in my current seat. Flying across the Atlantic to destinations far and wide wasn't my first flying job, and it may not be my last. I've had the opportunity to fly all kinds of aircraft - from small Cessnas to large Boeings.

I also instructed for about 2,000 hours.

While some pilots have instructed more, others less, one thing is a common denominator - some instructors are great while others barely make the grade! I haven't personally instructed in many years but I still keep my CFI current in case I need it again; indeed, it's a lot easier to keep it current than it is to get the rating again!

Many pilots at my airline who work in the training department keep their CFIs current as well. For those pilots who like to teach I think it is a natural gravitation to end up in the training department of an airline. After all, an airplane is an airplane and the student's learning is influenced mostly by their instructor's ability to convey key learning points (and the student showing up prepared).

For those of you learning to fly, or perhaps you seasoned pilots out there who only get your biennial flight review, what is it that you look for in an instructor?


  1. Still going my training here in the US under the JAA/EASA system.

    Both instructors I have had are originally FAA and have now completed their JAA conversions. Both have been fantastic.

    I think it's good for both to be able to utilise their expertise and encompass the pros from both the American and European systems - without doubt the two most thorough and trusted authorities in the business.

  2. I've often wondered how the JAA versus FAA version of doing things affects training. I have no experience with the JAA but from what I've heard the academic portion is much more complex than it is over here (multiple tests, no test booklets, etc).

    Is it difficult to transition to JAA if you already have your FAA certs?

  3. Between both General Aviation and Naval Aviation, I've had my fair share of instructors. My favorites were always the level headed, calm and relaxed type. The ones that could portray urgency without raising their voice.

    I learned the most from the kind that would let me make my own mistakes and kept debriefs, brief - hey, I was in the cockpit too, we don't have to talk about every radio call.

    Those were probably the greatest characteristics that stood out from my favorite instructors. They were ultimately the kind that I enjoyed flying with and that always gave my a bag full of new tricks and techniques to walk away with.