Flight training involves teaching people how to control an aircraft and navigate, as a single pilot or as part of a crew. People who teach others to fly, from scratch, are referred to as a Flight Instructor.
How do you become a Flight Instructor?
To become a Flight Instructor (FI) you will need to have completed your Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) first and have passed some of the commercial licence theory exams.
You will also need to build a certain number of flying hours too. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be required to pass an ‘FI’ course involving both theoretical and practical components, before being able to teach students. The flight instructor course involves focusing on teaching and learning style, plus practical flying where your instructor plays the role of student.
FI’s take students through a pre-defined course, dependant on the type of licence the student is looking to achieve. There will be a certain number of practical lessons to complete alongside ‘ground school’ theory, and the student will need to pass several theoretical exams before their final flight test with a Flight Examiner (FE).
Where does it happen?
Flight schools operate anywhere from a small farm strip to a large international airport.
A flight school may be very small with just one flight instructor, or a large-scale school with multiple FI’s. The CAA web site has useful information on finding a GA flight school.
Where can you go with this career?
- Deputy or head of training; managing other flight instructors and helping run the school.
- Ground examiner; invigilating the written exams that need to be taken before gaining a pilot’s licence.
- Manage a flight school.
- FI instructor: teach qualified pilots to become flight instructors.
- FI examiner: examine prospective flight instructors once they have completed their course.
- Move on to complete your multi engine, instrument, or tailwheel ratings and expand the different aircraft you can instruct on.
Good to know…
- To become a Flight Instructor you don’t need a full commercial licence but you do need to have your PPL, the commercial flight exams and Flight Instructor course completed.
- Flight instruction is flexible, most are self-employed and can choose their own hours.
- In the UK flight instruction for the Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL), or similar licences, are weather dependent.
- You can instruct people in their own aircraft. This means you get the chance to fly lots of different types of aircraft and gain more experience.