Getting CFI without formal course

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by ebykowsky, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    Hi all,

    I'm interested in getting my CFI (as a challenge, for better future insurance rates once I buy, and just to have the rating), but don't have time to do a live / in-person CFI course. Does anyone have thoughts on:
    1) What are the best, most comprehensive online CFI courses out there, which don't require in-person or scheduled ground school?
    2) Roughly how many hours would you budget to get the rating? (ground study & flight time)
    3) Any other guidance on going about this self-study?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Arob16

    Arob16 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did mine more or less informally at a local flight school. Regardless of which approach to take, it’s a very comprehensive process and rating. I leaned heavily on ‘Backseat Pilot’ material (https://thebackseatpilot.com/). Although they provide lesson plan formats, the material is very comprehensive as a study guide. The budgeted hours is really dependent on where you’re currently at. I was flying very little (maybe 20 hrs per year) when I got mine, so I took awhile. 2-3 months and a bunch of flying for me… maybe 10ish hours of dual time when I was ready to be examined. For me though, the ground study time far exceeded the flying. It’s like you’ve got to know everything! I would just make it organized… make time to tab out and study sections of all the FAA handbooks, FAR/AIM, etc. Then identify weak points and go back through those areas.

    if you wanted to take a longer route (I kinda did this also), get your ground instructor rating and start teaching ground schools. You’d be amazed how much you learn in the process of teaching others. This will greatly help you prepare for CFI oral.
     
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  3. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    The accelerated flight instructor courses offered by various flight schools don’t do anything magic. In your case, I’d suggest finding the instructor you plan to work with to accomplish your goal and have them help you formulate a plan to get it done.

    How long it takes you and how hard you have to work at it really depends on the individual and how solid your knowledge base is going into the training. Other than the FOI, there really isn’t any new material introduced but you are expected to know and be able to effectively teach the material you should have already learned.
     
  4. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    My instructor ratings did not drop my insurance rates.

    I would have spent about 10X the time trying to do my CFI unstructured. People do it and are successful at it, but I saw how long they spent and decided the 2 week "live the material" route was more time-efficient for me.

    Good luck. :)
     
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  5. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    For the "ground" portion of CFI training, I don't see how you could do it online, because the purpose is not to learn, but to teach. A typical ground session with my CFI started with him saying "OK, teach me all about <X>" and he'd scrutinize my teaching. This is the same thing the DPE will do to you for the checkride. I don't see how that can be done in an online course.

    The written: yes, you could easily study for that without taking a course. It's mostly stuff you should already know as a PP and then CP. I just bought a Gleim book and studied the heck out of it. (I'm not sure whether this was your question or not.)

    I took about 2 months and 25-ish hours.
     
  6. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Q. What is your knowledge level today?
     
  7. Htaylor

    Htaylor Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Exactly what i did. The guy I worked with had done a fair number of CFI students and had a very good syllabus for getting it all completed.
     
  8. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    Knowledge level today:
    + Commercial pilot (just got rating, scored very well on written) with 9yrs flying experience, 280hrs
    + Feel like I understand and could teach all of the 'base' private pilot knowledge, but know there's plenty of stuff I don't know, especially as it pertains to specific detailed regulations and aircraft systems
    + Don't do this for a living, don't plan on it. Have an intense job, so thinking about flying is (mostly) limited to weekend warrior
    + I'm the kind of person who really likes to fully understand things to learn them... so the things I do know, I know them well

    A bit difficult to explain my level of knowledge though--highly subjective
     
  9. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    Did you really get it done with a 2 week course? That sounds very quick... I like it. As for insurance, my girlfriend is also a pilot, so I can give instruction to her in the aircraft and have both of us log PIC with her getting a lot of dual. Hoping this will help her build hours more quickly and result in lower rates
     
  10. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Objectively: Your flying experience is minimal. 280 hours /108 months is really low. The lowest time commercial pilots entering CFI training have your hours in 18 months.

    While you may have studied well for the commercial, nothing you have posted suggests you have studied to the scope and depth required for the CFI.

    You don’t have to be super pilot to be a CFI, but you have grossly under estimated the study, knowledge and flight proficiency required.
     
  11. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    #1 - The comercial certificate is not a rating.

    I truly have no idea why that bothers me. I guess it’s just a pet peeve.
     
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  12. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    ATP. They mailed me a box of materials, and I was to show up with writtens done, lesson plans made, and aircraft operating procedures memorized. 2 weeks was the flying, ground cram, checkride prep, and ride. Yeah, that bit was 2 weeks. A month of prep preceded, but at my own time and it was not a fulltime drain. Sort of like taking night school for a month before showing up for 2 weeks of boot camp. :)

    It was nice for a lot of reasons, mainly, they had their examiners dialed in, so there were few surprises. There is a certain efficiency to be gained at the "pilot mills".
     
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  13. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    If you are not going to do the 2 week cram course, then I second basically what @Arob16 said.

    Get BackSeat pilot or the equivalent. Go through each lesson and study needed background. Modify these to your style. Print and organize these in some binders. Have the big binders available containing each lesson.

    Then practice teaching some of these with an instructor. For each lesson you must cover each one of the points in the corresponding ACS / PTS which these lesson plans will help you do.

    On the flying part, based on your experience level, you may well need to really tighten up your landings and maneuvers. These need to be consistently spot on if you are going to be able to teach them.

    I also did the written FOI, studying from Dauntless, passed that and first became an AGI. Teaching ground also helps you master those parts, as noted by @kath.
     
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  14. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    I haven’t “grossly underestimated” anything. I’m coming here asking for genuine advice on what it would take to achieve the certification given my level of proficiency. If it’s ‘a year of study on the weekends plus 100 more hours’ then so be it (although I really don’t think it is)

    I’m also explicitly stating that I have not studied to the depth yet to become a CFI. That’s the entire point of the question.

    I also believe that being a good CFI is as much about flying as it is about being encouraging, supportive, motivating, listening to and respecting others, and helping explain things to others in a way that enables them to easily understand complex topics. Traits that don’t come as intuitively for some folks
     
  15. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    Great advice. How much was the course approximately?
     
  16. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    Awesome—thank you for the advice! And good point on landings and maneuvers. I’ll get the ACS standards and see what I need to nail.

    Will also check out backseat pilot
     
  17. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Good posts. I never realized there was a speedy way to do this, like the instrument rating.
     
  18. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I think I sort of did it without much formal training. That was back when ONLY the feds could do it. It was long, but different than today.
    My last renewal expired in 1996. I want NOTHING to do with the CFI certificate at this point. Seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
     
  19. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    was 2010 -- I recall 7 grand with an option to double the multi time -- which i think made it 9 grand? probably double or more nowadays :)
     
  20. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    Did you know you can both log PIC time together without being an instructor? She wears a view limiting device and you act as safety pilot and agree to be PIC. Both log PIC flight time.
     
  21. ebykowsky

    ebykowsky Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yeah. But wearing a blindfold decidedly diminishes the joy of flying :)

    we will def do this when she gets instrument
     
  22. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    You can always take turns and have her act as safety pilot for you to keep your instrument currency.

    By the way, do your flight instructor-instrument airplane first and practice flying under the hood from the right seat with her as your safety pilot.

    For her, It''s also good practice (provided she's developed and maintained a proper instrument scan) even before she gets her instrument rating (although proper instrument training is recommended if you're planning on practicing IFR procedures).
     
  23. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member

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    I didn't do a formal course. Sat down with an instructor and came up with a game plan, then spent most of the time on my own working on lesson plans and practiced teaching, teaching, and more teaching. It's a skill like anything else and there's no substitute for getting in the reps. The good news is that the vast majority of it can be done without the prop spinning, and it also doubles as a great way to really nail down the knowledge part. Doing it at a mill is likely more efficient, but I did mine with a pretty minimal amount of dual received and was just fine.
     
  24. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I did this on my own without any "course". The two areas that I needed help with is flying from the right seat, and teaching and flying at the same time. Instead of relying on an instructor telling me what to do, I would make my own plan and then find an instructor to fly with me from the left seat and give me pointers. I had experience in the educational system so teaching was not an issue. The FAA's FOI is useless information, but you still need to learn it and pass the written. There is a lot of important stuff to learn, such as being very familiar with the FAR, AIM, ACS, Advisory Circulars, and aircraft systems. You need to know this stuff as the expert who holds the knowledge, and not just as a pilot. Flying backseat during someone else's instructional flight is a useful experience. Accelerated courses are fine, but remember what you learn fast also disappears fast. Unless you plan on flying as a full time instructor immediately after the checkride, I would recommend the slower self-paced approach to make sure knowledge is retained.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  25. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    I did the self study/taught as well. Don’t remember the specific study material as it was 21 years ago. I just flew a bunch from the right seat by myself till I was comfy with the maneuvers/sight picture and did a few flights with my CFI to get signed off.

    You can do the majority of it on your own. A CFI friend gave me a binder of his lesson plans and I got familiar enough to teach whichever lesson the examiner asked for. It was a long day but I passed.

    Good luck on knocking it out!
     
  26. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    The CFI certificate is primarily about knowledge. It requires considerable study and honestly with the experience you listed you are over rating your flying skills. Don’t worry though, about everyone under estimates the difficulty of the certificate and over estimates their skill and knowledge.
     
  27. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    I can point you to a free course. The course consists of Airplane Flying Handbook, the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, the AIM, FARs, and the appropriate PTSes and ACSes and references listed therein.

    Flight time, if you are proficient with commercial maneuvers and flying to commercial standards, 10-15 hours. Double that number if you aren't. Ground time depends on your current knowledge level.

    See my answer to #1. It helps if you actually know how to study...if you don't, then it's time to learn. Hint...watching YouTube is not studying.
     
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