Military IP transition to CFI?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Tom Nunamaker, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Tom Nunamaker

    Tom Nunamaker Filing Flight Plan

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    I was a T-37, T-38 and KC-135R instructor pilot in the Air Force. I am studying for the Military Competence Instructor exam to have CFI added to my ticket.

    Since I've never done civilian instructing, I was wondering if anyone else has done this and has any advice.
     
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  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    No direct advice. Just a welcome to PoA and thanks for your service!
     
  3. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    I'd say that almost the #1 thing that you will need to understand and fully appreciate, is that there is no selection process for civilian student pilots. Unlike in the military, where all flight students have been competitively selected, are young, are college graduates, are motivated, are in good physical shape, and have proven through testing to have some aptitude for flight, none of that exists in the civilian world. Anyone who can afford it can try to learn to fly.

    Additionally, they're generally not going to be living and breathing flight training all day every day like you did in UPT. They'll take a lesson or two per week and their attention will be occupied with family, bills, the water leak, the A/C going out, etc. They may or may not study for the lessons. They may or may not care if it takes longer than expected - just a million different variables.

    I'm just trying to get across the point that it's a very different environment, and what works in military flight training may not work in civilian training. BUT, since they are paying the bills, you as the CFI will need to figure out a way to make it work - that's your job! (And it's a fun one.)
     
  4. Tom Nunamaker

    Tom Nunamaker Filing Flight Plan

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    I did my private and instrument before I joined the military and had about 250 hours of Piper and Cessna time. Flying at the local military aero club recently (after a 16-year break) brought back a lot of good memories. That's a great point about the student differences between military and civilian. I'm looking forward to doing some instructing again as the instructor tours (particularly UPT) were my favorites in my 20-year career.
     
  5. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Get a part time job with a relatively active local flight school (the aero club might suffice). At the very least look over their lesson plans and ask them questions, I found mine to be quite willing to help with the transition.
     
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  6. Tom Nunamaker

    Tom Nunamaker Filing Flight Plan

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    I'll definitely do that after I pass the exam. The local military aero club has a huge list of people looking for an instructor so I know they need more CFIs.
     
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  7. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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  8. falconkidding

    falconkidding Line Up and Wait

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    I'll second the idea that the student quality will probably suck compared to the mil guys. I taught navy IFS and had some civilian students had a few good civilian guys and some terrible ones. Gotta have a different mindset teaching them.
     
  9. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Pre-takeoff checklist

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    An active duty hornet pilot friend just did this. For him it was paperwork, and a visit to the fsdo.
     
  10. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    "TURN - THE - HEAT - OFF!!!"
     
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  11. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I made the switchover about 10 years ago and it was surprisingly more challenging than I expected it to be. There are both functional and cultural differences that you're going to need to learn and adapt to.

    Quite frankly, there is a *huge* amount of learning to do about the administrative mechanics of teaching students to fly before you actually get out there and do it....and the Mil-Comp CFI test won't teach you everything you need to know. From verifying student citizenship, to your own logbook and recordkeeping, to (especially) testing and logbook endorsements for your students, there is a lot you are going to be responsible for knowing that your military experience and the mil-comp studying/testing process isn't going to teach you. I highly recommend you find an active CFI to mentor you while you are just starting out to learn this stuff. This was the biggest stumbling block for me that I wasn't really aware of in the beginning.

    As referenced above, your students aren't going to be carefully selected military officers and you're not instructing as part of a formal training program (even at a 141 school). They are going to have different motivations for wanting to be there, and you are going to have to use differing instructional techniques to help them actually learn. There is going to be a much wider range of preparation, skill, and knowledge that students will have for every flight -- compared to mil students, civilian students are expecting you to hand-feed them a lot more than your UPT students who are structurally expected to have a higher knowledge/preparation level. They're not bad students...there's just a general difference in expectations in the civilian flight training world that if you haven't experienced you might be surprised at.

    What I found most surprising was that the instructional style that was standard in the military (where if tasks were performed correctly we didn't really spend time to talk about them, and instead the time was spent identifying errors, isolating root causes, and fixing those) was not well received. Civ students needed a lot more positive verbal reinforcement both in flight and in debriefs.

    That being said, teaching for fun is more entertaining to me than it was teaching in a formal training environment where students were under a lot more stress and had a lot more "on the line" with each grade on each flight.
     
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  12. Low Level Flyer

    Low Level Flyer Filing Flight Plan

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    ^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^ Several posts have addressed the difference in students. But this paragraph needs to be emphasized too. You will most likely be unfamiliar with the administrative side of being a CFI. The advice to find a mentor is spot on. Find an experienced CFI that has trained many students for different ratings and can mentor you and help you learn these requirements.
     
  13. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    If the FSDO is closed for COVID, your local DPE's may be able to process the paperwork too.