The Role of The Flight Instructor


The role of the Flight Instructor has changed immensely over the years. It used to be that a Flight Instructor was merely a person whom loved to fly and had a knack or desire to teach. Today it is much different.


Today's Flight Instructor must hold at least a Commercial Pilot Certificate and an Instrument Rating. Additionally your Flight Instructor must hold a Flight Instructor Certificate with the appropriate rating or ratings on his Flight Instructor Certificate for the aircraft to be flown. As a matter of fact most Flight Instructors hold multiple ratings.


It is quite an accomplishment to successfully meet all the requirements for Flight Instructor Certificates. And that's not all. Unlike a Private Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificates expire every two years and a Flight Instructor needs to meet considerable requirements in order to keep his Flight Instructor Certificate current.


Today the FAA and common sense impose many specific requirements on Flight Instructors indicating how, in what manner and in what order a Student Pilot receives instruction. These rules are good and put much needed standards into the instruction process.


You will need your Flight Instructor's written endorsement in your log book in order to do many things among which include:


• Fly the aircraft by yourself (Solo),


• Each 90 days your Flight Instructor must re-certify you for solo flights,


• Fly the aircraft solo at night,


• Fly the aircraft solo to certain airports near the airport where you are receiving instruction,


• Fly the aircraft on each and every solo cross-country flight (to airports near the airport where you are receiving instruction which have not specifically been approved by your Flight Instructor),


• Solo flight in different types of aircraft,


• Take the FAA Knowledge Test (there are other ways to meet this requirement), and


• Take the FAA Practical Test


Many times Flight Instructors become long-term friends of their former students. This is so because over the years you will need at least a minimum of continued training that a Flight Instructor can give. At a minimum you need a Flight Review every two years. But there is so much more.


It is only prudent to get a Flight Instructor's "checkout" in aircraft you have never flown before or you haven't flown for some time.


To fly some aircraft within your Rating you will need at least a one time "checkout" and Flight Instructor endorsement. These aircraft type include,


• Complex aircraft (basically aircraft with retractable landing gear),


• High performance aircraft (with power plant over 200 horsepower),


• High altitude aircraft (aircraft capable of altitudes of over 25,000 feet), and


• Tail wheel aircraft.


You may want to seek additional ratings like an Instrument Rating or a Multi-Engine Rating, or you may want to train for another certificate like a Commercial Pilot Certificate or Airline Transport Certificate.


© SilverPilot 2014