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Choosing Your Flight Instructors

Choosing Your Flight InstructorsFlight instructors are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, to give flight and ground training to pilots. Certified flight instructors, commonly known in the aviation industry as CFIs, are employed by many institutions including aviation colleges, flight schools and flight training centers.

Certified Flight Instructors, or CFIs, teach students how to fly an airplane. CFIs offer instruction on private piloting, instrument and commercial training and ground instruction. They also perform FAA-regulated flight check outs and proficiency checks. Depending upon the level of training, a CFI can teach either single- or multi-engine courses as well.

A good flight instructor is important because your life will depend on what he or she teaches you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the training and experience of the flight instructors. You might ask what the average flight time is and what the pass/fail rate is among the instructors. (A pass rate of 100 percent doesn’t indicate good instruction.) You might also talk to some of the other students at the school to ask about their flight instructors.
Your primary instructor should be at least a certificated flight instructor (CFI). Ensure that your instrument instructor has an instrument instructor rating (CFII). Instrument training received from a non-rated instructor can cause problems when it comes to meeting FAA requirements.

A good way to get acquainted with your instructor is to take an introductory lesson (not just a demonstration ride). During your lesson, assess your instructor’s attitude. Only you can determine what personality best fits yours, but you want an instructor who expects perfection, who will work with you until it’s achieved, and who cares about you as a person as well as a student.

Compatibility of Your Flight Instructor

What questions should you ask to assess the compatibility of a flight instructor, and how can you switch instructors gracefully if yours isn’t a good fit?

Max Trescott , 2008 National Flight Instructor of the Year, recommends the following”

The most important questions to ask when choosing an instructor are not the ones you ask the instructor; they’re the ones you ask yourself after an introductory meeting or demo flight with a potential instructor.
First ask “Will I enjoy spending time with this person?”

Second, ask yourself “Do I trust this person?” We need to trust that our flight instructors will always keep us safe during the training. We also need to believe that they are knowledgeable and know what they are doing, something we can determine by questioning them and others. We also need to trust that they will always put our needs above their own self-interest.

If the answer to these first two questions is yes, you’ve probably already answered the last question, which is “Can I form a productive working relationship with this person?” If the answer to any of these three questions is no, find another instructor. By the way, a savvy instructor is also asking himself or herself these same questions about you!

There are dozens of reasons why particular CFIs may not be a good fit for you. You don’t need to give them a reason; just tell them that you think you have found a better fit at this time and that you’ll let them know if that turns out not to be the case.

Finding a certified flight instructor (CFI) that is a good fit for your training needs is important for your flying success — both short-term and long-term. Research indicates almost 80 percent of all starting students fail to finish — many due to instructor issues.

Speaking of research, it is important that you do your homework in selecting a CFI. A good place to start is the Web. SAFE (safepilots.org) and NAFI (nafinet.org) — the two prominent flight instructor associations — have CFI programs that list the best of the best flight instructors across the country. You might also check the FAA’s FSDO website for your area and contact a designated pilot examiner for an instructor referral — after all, they see the results.

If you are considering a flight school, interview several instructors who work there. Ask for a copy of their resumes and their primary training focus? Ask for a copy of the instructor’s training syllabus if the instructor is teaching under Part 61, or the flight school syllabus if Part 141 rules are used. Ask the instructor for a list of referrals. Follow up with those former students. If the instructor is younger, you might inquire as to his or her career goals. If there are airline aspirations, you might find yourself without an instructor when he or she gets hired. That’s fine if there is a transition plan to get you to a new instructor.

If you are at a flight school, address it with the chief flight instructor. If you are training outside of a school, give one of the other instructors you interviewed a call and get together for a lesson. Safe flying!

Flight Instructors at Aviator Flight School
Pierre Lavial, Chief Pilot and Director of Education

Mr. Lavial trained as a pilot in the French Naval Academy. He oversees all flight training as the Chief Pilot for Aviator College. He handles all licensure and compliance requirements with the Federal Aviation Administration, and he oversees the development and currency of all flight training course syllabi, along with standardization and training of instructors. His guidance and impact on the school and the students is tremendous.

Nathan Zoeller, Chief Pilot for Private

Mr. Zoeller earned his CFI ratings in 2008 and began his instructional career with Sky Warrior, Inc. focusing on 141 PPL and IRA ratings. He also conducted introductory flight screening for the NAVY, Marines and Coast Guard. He came to Aviator College in March of 2011 as a check airman and since then has been approved by the FAA and appointed as a Chief Pilot. With about 3,000 flight hours Aviator College is pleased to have Mr. Zoeller serving as the Chief Pilot for Private ratings.

Haskell Pryor, CRJ Simulator and Career Planning Instructor

Mr. Pryor came to Aviator College after more than 20 years and 11,000 hours of flying. He has flown with various types of companies and departed as an airline captain. Having flown as a CRJ 700 captain, he is uniquely qualified for the position of teaching Jet Transition, crew resource management and the CRJ simulator.

Aviator Faculty & Instructors

Faculty and Flight Training Instructors are hired directly from the ranks of our graduating student population and have more than 200 hours of multi-engine flight time. The Faculty at Aviator College hold a minimum of a Bachelors Degree and teach all flight training, classroom based courses. The Academy Flight Instructors are hired directly from the ranks of Aviator graduates. The Flight Training Instructors work one-on-one with their students in the air.
Students often complete the entire program with the same Flight Training Instructor, which allows them to find a comfortable relationship and learn faster. Flight Training Instructors are available to fly with students 24 hours-a-day, rain or shine. We encourage our Flight Training Instructors to provide actual instrument flight time with their students whenever possible to gain real-world experience. Our Flight Training Instructors continue to grow in their skills while flying in the high density traffic operations of Florida’s airspace.

To speak with an instructor contact the Aviator College at 772-672-8222 or toll free 800-632-9032

Our instructors have more than 200 hours of multi-engine time before they begin instructing. Our instructors have been hired by the regional airlines starting at 500-1000 hours total time. To-date, none of our instructors hired by the regional airlines have failed to pass indoctrination and initial training.

Distributed by Viestly

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