Picking the Right CFI for You
Ok. This is it. The BIG day. The day that you have decided to begin your flight training. Congratulations! You have everything lined out. Except one very important thing is missing- a flight instructor! We all need a CFI to teach us!
So how do you go about picking, not just any old CFI, but the right CFI for you?
Don’t be afraid to shop around. Don’t just go to the first CFI or flight school you find and give them your money. Take the extra time to reach out and talk to a few. Call them and talk on the phone. Go meet them in person. Take a flight with a CFI, and then take another flight with another CFI.
Remember – you are interviewing them. You want to hire them. Not the other way around.
You want to find someone who works well with your personality. Someone you will be more than happy to spend 40+ hours with confined in a space half the size of the inside of a Honda Civic.
Obviously they need to have the proper qualifications, and while qualifications are good, there comes a point, just like when we talked about not getting more airplane than you really need, where you could be getting more instructor than you need.
What do I mean by that? How could you be getting a teacher that is over qualified? Right now it is not unusual to see instructor rates for a private pilot certificate running between $30-$40.
But lets say you go into a place and their instructor hands you a card and you see something like: CFI, CFII, MEI, ATP – well, yeah that is great, that’s a lot of teaching certifications, and that person is probably a highly qualified instructor who is going to do a fine job teaching you to fly. But he charges $65 an hour. And lets say you only plan to get your private license, maybe an instrument rating. In that case maybe its not necessary to pay twice as much per hour for twice the instructor ratings when you could find CFI or CFII who is just as skilled, but will charge much less.
Another thing to keep in mind too is schedule. Schedule is a big one. Lets say your work schedule is 8-5 Monday through Friday. And you find a CFI who you absolutely love, but his schedule only allows him to fly between 8-5 Monday through Friday. Well, suddenly that is not a viable option anymore.
That was an obviously exaggerated scheduling example, but even on a smaller scale, lets say you can only fly on evenings and weekends, and he is able to fly maybe two evenings and Saturday mornings. That’s a lot better, and maybe that schedule will work just fine for both of you. But you have to take into consideration all of the days that things will come up. The days you have to work late, or the weather is bad, or he has to take care of the kids, or you have family in town unexpectedly. When you have a very small window of scheduling opportunity, any changes suddenly become much bigger. That’s when you have a couple of scheduling conflicts and suddenly realize you haven’t taken a lesson in a month.
Really though, whatever you decide to do and whoever you decide to fly with, whether it be a freelance CFI or a full-on flight school, the most important things are that the person you choose is safe, you feel comfortable with them, and you get along with them. Each person is going to click with a different kind of person. Don’t just take a friend’s word for it. Just because he likes his CFI doesn’t necessarily mean that the two of you will click on the same level.
Take the time to find that person. Remember, you are going to be spending hours and hours with this person and paying them thousands of your hard earned dollars. It is worth it to spend a little extra time on the front end to find that right CFI for you.
I hope you find a great teacher to help you along with your endeavors! Never give up. Never stop flying. Never stop learning. Never stop exploring.
Stay with us for more posts like this. I will be posting again about some more helpful tips that will help you save money while you fly!