Flight Instructor

Flight Instructor

Many pilots, especially those who want to be paid to fly, become instructors. You can be an FAA certified flight instructor (CFI) by passing additional knowledge and flight tests, then use your job to "build air time" toward higher certificates and ratings.

CFR-61, Subpart H, covers the requirements for becoming a flight instructor for various types of certificates and ratings. For example, you can be an instructor for the sport-pilot certificate but not for training private or commercial pilots. In other words, a person licensed as a sport pilot may instruct sport pilots only. The flight-instructor certificate is not a pilot license but is an addition to the license already you hold.

Like commercial pilots, flight instructors get paid to fly. However, not everyone who loves to fly is an effective teacher. If you have the desire to teach others this can be a very rewarding career that you can do full-time or even part-time. Many excellent flight instructors do it because they truly enjoy and are good at teaching flying basics. They have no aspirations to fly passenger jets to San Francisco or freight to Bangkok.

In addition, popular independent flight instructors can earn a very good primary or supplemental income by offering their services through local airports or fixed-base operators (FBOs). An independent flight instructor can make a thousand dollars a month in extra cash working weekends only.

In addition to earning a pilot certificate, an instructor needs an additional FAA certificate that authorizes him or her to teach others how to fly. This certificate requires a specific number of hours as the pilot-in-command of that type of aircraft as well as additional training. There are courses for instructors just as there are for students.

If you're interested in a career as a flight instructor, ask your instructor for additional information and advice. Most will be glad to share career info with you just as they've shared their knowledge and love of flying.