To earn a private pilot certificate you need to be taught by an FAA-certified flight instructor (CFI) who has training and experience on the type of aircraft being used for instruction.
That makes sense.
An independent flight instructor is one who is available for hire outside of a flight school.
The instructor might also work under contract to a school, work as a commercial pilot as well, or have some other type of job.
The point is that the flight instructor can be hired by anyone who wants to learn to fly.
Who Are Instructors?
Many are aviation “undergraduates.”
They are working toward their own commercial or airline transport-pilot (ATP) certificates and need more flying time for their pilot log.
Just as some college undergraduates teach college courses, undergraduate flight instructors teach flying in order to learn more about it.
Don’t worry, they are well qualified and certified.
However, not all are as focused on training top pilots as are most who make a career of flight instruction.
You can find independent flight instructors through pilot friends, fixed-base operators (FBOs) who run airports and sell service, or on airport bulletin boards.
Why Choose an Independent Flight Instructor?
Because there are no local flight schools, there are no other training opportunities for private pilots, or because your flying schedule requires someone who is independent from a formal school.
If available, look for Gold Seal flight instructors.
A Gold Seal instructor is one who has recommended at least 10 students for practical tests within the last 24 months and at least 80 percent of them have passed their practical test the first time.
There are other requirements, too, all telling you that the instructor is serious about teaching flying.
One more point about independent flight instruction: It can be your best option if you have unique circumstances.
For example, if you don’t have an aircraft of your own you sometimes can train in the instructor’s aircraft.
There are even gypsy flight instructors who will fly to your location for intensive training in their aircraft.
An independent instructor might be practical if you don’t live near a flight school or you are looking for non-standard training such as mountain flying or floatplane flying.
In addition, independent instructors are typically less expensive than hiring a flight school.
How Much Will the Instructor Charge for Flight Instruction?
Less than a plumber.
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"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide