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What Makes a Good Flight Instructor?

A certified flight instructor (CFI) plays a huge role in the success of an aspiring pilot – not only do they control whether or not you succeed in your quest to become licensed, they also are responsible for keeping you safe in potentially dangerous situations. They can also become a mentor to you as you begin your lifelong hobby. It’s crucial that the CFI you end up working with have the following qualities, so you know they are qualified, and that you’re in good hands.


Duties of a Flight Instructor

To better understand what a flight instructor does, let’s take a high-level look at some of the things they’re responsible for doing while working with you throughout your training:


  • Design and utilize training manuals, equipment, course materials and other supporting resources to provide instruction as per company policies and procedures.
  • Provide assistance as the subject matter expert and offer other relevant supporting materials to instruct students of various levels of experience, ability and background.
  • Provide expert knowledge and develop classroom materials, simulator and aircraft lessons, instructor and student guides and other training materials.
  • Develop instructional modules to include a wide range of topics such as operation procedures, aircraft systems, emergency procedures, navigation according to company processes and policies.


Of course, these are just some of the official things a CFI helps with – a good instructor will have a hand in almost all of your pilot training. Let’s explore some of these aspects and how they contribute to making a flight instructor worth working with.


Full-time Flight Instructor

First, find out whether or not your instructor does this full time as a career. If it’s just a side-gig, then they may not offer as much value as an instructor who is immersed in the job as their own career. While part-time instructors aren’t inherently bad, if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck by doing flight training sessions multiple times per week, a full-time flight instructor is recommended.


Solid Teaching Method

Teaching method is another crucial quality of a good flight instructor. It’s important that your CFI knows different teaching techniques and can apply new ways of educating students based on their individual needs. CFIs should be attentive, and able to work both one-on-one with students, as well as in a group, recognizing when a student requires special attention or a different approach altogether. They should present ideas in interesting and enjoyable ways, whether it’s a lecture about instrument ratings, a hands-on lesson about flight plans, maneuver demonstrations or anything else.  


How They Treat Their Students

Another crucial component that makes a good flight instructor is the way they treat their students. Good CFIs should always approach their students with respect, enthusiasm and encouragement. This makes it more likely that the student will both perform better and learn more. It also builds trust, which is crucial in the aviation industry. No one should ever feel discouraged from flying – least of which by a CFI – and should always believe in their capability of becoming a pilot.


Focused on Your Goals as an Aspiring Pilot

Perhaps the most important quality of a good flight instructor is their commitment to your goals with learning to fly. Whether you want to become a master at various instruments, an aerial acrobat or have always wanted to check it off the bucket list, becoming a pilot is a rewarding experience, no matter what your end goals are. Your CFI should always be focused on delivering on your desired outcomes as an aspiring pilot and helping you achieve your goals.


Other Elements that Make a Good Flight Instructor



  • Experience with multiple aircraft – It’s crucial that your CFI have experience with multiple types of aircraft to deliver comprehensive instruction, no matter which model aircraft you want to fly.



  • Experience with various flying scenarios – From high winds to thunderstorms, blizzards and more – your instructor should have experience in various flying scenarios to better prepare you in emergency scenarios. This keeps you, your passengers and people on the ground safe.


  • More than willing to answer any and all questions – Many students have a million questions as they go through the flight training process. A good CFI answers your questions, and are more than willing to help you understand anything you may find confusing.


  • Happy to provide referrals – When beginning to narrow-in on possible CFI candidates, ask to speak with some of their former students to find out more about the instructor’s training style and capabilities. This gives great insight into whether or not they’re worth working with and ultimately reassures your decision.


  • Admits when they don’t have the answer – Hubris is never a good quality of a CFI, or a pilot in general. When an instructor doesn’t have the answer, they should plainly admit it, rather than make something up or dance around the issue. If they don’t know the answer, they should find it out and get back to you, or bring in another professional aviator that can.


Finding the Right Match

Overall, choosing a flight instructor as a new student can be a daunting task, and will require some research, time and experimenting to find the perfect match for you. However, it’s crucial you put in the effort to find a good CFI. This will set you up for success throughout your training and well into your future as a private or commercial pilot.  


Looking for a good flight instructor? Get in touch with our team of CFIs at Inflight Pilot Training today! 


Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help those who’ve dreamed of flying realize their potential of becoming a pilot. We can help you realize your dream of taking flight – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.