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Teaching Our Aviators: Tips for Fellow Flight Instructors

November 01, 2020 07:30 | Anonymous

By Tajae Viaene, Chief Flight Instructor, Fargo Jet Center

Over the years, I have heard numerous reasons to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Many of those reasons arise from an interest in earning flight hours, looking for a flexible schedule to raise a family, or a desire to share the joy of aviation with new aviators. Of all these, I have yet to hear someone respond, “because it sounds like an easy job.” 

Trust me when I say, the instructors sticking around are those who find a special joy in teaching, and they understand the hard work and patience required. With the right organization and mentality, inspiring others to earn their wings can be an immensely rewarding career. As I have been instructing for years now, I want to share a few tips for my fellow flight instructors. 

Tip #1: Treat every sunset as if it is your first

I cannot count how many beautiful sunsets I have seen over the years while teaching in the air. That being said, I still enthusiastically perk up and try to take the next best picture of the stunning reflection off our wings. Though it is not my first viewing, the way I react has a direct impact on my flight student’s experience. Imagine how inspiring it is for them to share a special moment with their instructor while gazing at scenery, the likes of which are only reserved for those with a front seat view in the sky.

Tip #2: Mix it up

Fellow instructors, before you rule this out as a lifetime career option, let me ask: have you really given this a fighting chance? I do understand the monotony when doing the same kind of training day-in and day-out, but in most cases I can stress: YOU ARE IN CONTROL! When I was in a rut, I took it upon myself to earn more training to diversify my customers and my daily flights. Earning my CFI-I allowed me to teach instrument students and I had the opportunity to fly in many unique aircraft owned by those customers. Later, I earned my Multi-Engine Instructor. Wow! Talk about exciting training and teaching after earning this. Multi-engine training has become my “knack” if you will. The thrill of shutting down an engine and restarting in the air with a student – yeah, that’s not going away anytime soon. 

Tip #3: Give yourself a break

My first year of instruction was also the year I flew the most. I worked long hours, rarely declined the chance to fly, and I am pretty sure my kid became accustomed to my absence. I learned a lot that year and the main things were: Don’t forget to take care of your health, your family, and give yourself a break. 

Maybe you are just beginning to teach, or perhaps you are looking at many more months of instruction due to the delay in airline or corporate pilot positions available with our current economic situation; either way, I hope these tips will help you to enjoy each and every flight with your students.

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