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Why not become an instructor?

I read on a UK site that EASA has just launched a project to try to address a perceived shortage of instructors. I can’t find any reference to this, but it seems a good question to ask anyway.

Who do people become instructors? The reasons I have been told over the years included

  • build hours (I am not sure how this actually works towards the European ATPL since it needs 500hrs in a multi pilot cockpit, and the CPL/IR needs almost none)
  • get lots of free flying
  • put something back into society
  • enjoy teaching people
  • did it to pass time and get a bit of money but, after years of trying, could not get an airline job, so stayed an instructor

If you ever thought about becoming an FI, what factors stopped you doing it?

I didn’t post this in the Instructors forum section because only instructors go there

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

If you ever thought about becoming an FI, what factors stopped you doing it?

I did the CRI course. I enjoy helping people gaining confidence to do longer trips (well, further than L2K), and getting to use the plane’s system more efficiently.

I don’t instruct much (12h last year, first year as a CRI), as I travel a lot, leaving me too little free time. So far feedback has been good though .
I find I always learn by being on the right seat, because
- other people’s questions often get me thinking
- being on the left seat you have more time to see other people’s habits, and also have more brain capacity to think about situations.
- I get tot throw emergencies to them, and so have to think about them myself.

I’m not doing the full FI course because of the amount of time involved. Taking holidays is just too “expensive”

There is a real shortage, especially for IR instruction. After around 1990 most airline pilots went straight from training to turbofan equipment so they didn’t get single crew MEP time. Conversely young FIs are not able to build IFR/airways or MEP time, hence not meeting either MEP or IFR requirements to teach on an MEP CPL/IR course.

Even experienced senior service instructors with thousands of multi crew multi engine instruction have to jump into a Seminole for 30 hours PIC, to get their instructor ticket in civilian life. EASA refused to offer dispensation when these pilots requested an exception.

Perhaps there is a cottage industry selling cheap block time in a Mogas Piper Apache 150 to experienced airline training captains to get them the relevant MEP time :).

Not clear how the industry will resolve this, although the MPL route is an avenue.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

Peter wrote:

If you ever thought about becoming an FI, what factors stopped you doing it?

Time to instruct after doing gliding instructor (you need lot of time and dedication to teach ab-intio on in a gliding club)
Time/money to get instruction for the FI course, then build on restricted hours, so maybe I will go for CRI(A) this year or the next one?

Same reasons as Noe, plus probably being able to take time to learn about various aircraft details myself (you don’t get the chance to fly a mix of aircrafts as an ATO FI)

Last Edited by Ibra at 22 May 16:39
ESSEX, United Kingdom

I’d love to instruct. I have profound memories and notes of things that I didn’t understand when I was taught that I think could be explained better.

However, the investment of money and time is not justifiable against loss of earnings during that time when I have a family and real life money commitments.

What’s stopping me:
- cost, 10-15k € for the FI
- time, waste an entire afternoon to instruct one hour in a DA20 for a total of 30€, due to private students not always motivated or reliable according to friends that have FI. Some students take two years and 200 hours and never finish the PPL, I’m not interested in that.
- location, to make a little money for one’s time one needs to instruct at an airline puppy mill as they have the volume of hours that need to be flown as well as the authority/discipline to follow a set timetable. However, I am critical of these schemes because they profit from young people, selling them a dream and making them take on debt.

I elected to do the IRI and perhaps CRI. Reason is you deal with students that already have a license, fewer no shows and instruction in an FNPT is easier to plan and more efficient to execute concerning total time vs. hours instructed.

has a Beagle...
LOWG Graz Austria

Noe wrote:

I did the CRI course. I enjoy helping people gaining confidence to do longer trips

I do that as well for selected individuals although I’d call it more mentoring than instructing.

has a Beagle...
LOWG Graz Austria

Peter wrote:

  • build hours (I am not sure how this actually works towards the European ATPL since it needs 500hrs in a multi pilot cockpit, and the CPL/IR needs almost none)
  • get lots of free flying
  • put something back into society
  • enjoy teaching people
  • did it to pass time and get a bit of money but, after years of trying, could not get an airline job, so stayed an instructor

Microlight instructor, so the first and last one counts for zero. Thinking (a tiny bit) about CRI, but there seems to be lots of them, no shortage. There is a real shortage of FIs though, and they come and go faster than ordinary people changes underwear.

I think in the club scene, and/or with no plans for commercial, there are other stuff as well.

  • Be a part of the club, other than just renting.
  • Hone your skills, both theoretical and practical.
  • Climb a bit on the “social pecking order” (in a positive way)
  • It sort of comes natural. You want more people to enjoy flying, and instructing is one way to do that (of many others).
  • It gives a bit of meaning to just fly an hour in the evening.
  • It’s fun.

The instructor course consists of theory and practical flying. I have been towing gliders for years. Doing that you get a very good grip on the flying part, seat of the pants kind of flying. What I didn’t expect was my “discipline” had gone very much south. I had to really concentrate to do a proper circuit, with the proper “processes”. You cannot teach new student to turn final 10 feet above the ground in a side slip Still, that’s the “real” way to fly IMO, and very much what makes GA fun. We don’t have to act like this is very serious business, that we have uniforms and stripes on the collar, flying Boeings, not all the time at least. That’s my approach to it. To take recreational GA serious on it’s own terms, and focus on what we can do with these planes, not what we cannot do. (Don’t get me wrong, proper discipline and proper procedures are the only correct way to learn flying, but it’s not the only way to fly GA. It’s a license to learn).

I am an IRI because I enjoy it, pure and simple.

EGKB Biggin Hill

I´m going the rather long, hard and expensive way to the FI via the CPL. That´s only because I was lazy and lacked foresight when I was still in my twenties and a glider instructor. I should have converted to an FI back then with about zero effort and expense.

I´ve always enjoyed instructing in gliders, and I´m looking forward to instructing in airplanes now. I could practice landings all day, and sometimes I do while on vacation in the US, as an instructor I´ll get to do it at home. Also I will have something useful to do when entering retirement at a rather early age, work with young people and hopefully provide the sparks that will light a fire for somebody else. My goal is to eventually be an instrument instructor. The required 200hrs are a good excuse to put in a couple more long cross country trips in the US.

EDFZ

I started my instructor course last week at redhill. I’m doing it entirely for the enjoyment of passing skills onto others and for self improvement.

I probably won’t do the CPL TK initially and will probably do almost all my teaching on microlight with hopefully a little bit on group A LAPL. Might take me years to get unrestricted, depends on how opportunities pan out. I will only do it very part time to keep it interesting and rewarding.

If I do get any opportunities to instruct group A these would most probably be at redhill or shoreham and I would commute there by aircraft, thus burning any earnings on the commute!

EGKL
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