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Attaining the CFI

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Well-known member
Feb 5, 2002
Posting this thread for pilots working on the CFI license.

I am hoping to: a) Compare/contrast difficult & easy points of technical knowledge (what is easy for one may be the toughest for another) for mutual benefit; b) form an ongoing support or study group for encouragement while struggling through frustration of difficult periods of learning.

Best Regards,
Not to insult,most cfi s I know got the ticket regardless of knowledge or flying ability! The main factor is the connection with the examiner,the school,the signoff guy and money. most I have seen are timebuilders or unknown reasons. Learn after you get your ticket.

That sounds like a really professional attitude to take to your CFI checkride doesn't it? Yes, you will gain much practical knowledge after getting the ticket but you should learn as much as you can from the books during your training. Rvrrat, you have the right attitude.

Some FSDO's, the Orlando FSDO for sure, have the most common unsat areas posted on their website. From what I remember...aerodynamics, inop equipment, weather, and systems are the big ones. You will definitely be hit hard with FOI. Let me know if you need the link.
Other than the FOI, you don't necessarily learn anything you didn't know before, but by learning how to *teach* it to others - you really discover where your weaknesses are. There's nothing like teaching to make you find out that you don't actually know what the hell you're talking about! Personally, that's what I love about it. Everything stays fresh.

The hardest thing for me as far as the training is concerned is landing the plane on centerline from the right seat. I'm always about a foot or two to the left!
I am interested in comparing notes. I've been working on my CFI training for a couple weeks now, with a private instructor. I have written up all the lesson plans, presented them to my CFI who pretends to be a student. We've just started doing the inflight lessons of me teaching him from the beginnning. I spent maybe 3 or 4 lessons on right seat flying, going through all the primary and commercial maneuvers and landings. I found the same thing as BigD--I land just off the centerline, and my flare is a bit high. I also have to fight the tendency to level off on base, which puts me high on final. I guess the angle from the right set makes me feel low on base. I haven't taken the writtens yet, haven't actually started studying for them yet.

172 driver, I would like the link for the Orlando FSDO. I did a search but came up with an Orlando FSDO page that had only a link to jobs.
CFI attainment

I trained about twenty initial CFI students. What you folks are experiencing is typical. You'll find that takeoffs and flying out of the right seat are about the same as the left seat, but landings are strange. It takes about ten hours to become comfortable in the right seat. I think that what happens is people become used to looking over and along the left side of the cowl when sitting in the left seat and continue looking there from the right. Start looking over and along the right side of the cowl instead of cocking your head to the left.

As always, the PTS is your study guide. Examiners will grill you throughly on the FOI and dig past the rote stuff. Learn the FOI beyond rote because the concepts really work. So many people give the FOI short shrift when getting their CFI, including yours truly. Then, I started teaching CFI students and took the concepts more seriously. The FOI are really a way of life for instructors.

Work on your lesson plans and your spiel. Remember to keep things simple. I've heard of CFI students trying to teach their pets or parents to keep on the simple track.

Good luck with your CFI training.
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tarp, thank you for the link.

Anne, BigD, I can sure relate to the different sight picture from the right seat. <laughing at self> The first couple of hours, I couldn't even taxi strait, looked like a drunk trying to keep a strait line; finally got that worked out by keeping the line under my left foot instead of between my feet as had been the custom. A trick that my instructor showed me was to lean up against the door and sight down the centerline instead of sighting over the cowling; got me to within inches of the centerline since I too was landing off to the side.

Anne, one other trick that I was taught was to calculate & use weight specific Va, Vso & Vs1 speeds instead of using "stock" speeds listed in the POH. Doing so helped keep me aware of my speeds & power settings in the pattern & also helped with a tendancy for being fast on short final & floating in the flare. I'm now making consistantly more accurate and smooth landings.

Bobbysamd, Thanks for the FOI reminder friend. It's the one thing I have been struggling with since I started CFI training. So much of it seems like common sense, it is difficult to "break down" and cover comprehensively without missing a point or two.

I am heartened by the response level here and reminded of a da Vinci quote;
"For once you have tasted flight, You will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; For there you have been, And there you long to return."
There may be some folks who are "into" aviation for fame or fortune, but for me, I keep at it simply because I love it; in the same way that there simply is no other sound like that of an old radial Pratt, there simply is no other experience like flying. For me, it is where logic & emotion meet; keeping the activity fresh, fun, challenging & exciting.
Right Seat Landings

One other thing I've thought of on landings.

You know that landing in the left seat you're on centerline if on final the sides of the runway appear to be equal angles. In other words, if the left boundary line of the runway between the pavement and the grass appears to be straight up and down and the right boundary line makes an acute left angle, you are left of centerline.

The same principle applies from the right seat. In other words, keep the boundary lines equidistant, just as you would from the left seat.

As an aside, there are airplanes, such as the Italian SF-360, in which the PIC sits in the right seat and the instructor sits in the left seat. It's all relative. They get their primacy from sitting in the right seat.

PS-I may have gotten the designator wrong of the airplane. It is primarily a two-seater but can seat a third person or two kids in the back. It is a stick airplane, aerobatic, and used by some air forces as primary trainers. Alitalia uses this airplane as a trainer at its school in Alghero. You don't see many of them here. Totally cool airplane. You used to see ads in the magazines for them.
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Hey bobby, is this what you were talking about?


Siai Marchetti SF260.
Right seat PIC- scroll down on link above.

If so, these are really neat planes. Some of the "air combat" business's use these for dogfighting.

Saw one land at the airport I work at a few months back in camo paint.

Oh yeah, the throttles and mixtures would take a while to get used to if you were used to flying right seat in any other trainer.
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