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Initial CFI Questions

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Well-known member
Jan 30, 2002
I'm going to be starting my CFI training in about 2 weeks. I'm doing an accelerated course and I have many questions. I am hoping that some of you guys can shed some light. I've heard that the initial ride is like 9 hours, including the flight. I'm guessing that the oral is 6 hours of that. The longest oral I've sustained thus far is only 2.5 hrs and That was for my private. What can I expect to be tested on in the oral? Is is grueling or just comprehensive? Is there anything to really get stumped on? What methods of preparation would you suggest? If anyone has busted this ride, what was the weakness? Thanks in advance for your input.
study...study...study... Minimum of 60-80 hrs of
More than 90% of the applicants for the
initial CFI bust their ride!

Good Luck
You cant expect to get answers to all those questions in one reply so I'll give you my two cents... Go through your PTS for CFI and hit every subject or task area. Have a complete reference library to be able to answer any question you don't know off the top of your head... even if you know the answer, you should have a reference. Don't believe everything you hear about 9 hour grueling sessions. If the examiner sees that you've prepared for it properly then he'd probably rather be doing something else so it may last as little as a two or three hours including the flight portion. RELAX, and don't sweat it if you get a pink slip! Learn from it and get back on that horse.:cool:
More than 90% of the applicants for the
initial CFI bust their ride!

This sounds like BS to me. Why would nine out ten fail when everything you need to know is readily available, and there are no real tricks. In any program with a failure rate like that, there is usually something wrong with the program.

No disrespect to ksus intended, but someone who knows, please confirm those failure numbers.

This got my attention because I recently started working on the CFII ratings, (since the airlines, 135s, and other employers seem to have loss my phone number). But still waiting for the call.
Lengthy CFI Practicals

A lot depends on the examiner. Some examiners indeed give six-hour hours and 2.5 hour flights. Some don't. My use of "examiners" includes the FAA because it varies among FSDO ASIs as well.

One well-known and reputable examiner in Scottsdale gave eight-hour orals. It wasn't that she was out to hammer the applicant, she was just extremely thorough and tested everything. There was another examiner in Scottsdale who was also very professional and reputable who gave two to three-hour orals.

The best advice is to know EVERYTHING. Then, when you get to the practical, just answer the questions and hesitate on any tendency you might have to tell the examiner everything you know about the subject. Spouting off with knowledge is what brings on CFI busts.

Good luck with your training.
Does ADP still quote the CFI/CFII as a 3-4 day course? If so, I have to suggest you go to a school that takes their CFI training more seriously. Have you done any research into the other accelerated courses in the area? American Flyers has facilities in VNY and SMO. Their course is 30 days and brutal. But a good prep for the checkride. I did the program there and I was well-prepared for my 7+ hour checkride with the FAA. I researched all the accelerated programs in the O.C. area, look through the PTS and see if you think you can review everything in it to even commercial standards in less than a week. Good luck.
I did my CFI at a flying club, it took just under two months. I had a total of 26 hours of ground and about 20 hours of flight time. My oral was just under 2.5 and the flight was 1.3. The best thing to do is go through the PTS and make a lesson plan and notes on every item in it. You will learn the most by researching the answers. Another suggestion that I did was I got an examiner to give me a practice checkride. The time I spent with him prepared me the most for the ride.
My experience, and those initial CFI applicants at our school, should expect at least a 4 hour oral and 1 to 2 hour flight. Sometimes these times are much less.. anything more would almost always seem to indicate the examiner is probing more than normal and is yet to be satisfied with the performance.

The local FSDO does validate the 87-90% failure rate for first time initial CFI applicants. I agree its harsh, but they really want to make sure applicants know their stuff. I've also heard horror stories of the behavior or some designated examiners.. mental games with the applicants.

Always renew your CFI....

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