CFI Certified Flight Instructor
A flight instructor is a person who teaches others to fly aircraft. Specific privileges granted to holders of a flight instructor qualification vary from country to country, but very generally, a flight instructor serves to enhance or evaluate the knowledge and skill level of an aviator in pursuit of a higher pilot’s license, certificate or rating.
A person who holds a flight instructor certificate ( called a “Certificated Flight Instructor”, or CFI) is authorized to give training and endorsements required for, and relating to:
- a student, private, commercial or other pilot certificate;
- the 3 hours of training with reference only to instruments in preparation for a Private Pilot certificate, note that this does not need to be a CFII.
- an Instrument Rating, only if the CFI has an Instrument Instructor Rating (CFII); This cannot be given by a “Safety pilot“. Asafety pilot can only be used to help maintain instrument proficiency with an instrument-rated pilot by flying the required six instrument approaches-holding-intercepting/tracking courses, within preceding six calendar months.
- a Flight Instructor Certificate is only given if he has met the experience requirements (detailed below);
- a flight review, endorsement (BFR), or recency of experience requirement;
- preparation for a practical test (typically three hours within the preceding 60 days in preparation for a certificate or rating); or
- endorsement for a knowledge test (written examination)
Certain limitations are placed on the instruction a flight instructor may give; for example, flight instructors wishing to train applicants for a flight instructor certificate must have held their own flight instructor certificate for at least 24 months and given at least 200 hours of instruction. Specific training programs have additional requirements or limitations.
Flight instructors in the United States must hold at least a commercial pilot certificate or ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate. Individuals wishing to give instruction in airplanes or powered-lift aircraft are additionally required to hold an instrument rating in the desired category and class. Holders of a sport pilot certificate may obtain a flight instructor certificate with sport pilot rating, allowing them to give instruction for the sport pilot certificate in light-sport aircraft.
All individuals desiring flight instructor privileges must pass two additional written exams (Fundamentals of Instruction, or FOI; and a knowledge test specific to the category of aircraft in which instructional privileges are desired, such as fixed-wing) as well as a practical test. Flight Instructors must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible. Those airmen who hold Commercial Privileges in Lighter-Than-Air aircraft (Balloons and Airships) have flight instructor privileges in those category and classes they have on their pilot certificate. Lighter-Than-Air flight instructor privileges do not get placed on a Flight Instructor Certificate.