EAA Chapter 323

Sherman, TX Texoma Chapter

What is a Certificated Flight Instructor

What exactly is a Certificated Flight Instructor and what does someone have to do to become one?

A Certificated Flight Instructor is a person who holds a flight instructor certificate and is authorized to give training and endorsements required for and relating to:

  • a student, private, commercial or other pilot certificate;
  • the three 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". A safety pilot can only be used to help maintain instrument proficiency with an instrument-rated pilot by flying the required six instrument approaches-holding-intercepting and tracking courses, within the preceding six calendar months.
  • a flight instructor certificate is only given if the experience requirements have been met.
  • flight review, an endorsement previously called biennial flight review (currently referred to as flight review see 14 CFR part 61.56), 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)

To become a CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor),the FAA has laid out the following requirements: 

1. Be able to read, write, and converse fluently in English

2. Be at least 18 years of age

3. Hold at least a current third-class FAA medical certificate.  Later, if your flying requires a commercial pilot certificate, you must hold a second-class medical certificate.

4. Hold an instrument rating.  A commercial pilot is presumed to have an instrument rating. If not, his/her commercial pilot certificate will be endorsed with a prohibition against carrying passengers for hire on day VFR flights beyond 50 NM or at night.

5. Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course

6. Pass a knowledge test with a score of 70% or better.  The instrument rating knowledge test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions selected from the airplane-related questions in the FAA's commercial pilot test bank.

7. Accumulate appropriate flight experience and instruction (see FAR 61.129). A total of 250 hours of flight time is required. 

8. Successfully complete a practical (flight) test given as a final exam by an FAA inspector or designated pilot examiner and conducted as specified in the FAA's Commercial Pilot Practical Test Standards. 

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