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  • Writer's picturePatrick Seifert

Aviation jobs: how to become a flight instructor

Updated: Apr 19

At this time of crisis, some people are thinking about getting a second to establish a foothold. Besides flying or even in another field of aviation. One possibility is to pass on his knowledge to other pilots or those who want to be able to pass it on. Either as a theory or flight instructor.

In February 2009, when a Colgan Air Dash-8-Q400 in the US state of New York crashed, this had far-reaching consequences for the US pilot market. Fatigue played a major role in this accident. Nonetheless, the congress decided in 2010 the hurdles for airline pilots clearly to raise the level. From a total flight experience of 250h in the airline application 1.500h. And this although both pilots had clearly more than 1.500h flight experience. For prospective pilots in the USA, the new regulation made it impossible to directly from the flight school to the airline cockpit. So for most young pilots after the practical examination the way back to the flight school and to another Training namely that of the flight instructor. The job of the flight instructor should not be understood as a "means to an end". will be. Of course, you will gain a lot of flight experience quickly, but the passion for the profession plays a major role here. After all, Young pilots become better pilots than you are.

Higher demands on flight instructors

In Europe, the requirements for flight instructors became more stringent with the introduction of EASA regulations, officially called "EU-FCL" which will be significantly tightened in 2011. Was it previously possible also to complete the training as a flight instructor with a pure PPL, today this is only still possible with at least a passed CPL theory exam. Just for this reason, many clubs expect a shortage of flight instructors in a few years, as hardly any pure PPLer the big hurdle of a CPL theory course and exam only for FI-training. It can therefore be assumed that almost everyone "new" flight instructors already have at least a CPL license.

Further requirements

Anyone wishing to train as an FI and to obtain a higher-level license than the LAPL, therefore, requires at least one PPL with passed CPL-Theory exam or directly a CPL license. Additionally 200 hours of flying hours 150h as PIC (Pilot-In-Command) and at least 10h Instrument flight training. At least 30 hours must be flown on SEP aircraft of which 5h in the last five months. In addition, a 300 NM VFR-cross-country flight with two full-stop landings The minimum age is 18 years.

The training

The flight instructor training consists of a 125-hour theory block and 30 hours of Practical training at an ATO. Before the training, the ATO must have completed a so-called carry out an assessment of competence in order to assess the suitability of the applicant for the training. The training is followed by a theoretical and practical examination. In the theoretical training also includes a 30h block of the module "Teaching and Learning", which is also available for other ratings such as TRI (Type Rating Instructor) or MCCI (Multi-Crew- Coordination Instructor) qualified. As a flight instructor (FI = Flight Instructor) it is, therefore, possible to work with to acquire additional qualifications as experience grows. After completion of training, examination, and application for authorization, you get the entry in the license: FI (A) rp PPL, SE SP, night. Where "rp" stands for "Restricted Privileges", i.e. the flight instructor is not allowed to make first solo flights or authorized solo cross-country flights. Likewise, no training for single-pilot high Complex aircraft certified. The "rp" phase comprises 100 hours of training under supervision, during which the young flight instructor is supervised by an experienced flight instructor from the ATO, where he will runs through. In addition, he must have supervised at least 25 solo flights in order candidate phase successfully. After that, the applicant can apply for a full FI rating. In principle, a flight instructor may give training in the ratings that he or she holds. Thus "SE SP" means Single Engine, Single Pilot. If the applicant has a SEP Rating and a TMG Rating (motor glider), he may train on both aircraft.

Differences between CRI and FI

A much cheaper and quicker to acquire teaching qualification is that of the CRI (= Class Rating Instructor). The FI contains their rights. As a CRI one is entitled to flight instruction for the issue, extension, and renewal of class or Type ratings for single-pilot aircraft (except for technical complicated high-performance aircraft with one pilot). LAPL(A) owners may be instructed in other aircraft types. It is also permitted to towing or aerobatics rating if you are the holder of this authorization. The main difference to the FI is therefore that no beginners are trained but only pilots who already have a license. Different from the FI the CRI does not require proof of CPL knowledge, which for many PPL holders is the Acquisition of the CRI greatly simplified.

Requirements for the CRI

For the CRI on single-engine aeroplanes 300 hours of flight time must be demonstrated, of which 30h as PIC on the corresponding class. For multi-engine aircraft 500h Flying experience required.

Training as a CRI

The flight instructor training consists of a 35-hour theory lesson and 5 hours Practice with multi-engine aircraft and 3h for single-engine aircraft. Finally, the Training concluded with a practical examination.

Job opportunities and remuneration

Due to the increased entry requirements for flight instructors compared to the past especially clubs see a shortage of flight instructors coming in a few years. The average remuneration of flight instructors is around the same level as for commercial Flight schools in the PPL range from 15 to 25 euros net per flight hour. For CPL and IFR- Teachers are usually charged double the hourly rate. The flight instructor traineeship (see "rp-Phase") is often not remunerated. In the association, flight instructors are mostly volunteers.


Those who would like to further their education and like to pass on their knowledge, but who as FI is too expensive and lengthy, the CRI offers a relatively simple option in to slip into the role of a flight instructor. However, if you want to gain a foothold as a flight instructor and really want to then there is no way around training as an FI.

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