Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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Get Your CFI Now:

Flight Instructor Ground School

CFI Navigation:  General Info CFI Certificate | CFI Ground School SyllabusTactics for the Professional CFI | Technical Presentations | Sample Budget while in Training | Things Flight Instructors Worry About | CFI Liability | What it Takes to Be a CFI | Learning Modality

The Flight Instructor certificate allows individuals to provide training to pilots.  Long considered the doctoral degree of aviation, the flight instructor certificate is a mark of distinction that few pilots ever attain.  Many pilots wishing to enter professional aviation positions become Certificated Flight Instructors in order to build the necessary experience. 

Chosing the CFI path to a professional aviation career brings the pilot a number of benefits:

  • accumulating flight experience necessary to build a career resume
  • building personal skills through teaching others
  • its a badge of honor:  most professional pilots "cut their teeth" as flight instructors 
  • and of course, getting paid to fly!
Upcoming Start Dates:
       Summer Semester 2007

:  $2,000 course fee + $400 consumable materials fee  (ordered prior to course start).  If two students register together for the same class, take a discount of $200 each.
  Your enrollment includes all ground & flight instruction.

Spin Endorsement:  If you come with a spin endorsement, it must have been issued within the preceeding 90 days prior to the date of your checkride.  If you need a spin endorsement during your training, plan on coming a day earlier to go out with our aerobatics instructor to do the CFI spin training.  You'll fly in a fully aerobatic tailwheel aircraft and pay him directly $600 for the 1/2 day of training (includes all ground training and flight training).

Airplane Rental
:  Flight Instruction included, aircraft is not included. 
Rental aircraft can be arranged for non owners. Basic aircraft can be obtained for $95-$115 per hour.  Any required endorsements are included (high performance or complex) at no additional charge.   For budget purposes, assume 10 hours for those who are right seat proficient.

For expenses related to room and board, see the sample budget for personal expenses during training.

Registration information:

  • It is recommended that you enroll 1 month prior to the start date of your program.  This is a well organized program that requires you to accomplish study tasks according to a 4 week schedule prior to the start of your training program. 
  • 20% Non-Refundable Deposit  + Consumable Materials fee is required to guarantee your program date.  If you cancel at any time prior to your scheduled date, we will apply your deposit to a future date only if we are able to fill your reserved spot with another student.
  • The balance due is paid on the first day of training.
  • Ground transportation related to arrival/departure  in Tampa is provided.  If you stay at the recommended hotel, daily transportation is provided.
  • Weather delays happen sometimes, but in the event weather causes a delay in your training, there are no additional instructional charges.

Five Reasons to Choose This Program:

  1. This is a quick, efficient, structured training program to get you through this training with minimum pain, maximum quality.
  2. We constantly evalute our competitors to ensure that our program provides the highest quality at the most reasonable cost in the country... compare for yourself.  We're not beat by anyone.
  3. You are PIC for the entire program receiving PIC credit in your logbook for 100% of the flight time.
  4. Safety:  techniques for teaching safe flight are emphasized by your instructor who is also an aviation safety counselor and speaks to groups on these topics frequently.  A highly qualified ATP-rated senior instructor with 100% pass rate.
  5. Personal attention is provided as you progress through your training program.  You'll never wonder about your progress.  You will never fall through the cracks.

Commonly Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites to becoming a CFI?
  • Read, speak, write, and understand English
  • At least 18 years of age.
  • FAA Third Class Medical Certificate
  • FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Students seeking a rating are required to prove US Citizenship and Flight Instructors must examine and keep a copy of a US Birth Certificate, US Passport, or Naturalization papers.   Citizens of other countries are required to register with the Transportation Security Administration prior to beginning training.
Related Links:
CFI Ground School Syllabus
Tactics for the Professional CFI
Sample Budget while in Training

Online Resources for CFI candidates:

Instruction Safety - accident stats in flight training
FAA Advisory Circular 61-65e - student endorsements
FAA Advisory Circular 61-67C - stall/spin awareness
Tips for Technical Presentations
Tactics for the Professional CFI
What is the path to becoming a CFI?
  1. Make the committment to a very difficult course of study.  This is not for the weak.
  2. Purchase a written exam study guide and begin learning.  There are a variety of great books on the market.
  3. Find a source of training.  Because this is a teaching certificate, you must really know your "stuff" to be able to teach it.  That means lots of ground training to prepare you.  Expect a 5:1 ratio of ground to flight instruction to become properly trained.
  4. Want your CFI quick?   Take the CFI Academy Ground School
What are the prerequisites?   In order to obtain your checkride at the conclusion of the course, you must arrive with the following:
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating and 3rd Class Medical Certificate or better.
  • Proof of citizenship and picture identification. (Drivers License and Certified Birth Certificate or Passport)
  • Flight Instructor Airplane and Advanced Ground Instructor written exam results.
  • Fundamentals of Instructing written exam results or Advanced Ground Instructor certificate.
Other items you must bring, read, or complete:
  • Bring: Manual E6B Flight Computer & Plotter
  • Bring: Calculator
  • Bring: consumable materials kit, consisting of 6 text books + CFI Academy Binder.
  • Complete & Bring:  CFI Academy pre-test.
  • Review, Read, & Bring: Jeppesen textbook read cover to cover, minimum required knowledge to begin CFI academy.  This textbook is included in your consumable materials kit and must be read prior to arrival. We can predict if someone will pass their checkride if they have read, understand, and can explain everything from this textbook.
  • Review, Read, & Bring:  CFI Academy Binder, with information, QRC, and PTS for each pilot rating; articles; study schedule; handouts; and advisory circulars.
  • Review, Read: Tips for Technical Presentations
What is the pass rate?  Pass rate using this method of instruction is 80% while nationally its only 33%.  In some FSDOs, the pass rate is as low as 18%.  The pass rate is high because we do not compromise quality and safety for the sake of cost or expediency. 

What kind of effort is required?  A training day is between 6 and 8 hours of ground training with a single flight beginning or ending the day.  Most students need to spend an additional 2 hours studying in preparation for the following day.  Accelerated training is great way to achieve the required knowledge in a short period of time. This program gives you a solid foundation of knowledge in order to properly prepare you.  We keep our pass rate high because of this solid preparation and are proud of it.  Your reward:  solid skills that will turn you into a quality instructor.

How much notice is required?   The ground school offers the student a well organized, professional training experience.  I would recommend reserving your slot with a deposit a month ahead of time.  Take advantage of the "bring a friend" discount and save even more money.

Is this cost effective?  For more information on costs related to room & board, see the sample budget for personal expenses during training.

Compare the other programs:

14-Day CFI, this program, CFI Academy $2,000
9-Day CFI, Double Eagle $3,995
7-Day CFI, Sheble $3,995

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All content is Copyright 2002-2010 by Darren Smith. All rights reserved. Subject to change without notice. This website is not a substitute for competent flight instruction. There are no representations or warranties of any kind made pertaining to this service/information and any warranty, express or implied, is excluded and disclaimed including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. Under no circumstances or theories of liability, including without limitation the negligence of any party, contract, warranty or strict liability in tort, shall the website creator/author or any of its affiliated or related organizations be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages as a result of the use of, or the inability to use, any information provided through this service even if advised of the possibility of such damages. For more information about this website, including the privacy policy, see about this website.