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7 day IFR Rating
I get the question often, "Are you in it for the long haul?" Does it mean they want to know if I'll leave them half way into their training for a "better" job? Are they asking me if I'm a career instructor?
The job of being a CFI is considered to be the lowest rung in aviation. For those who love aviation, it means they're looked down upon. After all, there's very few who make it to the big time as a CFI. Can you name more than a handful? Richard Collins, the Kings, Machado, and who else? So what's the draw?
At every FBO you can find a young, motivated CFI who is plugging time into his logbook to get where he wants to go. That's usually someplace else. As a result, they scan the hobbs meter more than any other guage and they might even run up a student's bill from time to time. They also round up all those .7 discovery flights to the hour they used to be anyway. It hints at a self-centeredness.
The most important rating is the Private Pilot certificate. Its the foundation for everything a pilot does. We've got everything screwed up because we put the least experienced, green-thumb CFIs into the seat with the student who needs the very best. As such, I get students for their instrument rating that fly like crap. Sorry to be so blunt but its a fact. So lets face it.
Get the best flight instruction you can. I'm not saying a 200 hour CFI is bad, I'm just saying he's statistically in the "killing hours" and may not have the tricks in his bag to give you what you need. See the companion article: You Get What You Pay For!
CFIs: let's look at ourselves for a minute. How well do we fly? I will confess that I'm a little rusty on my seaplane & glider stuff. But I don't fly these very often. In fact, I haven't flown a seaplane regularly in a long time. Once a year, I go find a seaplane instructor and get a refresher. I'm not sure why. I'm not likely to find myself in a situation where I'm going to need seaplane skills in a pinch. I refer seaplane wanna-be pilots to Jack Browns in Florida where I just did my ATP Multi Sea Plane add-on in 2006. When it comes to single and multi-engine flying, I'm in good shape. I'm not perfect, and I don't claim to be. But I know where my weaknesses are and when I have the chance, I practice skills that seem so basic but which are critical. Yes this includes crosswind & pattern work -- a few of my aviation fetishes. Fly a solid pattern and everything else in flying works itself out.
If you're in it for the long haul, then you are constantly looking for ways to improve your flying skills, your teaching skills, and your career.
Top Ten Ways to Immediately Improve Your Flying
In typical fashion, I'm going to
twist this around on you. Let's talk about your flying. How
are you doing with your basic skills?
This is how you'll be judged next time you fly with a CFI. Here
few questions to help you guide your next practice flight: