I got my private pilot certificate in 1999, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2000 with a B.S. in Aviation Management, then started working in the industry, first as a Ramp Agent for a major airline, then at a fractional ownership company, working with the flight crews.
While there, I trained at the company’s flight school, a part 141 program to get my instrument rating, which I finally completed in 2009 – life got in the way. Between work, buying (and fixing up) a house, changing jobs, starting graduate school, etc. – and a checkride SNAFU – it took me a long time to get my instrument rating finished.
But I went on from there to get my commercial pilot certificate in 2010, and then in early 2012, I finally completed my certificated flight instructor certificate, and flew my first “student” a week after.
This “student” happened to be a recently rated private pilot (he had passed his checkride about a month before flying with me) who wanted to rent airplanes from the FBO where I am a flight instructor now. He was getting checked out in a Cessna 172, which is the same plane he did all of his primary flight training in, so this was an “easy” way to break myself in as a flight instructor. I don’t know if that was more fortunate for me, or for him!
Either way, he did a great job on all the maneuvers (including – but not limited to power-on and power-off stalls, slow flight, steep turns, slips, emergency procedures, normal takeoffs and landings, short & soft-field takeoffs and landings, etc.). Knowledge-wise, he knew his stuff pretty well, too. I probably under-charged him for the ground time…
And I learned a good lesson as well: pay attention to the time! I ended up getting the plane back about 20 minutes late – which is a no-no on a beautiful, clear, smooth, spring evening when everyone wants to get up in the air!
Ultimately, it was a little strange to finally be the guy in the right seat asking the questions instead of being in the left seat answering them. And it was really strange to put MY signature in someone else’s logbook. But for my first 1.1 hours in the right seat – officially as a flight instructor – it was a good experience.
I think I’m going to really like being a CFI!
P.S. We’d like to hear about your first time flying as CFI – leave a comment and tell us all about it!
Andrew Hartley is a Certificated Flight Instructor in central Ohio.
Want to fly with Andrew? Send him an email at andrew [at] smartflighttraining [dot] com