Changes in flying instruction over the last 30 years

Changes in flying instruction over the last 30 years.

A question posed by Dick in the USA via Sporty’s.

It is a very good question Dick! I have worked in 10 flying schools and have owned one and been CFI in three of them in that period.

Apart from the use of headsets and intercoms, the only real change is in the standard of training material available to learn to fly with, the books, the CDs etc.. The same poor PPL instructional teaching standards in the UK still exist as existed when I started instructing in 1974.

Teaching is a vocation and the best teachers are always vocational. If you do not have that vocation you are never going to be a top instructor producing top students but with adequate supervision and mentoring you can still be a good instructor. In my experience too many flying instructors are merely minders, commentators and  supervisors, the main source of progress originates from the students genetic ability to learn new tasks, something we should praise mankind for, rather than individual instructors!

For us in the UK I would like to see the establishment of the high standard dedicated CFI (that’s our Chief Flying Instructor-the main man in charge of the school!) These CFIs should be above average instructors and have a 24 or 12 monthly dedicated CFI flight and ground checks with a government examiner, not one of their choice either, done on what we call ‘The Old Boy Network’ in the UK! The school the CFI is attached to should be checked thoroughly at the same time including at least one sample pupil.

The CFI sets the standard and should be fully accountable and responsible for the schools standards. The only way to drive up standards is to inspect and check independently!

(please note in the UK a CFI is the person in charge of a flying school)

Ask Captain Jon


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