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CFI Bootcamp's Push and Play Syllabus, DPEs testing outside of the reference, CFI Population and Necessary Program.

February 2022

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TEACH OUR 7-DAY CLASS WITH OUR PUSH AND PLAY SYLLABUS We have just finished up with a product that will really help flight schools and independent CFIs teach initial flight instructor applicants. Our company has produced more CFI specific training materials than any other company. This includes lesson plans, regulations scenarios with solutions and flowcharts, re-writes of FAR Part 61, FOI roadmaps and so much more. Our pass rate is over 90 percent on the first attempt. There is a need in the industry to create more CFIs. The issue is the number of CFIs that are qualified, and who feel comfortable, training these applicants. We have found that most CFIs that are qualified to teach initial instructors don’t feel comfortable doing it. While they are great at training people for Private, Instrument and Commercial they don’t have the same feeling about Flight Instructor. There are many reasons, but most stem from teaching the fundamentals of instruct-ing, regulations and endorsements from complicated scenarios, and teaching how to teach in general. Then there are the training aids. The Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, Airplane Flying Handbook, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, ACs and so much more. As far as a good syllabus there really aren’t that good. Most address the minimum Part 141 requirements for a flight instructor course. While they address the areas of operation in the PTS, they really don’t give the student the practice and confidence they need in a lot of those areas.

To address this problem at CFI Bootcamp we wanted to have the classroom experience to be more of a hands-on problem-solving experience rather than lecture. The problem we found however, was that the applicants core knowledge wasn’t deep enough to just do that. So, we created our online CFI course that takes about 42 hours to complete. We made a workbook, self-study guide, CFI essentials, assessments and more. That allowed people to study at their own pace and not spend money on hotel, car rental, etc. We then created a 7 day, on campus or via Zoom, immersion course. The result was great, but the issue was still only a few CFIs felt comfortable teaching it. That is until now. I’m looking for some flight schools and independent CFIs to use our new push and play syllabus. It provides a lesson plan for every hour of each of the 7 days. In addition, all of the resources to teach it are in the syllabus. You just click on the link and that resource opens. It allows almost any flight instructor with the required experience to teach our 7-day immersion class. In order for the class to work, the student still needs to complete our Online CFI Course, otherwise the course would be about three weeks long. The point is to concentrate training and give people scenarios and problems in the course that lets them use the lectured material such as how to solo a pilot in a different category or class that already has a Private or Commercial pilot certificate. We also give teaching practice and critique throughout the course. When the course is over, people feel like they can solve FAR problems, endorsements, testing requirements, and overall, they feel like they can teach a student, private or commercial pilot. This is a good result. So, this is an opportunity for flight schools and independent CFIs to teach our CFI pro-gram where you are. We need to limit the number however, so we can change things as needed in a small sized group. We need flight schools and CFIs that can actively use a program like this on a quarterly or monthly basis. If you have an interest in this, send an email to me at:


Have you had the experience of being asked questions that you had no idea where that information could be found? That you never saw anything that explained that and so on? Well, welcome to the club. Testing outside of the references in each area of operation in the PTS’s or ACS’s is not permitted. What I mean by that are questions such as what’s inside of a magneto? What are the components? The references in the PTS and ACS under airplane systems point to the POH for the airplane and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Neither of these two documents contain that information. So that question is not to be asked. DPEs will defend those questions by saying they are not a fail question. There is no point to ask a question that can’t be tied to the standard. Another defense is that the flight instructor should know more than the student. That could be true, but where does this information come from. The AMT handbook for powerplant. Then another DPE may ask a question about celestial navigation. That can be found in the Flight Navigators Handbook. Neither of these books are in the PTS or ACS reference.

DPEs should, on their plans of action, list the reference where the question or scenario they ask can be found. Handbooks change. Many DPEs don’t want to take the time to read the new ones. I can’t blame them, as they never get thinner…. But this poses a problem. The problem is that a student can’t receive a notice of disapproval because they couldn’t answer a question that there is no required reference for.

If a student fails the oral, in most cases, they should feel like they didn’t do well, and their preparation wasn’t adequate. They should not feel like they didn’t deserve to fail.

So, what do we do about this? DPEs get used to asking things in particular way and telling them flat out to stop doing something will cause friction. Also, because DPE availability is limited this may hinder you in getting students out the door. There is, however, a practical thing the student can do on the test that could make a fail a, ok let’s continue moment. It will also softly educate the DPE on the inappropriate question.

So here is what to do. When the DPE informs the student that they have failed and the student has no real idea where the information they were supposed to know comes from, ask the DPE to show them. Politely say, “I understand the outcome, but I haven’t ever heard/seen that before. They open the reference that would contain the information and check the PTS to be sure you have it and show the DPE that this information isn’t there. If by chance it is there or the DPE can show you using the PTS or ACS references, well you lose. But, if it isn’t there it will give the DPE a chance to say something like “Oh, they must have taken that out in this version” or something like that. Then the test can continue. This helps the DPE and the student. The DPE may very well read at least that section in the handbook.

I hope this helps. Please don’t use it to challenge a DPE on something you should have known. Look through the references and be sure its outside of the reference before doing that.

The CFI Population and a Necessary Program.

According to the FAA airman registry there are around 120,000 flight instructors. Of those flight instructors there are around 20,000 that are considered active. This means that they have recommended at least one person for a practical test within their flight instruc-tor certificate expiration date. That would seem to be a lot of CFIs. Diving deeper into the data you will find that of those 20,000 active CFIs over 80 percent have been a CFI for less than a year. Wow. We have very new and often very young instructors teaching most of the students. So that leaves about 4000 instructors with more experience. Of the CFIs that have held their certificate for over 2 years there are around 3000 or so.

So, what does this mean? It means that while the student pilot can learn to fly or add ratings, they aren’t necessarily getting depth of knowledge and the experience that can only be acquired by having taught for a while. Remember, you can buy a rating, but you can’t buy experience. That has to be earned. For example, one of our students started flying in April as a brand new 0-time pilot. He finished his CFI and CFII at the end of August that SAME YEAR. 5 months 0 to CFII. A highly motivated individual to say the least. But what experience is there? He never flew in the winter or autumn. Everything he knows about flying he learned in about 150 days. Now, in his case, he was an older student with a lot of experience in other things so all of that will work to the advantage of his students and himself. But what about new younger CFIs with a similar result?

We really need a mentoring program. I know the name isn’t a good one because it implies that new CFIs don’t know enough. Less than I suppose is the thinking. I’d prefer another word. I don’t really have a good word yet. But I think it is something more closely aligned to residency after medical school. It’s getting practical experience and you are still a doctor. Not less than.

This, by the way doesn’t have to be new regulations from the FAA. This can be an industry driven thing. SAFE and NAFI come to mind helping with this. The issue is getting new CFIs to buy into it. To recognize the need to be aligned with an experienced flight instructor that can help out and offer assistance.

In the meantime, for those of you who have a lot of experience, offer to help in specific ways to new CFIs and connect them with SAFE or NAFI. This project will be challenging because as John King says there is no WIFIM (What’s in it for me).

Our lesson plans have been field tested. We use these with every flight instructor in training at CFI Bootcamp and there have been hundreds. We know they are right and that they work. You can get those in our online store at You may also want to consider a product we have called Teach Brief-Fly! It’s a complete set of lesson plans, pre-flight briefings complete with artwork to draw on a white board, and the last section is what to say while demonstrating any of the Private, Recreational, Sport, Commercial, and Flight Instructor Maneuvers. There is also a Student Companion Guide that is available to give the student what to read, quiz them and see that they are prepared for a lesson prior to meeting with you. Good Stuff!

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