How to study for your CFI
This topic comes up quite a lot at CFI Bootcamp. People ask what the best way to study for the CFI checkride is? Fortunately, I have a few answers that will help you if you’re asking the same question at your flight school or you are a student here.
Let’s take the generic one first. Make a study outline for every day you will study. Choose the topic(s), like FOI, Airspace, Aerodynamics, Endorsements, FAR/AIM, and so on, and then estimate the time you need to complete each. You may need help from a flight instructor to help determine your current vs. desired knowledge. Once you have the number of hours, make a study outline for each time you will be studying.
For example, if you need 8 hours to study Aerodynamics and do this in 2-hour blocks, you’ll need to create 4 study outlines. The outline specifies the following:
Time for this session
Resources needed such as handbooks, ACs, etc.
What the desired outcome will be. Maybe it’s just understanding the topic but not yet teaching it, or perhaps it’s teaching a part of the aerodynamics lesson plan aloud.
Working backward from your checkride date, put these study sessions on a calendar and ensure you have enough extra time for unforeseen things. This will also let you see how realistic your checkride date is and keep you on track as you move toward the date. You may find you need more time or sometimes less time. You can update the study outlines, remove some, or make new ones so that you have enough time. Creating study outlines is a very valuable tool that lets you dedicate time to study specific things. It makes sure you have enough time.
As far as the teaching goes, to be successful on the checkride and with your soon-to-be students, you need to teach them aloud. Simply looking over a lesson plan without teaching it aloud will convince you that you can teach it. It’s only when you start teaching the plan that you find out you forgot what adverse yaw was, or the order of the elements is a little out of order.
The second thing people are asking when they ask about how to study for the CFI checkride is really how are the fundamentals of instructing tested. What do I need to memorize, can I use notes, is it an open book test, and so on.
This is a question to ask the DPE that will conduct the checkride. You aren’t asking what will be tested but rather how the FOI is tested. In my experience, DPEs are all over the board on this one. The good news is that it generally is tested in one of three ways:
Line by line from the PTS. Each sub-element has a question or scenario around it. This is the hardest to prepare for because it requires a lot of memorizations. Check out CFI Bootcamp’s FOI Road Maps for help with this. These are mind maps of each chapter with mnemonics and worksheets included. Ask the DPE if you can annotate the PTS with the mnemonics and if you can use the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook if you get stuck.
By Scenario. In my opinion, the best way. In this case, you are evaluated by the DPE watching you prepare a lesson, teach it, and then assess it. These tasks require a lot of understanding of the FOI, so the test is to see how the DPE can tick off the boxes in the PTS simply by seeing and hearing you. You may not need to memorize much if this is the method of testing you will be given.
By an open book test. The DPE will ask you questions, and you can answer what you know and look anything up you need. By far the most straightforward kind of testing.
So, in the end, the most efficient way to study for the CFI test is by creating study outlines and finding out how the FOI will be tested.
Meet Mike at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI
I’ll be heading up to EAA on the 26th of July, and I’ll spend two full days at the event. I’ll hang around SAFE's booth in Hangar B, Booth 2092. Someone will know how to get in touch with me if I'm not there. I’ll be at the show on the 27th and 28th. Then, I’ll be heading back to Miami on the 29th. So if you want to stop by and say hello, please feel welcome.
I will also be at the SAFE dinner on the 28th of July at the Partners Resource Center on the show grounds. I may be doing a small talk and some stand-up if they want me to do that.
Are you looking to do CFI training because there is a need in your area?
CFI Bootcamp is looking to partner with existing schools and/or CFIs who want to teach initial flight instructors but don’t have a system. We have a press and play syllabus that runs our 7-day immersion in-person or Zoom class. Each hour has a lesson plan, and all of our custom resources and FAA resources are right next to the lesson plan to click and use.
This kind of training would work for both of us if you are in a busy aviation market or you are aligned with a College or Large school that needs to make CFIs but doesn’t have the staff or time.
Target Major Markets for us are:
If you are interested in this, please email Mike Shiflett at email@example.com or call 650-600-1021.
ELT Inspections and Battery Replacement Dates
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the ELT, so I will clear things up in this article.
The regulation that addresses everything ELT is 91.207. Here, we will find two things that trip up pilots on checkrides and in determining airworthiness in general.
When the ELT battery has to be replaced - 91.207(c.)
How often the ELT inspection must be performed – 91.207(d.)
These two things are not the same thing.
Let's take the ELT battery replacement first. The battery must be replaced under two conditions,
When the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour.
When 50% of their useful life (or for rechargeable batteries, 50 percent of their useful life of charge) has expired, as established by the transmitter manufacturer under its approval.
The new expiration date for replacing (or recharging) the battery must be legibly marked on the outside of the transmitter and entered in the aircraft maintenance record.
Newer 406 Mhz ELTs use Duracell batteries. The replacement date can be as much as 10 years. This date must be on the transmitter, and you need to find it in the maintenance record for the airplane. That may be many logbooks ago. As a practical matter, ask the maintenance person to place the battery expiration date in the same record where the yearly inspection is indicated.
The ELT inspection is required every 12 calendar months. This has nothing to do with the battery expiration date. A battery must be installed in the ELT for it to work, but that’s about where the two-part ways. The inspection is a physical inspection and operation test. This needs to be recorded in the maintenance records every 12 calendar years. The ELT battery replacement date may or may not be this date.
I hope that clears it up.