Commercial/Multi/Inst Time Line - My experience...


Well-Known Member
Well I did it! I finished the commercial/multi/inst program today.
I though it might be useful to report the approximate times it took to complete the program. (I know I was looking for some realistic timetables when I was starting)

I came in with a PVT 80+/- hours.
PVT Audit 2/4
Commercial Ground 2/19
First flight Step 1a 2/19 -- First Step 2 flight 2/24
Finished Step 2 3/29
Multi Ground 4/1
First Step 3 Lesson 4/4
Inst Ground 4/15
Finished Step 3 4/19
First Step 4 lesson 4/26
Finished Step 4 6/5
First Step 5 Lesson 6/6
Finished Step 5 6/22

This was a pretty reasonable pace for me. The only time I really hustled was during step 2 where I did two lessons a day when ever possible. I also flew through most of ground school. I had very good weather up until the last month, which has been very poor. There were certainly people working at faster & slower paces, I was not in any particular hurry but I did want to keep at it. (what else is there to do down here?!)

Hope this is useful for somebody out there.

I see you finished in about 20 weeks. Did FSI predict 26 weeks as they did for me given I have a Private with 100 hours? Secondly, I am starting with the Private Audit on July 1. What can I expect for the first 4-6 weeks as far as flights and classroom instruction goes? Will I be flying? If so, is it solo or dual flying? Type of aircraft? Is there a limit on how far a solo cross-crountry can go for the time-building phase? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
I don’t recall what the FSI estimate was for my finish date. I think it might have been in September. You don’t fly during the audit, but you can get to it ASAP in commercial. If you are doing all of step 2 you will start with a little duel (they call it step 1a -- three flights) just to get checked out in the Cherokee. You then progress right into the XC time building and air work practice. There is much more solo than duel time in step 2. So quick translation.... After the first two weeks you can be flying up to 7 days a week if the weather allows it.

If you are motivated to get flying...

Once you finish the audit you can head strait to the flight line and have an instructor assigned to you so you can get flying. (I got my instructor the day the audit finished and was flying by the second day of commercial ground) Many students would wait until one was assigned and that seemed to be after the first week of commercial ground.

It’s still a very good environment for training (sorry to the instructors reading) in that there are plenty of CFI’s about who need more students and usually no problems with aircraft scheduling.
Sorry I did not answer the last part of your question.

As for the Step 2 XC time building its fairly open as to what you do. There is a list of approved airports that you can fly and the list is plenty diverse. Some people would double up long XC lessons to be able to reach more distant locations. The list does include many airports inside or under Class B (Miami, Orlando, & Tampa) so you can keep the flights interesting. I think it is also possible to get approved for some other airports not on the list.
Some guys go up to Savannah, GA where FlightSafety Gulfstream is and get a tour/sim ride. Not much further than that. Key West is only approved in the Seminole, which is always dual.

They didn't want us to fly until the second week of Commercial Ground, but I started in the middle of the first week. I'm not putting in the study time I told myself I would in ground school because I'm busy studying for flying, so I cede the point that it's not the smartest thing to do. I'm going to knock off flying for a coupla days before the Commercial written to dedicate to Gleim study.

Congrats ACA_DIA...stickin' around for CFI?


Thanks for the info. A few questions if you don't mind?

1. What is the deal with the Savannah flight? How do get setup for a tour/sim ride?

2. Can you meet people for luch or something at a cross-country destination i.e. does time allow for that?

3. What is the condition of the single-engine aircraft at FSI?

Thanks for your help!
Maybe I can answer some questions since Chunk is probably studying.
I know that people have done the sim ride, but when I called to schedule it they told me I had to bring my instructor or pay for someone to sit with me. They also said hey were very busy and didn't have a lot of times available.

As far as meeting someone for lunch, you can do anything you want if you schedule the plane right. Until, that is, someone goes overboard and ruin it for everyone else.

I think the Cherokees are in ok condition. They're in poor condition compared to the new Seminoles, but in great condition compared to most other flight schools a/c I've seen. I'm only talking about the inside appearance. Mechanically all the a/c are in superb condition, and there's never a problem with squaking a plane.

Now if someone could help me get back to my new name: FSI Newguy.
Thanks Chunk.

Im hoping to stay for the July 1 CFI. As of Friday there was only one or two spots open and there were several other people waiting for a checkride who also want to be in it. If I have a spot I will be staying. (fingers crossed) Otherwise im headed back to more civilized temperatures.
What are you talking's cold here! /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif Well, at least compared to the south Pacific!

Nice weather today, eh?

I can email you a pic of a single-engine plane at FSI I took a couple of weeks ago. I got a good shot of the interior, and its nice, especially if you're coming from FBO-land. I agree the new Seminoles are nice, down right luxurious for an airplane....I took nearly 80 pics of FSI on my tour, and have been trying to find time to post them online for everyone to see. I can email any you like; just ask what you need to see.
So if the July 1st CFI class is full what options do you have? Do they open another class if they have over the limit or do you put your name on a list for the next available starting class date?

Is this normal to have more recent grads wanting into a CFI class than spots available?
FSI is playing a bit of a balance game trying to avoid half full ground schools. CFI has been only running once a month (though I think an extra one was added in mid-late May because of demand). Currently the next scheduled CFI after July 1 is not until August 5th. I think that most people ready for the July 1 who want in will be in, but there is a chance a few could miss the date because it will be full. I did make it in! (sigh of relief) I don't think that this is a typical FSI situation.

Side note on the original my experience topic:

I have been trying to figure out how close to budget I was upon finishing the program. I thought I was over budget by about $500, which I think is pretty good. I forgot that I have rented 7+ hours for fun flights (that money comes from your student account), so I am actually a little under budget in the end.

88.1 PA28 (Cherokee)
59.6 PA44 (Seminole)
4.1 Zlin
32 Frasca

First great post and congrats on your progress so far. Would you know, are you guy's getting first dib's for these slots or is it first come first serve.? How is the selection process determined.

Best Regards,
As I understand it you can sign up for the CFI once you start Step 4. However you really don't have a space in the class until you pass your Step 5 (Multi/Commercial) ride. This arrangement is to prevent people who cant or dont finish step 5 in time for the CFI from keeping a spot from someone who has finished. The problem is that the current course schedule has created a bit of a stressful situation in that you feel like you are in a race for a spot in the class. This really affects only a few people who happen to be finishing up as the same time this close to the start of the next CFI course. If the next CFI was only two weeks away vs. five weeks I dont think I would have been as stressed about it.

I should stress that I do not believe that this is a normal situation at FSI. The administration has had to do a bit of juggling because of post 9/11 enrollment declines. I would expect that FSI will go back to two CFI classes each month, which will solve this problem.