Hey Students (Pvt-Comm)...


Well-Known Member
What can we, as CFI's (as a whole) do to serve you better?

Go ahead, rant away...I want to hear any complaint or compliment you have about your current or former CFI's (please don't mention names, lol). Even though I'm not going to be instructing as much anymore, I've been meaning to start a post like this for awhile, and the one in the FBO forum reminded me. Besides, I'm sure I'll keep doing a little, so I personally want to know what I can do to improve. And I'm sure all the other CFI's on here can benefit as well, so FIRE AWAY!!!!!!

Thanks...current instructors (should) and future students (will) appreciate it!


Wow awesome post!!!! I can't wait to see what people have to say....

Here are three things that I took mental notes of during my training about what or what not to do as a CFI:

-CFIs who can't wait to jump out of the plane after shutting down. They probably don't mean to, but it puts unspoken pressure on the student to 'hurry up and get out of here' when time should be spent on shutdown and securing.

-Postflight briefings! I don't care what time it is or how long the flight was... and CFIs have every right to charge for what is done after the flight is over. I'd rather pay more and get some feedback than 'cut costs' without knowing how I did (which ironically increases costs in the end).

-I was my first instructor's first student (.....). That guy hardly said anything, I practically had to beat him with a stick to et some feedback. Too bad I had nothing to compare it to and didn't know the difference....


New Member
When doing pattern work, do full stops if anything needs to be re-explained. To much going on during t&g's to pay attention to the plane and instructor.
Plus a nice break just to be able to focus for a min is always good.

I had a problem for a while remembering vfr mins, maybe constantly inquire as to what they are. That helped me.


Well-Known Member
Here they go...

- I can't stand when the instructor rides with his/her feet on the rudder pedals (especially when taxiing on the ground).
You are not only trying to turn a less than effective steerable nose gear, but in addition you have to overcome the dead weight of the instructor's leg!!!. There might be a reason (or requirement) for them to do this, I never asked about this, maybe an instructor can enlighten me on the subject.

- The instructor showing up AT or LATER than the time for the lesson. I hate to be waiting, sitting on the airplane, sweating my b@lls off (FL), and having my "questions for the day" answered while taxying. Or what's worse, being told right there,(after asking one thing on the approach plate we were suppossed shoot), to go back inside to go over the approach plate because I wasn't prepared!!!##@@$$

There...I have a couple more, but they are sort of too specific.
I feel lighter now


New Member
I really wish instructors wouldn't chat with their other instructor/pilot buddies during a lesson when they should be doing preflight/postflight briefings, providing feedback etc. I mean, I'm fully aware that networking and socializing is one of the great things about instructing, but isn't there plenty of time to do that when you're NOT busy with a student? To me, that sort of thing is an indication that I may just be a commodity being used to rack up the Hobbs meter.

Where I work, they'll write you up if you spend too much time socializing with other workers instead of spending your time with customers.


Here they go...

- I can't stand when the instructor rides with his/her feet on the rudder pedals.

[/ QUOTE ]

Ahhhh! My instructor did that too.... I just thought it was really hard to push the pedals, then on solo I was like 'what the ...'.


Staff member
What can we, as CFI's (as a whole) do to serve you better?

[/ QUOTE ]

Not charge so much $$$. You guys are pilots, you make too much already!


Well-Known Member
Here's a couple for starters:

- Attitude, man attitude . Do NOT bark in the cockpit. You have something to say, some form of correction you need a student to make? Say it professionally. The LAST thing a student needs is someone barking commands or critism in his/her ears. The time for critism is on the ground... not the cockpit. The instructor I had for my PPL was great... until we started the IR training, then he turned into a complete a-hole in the cockpit. I didn't know what I was doing and he wasn't teaching me. Needless to say, it cost him one student and his employer a TRUCKLOAD of money as I took my $$ elsewhere.

- Know what the next lesson will be . While I know everyone is "busy" nowadays, it shows a certain "unpreparedness" and lack of interest on the part of the instructor when a student shows up and the instructor says "what are we doing today? What did we do last time??". Keep track of what you've done with each student. Review your schedule and see who you have that day and what you did last lesson.
The instructor I had for my IR (after the first guy) was INCREDIBLY organized. He kept his lesson plans on his PDA and was two steps ahead of his students when they walked through the door. Even on days when he had students back to back to back to back.. he knew EXACTLY what he was doing that day with each student. Very impressive.


New Member

Great topic.

- My only complaint with my current CFI (who otherwise is awesome) is that I don't really know what kind of progress I'm making. He never really says okay you're moving along at a good pace, etc.

- Pre-flight and post-flight briefings are super important. Even if it's just a quick, "We're doing patternwork today, make sure you keep an eye on your airspeed"

- Remember that flying is fun. My instructor is great because he and I A) get along well, and B) have a good time in the cockpit.

- My last two CFI's left me high and dry. Luckily the school is big enough that it wasn't an issue. CFI's have an exit plan, and if you're actively seeking other employment let your students know, so they can decide to switch before they get dumped. This helps keep the continuity of your training going. I know that I probably spent 4 hours or so doing checkouts with the new instructor, and one instructor left after only one lesson. I'm pretty sure he knew he was leaving at that point.

All and all I don't have much to add here since I've had pretty good experiences with CFI's so far.



Well-Known Member
I had a switch in instructors through my PPL training. My first instructor was good but I feel like he didnt care about my training. He was a good pilot but I could tell that he didnt really enjoy instructing. I didnt really learn a whole lot from him, in fact he tought me things that where wrong. He got a job flying a C310 for some company and left prior to my finish.

I only flew with my new instructor 2 times before I took my PPL checkride and passed. I will tell you one thing that is for certain. If you are an instructor and are in a bad mood DONT bring it in to the cockpit. My instructor was in a •ty mood for some reason(probably cause 5 instructors just got hired at Great Lakes and he was never called back for an interview) but he was snappy, grumpy, and unpleasant to be around. Interestingly enough it was the worst day of flying I ever had performance wise. Not blaming him for my performance but I just was not enjoying the whole situation. It is usually a blast. blah blah blah.


Well-Known Member
The number one thing: know your students.

I had one instructor and we were always joking around, having fun, and so on. For example, when I was getting ready to solo, and he wanted to make sure I was okay to handle emergencies, he said as I started my takeoff roll, "what would you do if I yanked the power on you now?" and I said, "I'd smack you." He said, "well, then, hit me" and pulled the power.

That's fine to do to me. He did that to someone else who is a lot more high strung than I am. He ended up having to keep the plane from going off the runway.

And some students will need a hell of a lot more feedback than others. I'm in the don't tell me what to do unless I'm screwing up camp. Others are in the I need to know that I'm doing everything right camp. Neither is better, just different.


Well-Known Member
I would pretty much agree with what everyone has said so far. I would like to expand a little on the "know what your students have done" idea. I would say that you should know what your students are studying with (if they are doing their ground stuff on their own) and where they are before each lesson, to make sure that they know everything they need to know. Also, personally, I like it when my instructor lets me learn things by doing things worng (safely, of course) and then explaining what happend to me afterwards. Makes me learn well.

Also, I would make sure that you have a post flight brief and go over strengths, weaknesses, and give suggestions on how to fix some of those things or make them even better. Then I would make sure that the student knows what is coming on the next lesson.


Well-Known Member
When I was an active instructor I asked my student to critique me, my favorite response was this:

Q: What did you like about my training?
A: You made me think.

Q: What didn't you like about my training?
A: You made me think.

Morale: There is a time to probe a student and expect good answers and then there are times to leave a student alone in his thoughts and learning process to disover and assimulate things on his own. This was a hard critique on me in that I needed to learn to relax and not fill every second with questions and answers.


New Member
I never liked the fifty things on a approach being hollered at me. In my mind I am saying I know I am not flying this right that is why I am paying you to show me. If I want some one to shout thing at me I do not know how to do I would just listen to ATC


New Member
You know what's interesting about that comment is that I think whether or not your CFI barks at from crosswind to final you always find that you fly better when you solo that when you're dual.

I made my best landing to date on my first solo. Just me talking, and remembering what he told me.

Turns out I actually did learn something. Of course once he's back in the plane my landing will suck for sure.

Oh well.



New Member
I agree with turbojet about letting things go wrong (to a point). During my Inst. my instructor was great. He let me totally get screwed up on a hold or something before saying anything. If he corrected my every move I wouldn't have figured it out as fast because I would go home and just study what the heck I did wrong and how to fix it.


New Member
Nobody's really mentioning it, but the thing that turned me off the most was bad odors.

I'm talking about bad breath, reeking of cigarettes, and/or just general BO.

There is one guy I flew with at MAPD (I bet you Missed Approach knows who he is) who had ALL THREE.

We wanted to buy him a toothbrush and a bar of Dial for our graduation present!


New Member
I'd guess it's important to be aware that students learn differently. Be willing to rephrase things, and to present/demonstrate concepts in different ways.
Also, it seems like students have one main instructor, and don't get exposed to multiple instructors' input often enough. I remember in music school (for piano, my primary instrument), you'd have two or three lessons per semester from the 'other' piano faculty members, plus a half-dozen master classes each semester where all the students attended a guest artist's performance and lecture. And then there were the studios. Every other week, each instructor got all his/her students together to have them play through what they've been working on for one another. The students often gave one another better feedback than the instructors could, and many ended up discovering their own bad playing habits in the process.
I don't know if anything like that is done during flight training - but I do know it's a highly effective teaching model. Are there any elements of it that could work with flight students? Post your ideas!


New Member
Good post. I am a college prof and studio cello teacher, and have 20 years of teaching experience, so I have a few of thoughts on the topic.

1) Be flexible. There are many, many types of students with concomitant learning styles. Some will want a printed syllabus that you fill out and put comments in. Have that ready, if they want it. Some will want a more casual debrief over coffee (for which the instructor must be paid).

2) Don't pander. Yes, you need money and yes, I am the customer. Still, you are the instructor and I am placing my trust in you. Even when you are not PIC (for example, as in right now when I am a IFR student), you are "teacher in command." You should be flexible so that I can learn as efficiently as possible, but don't worry too much what I think. If it doesn't work between us, we can talk about that.

3) Don't be afraid of debate. For example, if a student comes to you with a wacky approach to trimming, at least listen to them. After that, you can say something to the effect of "That is an interesting approach, but I have a different way which I think is safer and more efficient." Then stick to this method, and have your students learn it. If they refuse, they can find another teacher. You have a grave responsibility to teach them how safely to fly a plane!

4) If while you are demonstrating a certain maneuver or procedure, you plotz it up, don't try to cover up. Simply say, "That wasn't my best." Then tell them what could have been better, and try it again. You are human; we realize that. We will learn more from (what you probably perceive as) a mistake you made, followed by an explanation, than you trying to cover up saying ". . . and that's a good example of a steep turn stall."

5) Don't sign students off for solo or checkride until they are 150% prepared. You are teaching them for life, not the ride.

Peace and love to you.