Initial CFI write-up


Well-Known Member
As promised, here is my initial CFI checkride write-up.

The oral: Started with checking my paperwork and discussing the qualifications and endorsements required for the initial practical test. This was very casual and I wasn't under the impression that the test had even begun. I had everything laid out (heavily tabbed) and had a 5 inch binder chalk full of notes, lesson plans, handouts and a legal pad to write notes on.

I really believe if it's evident that you are well prepared, confident (not cocky!) and are there to learn, it puts the Inspector at ease. I got the impression that the Inspector switched from "I need to see if this guy is ready to be a CFI" to "Okay, he's worked hard, now I just need to verify it."

He discussed special emphasis areas and explained that this was a test of my instructional ability and not how much I know. "I want to know if you can teach me at different student levels, I know you know how to fly and have studied the material." We went over his plan of action and what was required to be asked and that he would ask me additional questions on tasks throughout the different areas of operations.

We started with questions about the fundamentals of instruction, including Instructor characteristics and responsibilities, human behavior and planning instructional activity. His questions were much more scenario based than wrote. He asked me what I would do if a student had been to every CFI on the field and just wasn't progressing. At the end, it came down to telling the student that maybe the flying thing just isn't going to work out.

We than moved into the technical subjects including: medicals, SODA's, flight controls, navigation and flight planning, federal aviation regulations, airspace and endorsements. Much of these questions were again scenario based with several having direct answers.

Basically, the questions weren't overly complicated, but I got the impression that if I didn't spit the answer out quick and precise, that he would start digging deeper. MAKE SURE you ask the Inspector to clarify confusing questions (to a reasonable extent!) This will keep your answers simple and tell you the truth, give you a couple seconds to think without digging yourself in a hole.

He hit systems pretty hard. However, most if not all the answers to the questions could be found in the airplane information manual, which is pretty basic as it is. Along with systems, he had me calculate weight and balance and performance numbers. This was than discussed while looking at limitations and the negative effects associated with being over weight and outside CG limits.

We discussed inoperative equipment. Not so much as what is required and when, but more dealing with 91.213, deferring equipment, MEL's and Master MEL's. Make sure you know that MEL's list equipment that CAN be inop, not what is required! He seemed to like that I had a copy of the decision sequence table from AC 91-67 that walks you through the process.

We talked about spins and spin recovery in detail. He also wanted to see that spins are not something you just go up and do with everyone for fun. Basically they should only be done for certificate purposes and or specific required courses. Why put yourself in a position where the margin of safety is reduced if not absolutely necessary.

We ended with a lesson plan on cross country planning. I feel I lucked out here because it was a review for a student pilot that wanted to make sure he was ready for his checkride. So instead of a full blown lecture, I just needed to go over common errors and procedures for cross country planning and answer questions. MAKE SURE you know how to use a mechanical E6B!!! The Inspector specifically said I had to use a mechanical E6B for the lesson.

The flight: We went over his plan of action and what he was required to test me on. I was given the options to perform a Chandelle or a Lazy 8. I am sure you can figure out which one I elected to do! He was going to act as several different students of varying levels and that I was to adjust my teaching styles accordingly. Again, he stated that this was a test to determine if I could teach and not how well I can fly. However, he did expect me to perform at the commercial level.

I got extremely nervous at this point. He said that he didn't want me to talk just to talk, that anything out of my mouth should have instructional value. If I spewed out useless gibberish, that he as a student would become overloaded and stop listening to me.

The flight started out with a curve ball that I wasn't expecting. He had me put the foggles on and track inbound to a VOR and then do some basic turns ect. There wasn't much instructing going on here, I think he just wanted to make sure that I was instrument proficient since it had been several years since I had done any instrument work.

Afterwards, we headed out to the practice area and performed stalls, steep turns, turns around a point, chandelles and engine out procedures. When I was flying, I was to explain what I was doing and how I was to correct for any errors; pretty basic stuff. When he was flying, I critiqued his performance ect. However, he would change from inexperienced to experienced throughout different maneuvers. For example he was an aspiring commercial pilot doing steep turns; he was darn near flawless and all I could say was "Very well done!" It went back to picking and choosing the right things to say at the right times.

After the manuvers, we came back to the pattern and performed pretty much all of the landings and takeoffs with a go around in between. The last landing was a power-off 180. However, the winds were sporty to say the least, requiring at times full deflection of the controls. He said that it was far more important to see that I could make the runway and land safely than hitting a pre-determined spot. If I had to add power, I was to go around. He was also big on getting a turn towards the runway right off the bat and that too many people drag out the downwind and come up short. I landed long, but was within the first 1/3 of the runway. He had me taxi back to parking at the point.

Overall, the oral rang in at about 4 hours with the flight being an hour and half. I felt he was tough but was also very fair. He was not out to get me and wanted to make sure that I learned something.


I assume you passed, so Congrats!
Sounds like a good reasonable checkride. Enjoy your time instructing :)


Well-Known Member
Thanks rframe! Now I just need to get some experience and learn how to actually teach :)

I'll be spending a lot of time with Kershner's book while updating the resume!


Well-Known Member
Congrats man! Feels good doesn't it?? I feel the same way as you though. I start my first instructing job here in a few weeks.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Justin, it does feel pretty awesome! Flying back from the FSDO was such a surreal moment!

That is great news, you must be pretty excited! You will do just fine! I have been told that one of the best things you can do is confide in a mentor/senior CFI who can answer questions and help guide the learning process. I have several friends who are CFI's and it's great to be able to give them a call when I have questions. Both have said that it's completly normal to feel like you have no idea what you are doing in the begining, but that it quickly passes!

Good luck with the new job!