Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By bookworm
EASA has just launched a project to try to address the perceived shortage of flight instructors. It strikes me that a good first step is to identify why pilots who might become instructors choose not to do so.

I'd be interested in any potential barriers from "the CPL TK that I'd need to do anything useful is too difficult to get" to "I could make more money stacking shelves at Sainsbury's".

What do you think?
By PaulB
It was the CPL TK that put me off..... I just couldn't see the point of taking months if not years learning a load of stuff that I'd never use just to pass a load of exams. (The common concept is that much of the CPL TK stuff is not relevant to teaching at PPL level.)
How about the ones who don't renew because of all the increased beaurocracy?
Was intending to having retired, ..attend a symposium? Renewal test....oh does that give me my examiners ticket thats another symposium! ....but have the standards really improved since early 90's when we didn't have all this stuff?
I can't imagine many of the PPL pilots wanting to give something back (and stay ppl pilots and not enter the airlines) choosing the FI course over the CRI course - just in terms of the immense difference in cost in time, money and effort -I'd suspect those who do have not looked at the CRI course (or need their wallet examining)!
Ridders liked this
Right now, I'm a CRI, and I'm working towards becoming an FI in the next few months. The reasons for my doing this are various, and mostly relatively unusual as I have no ambitions to do it full time and financially, what I'm currently doing probably makes little sense.

But, reasons not to do it...

- CPL TK is a LOT of work, certainly compared to the vastly more pragmatic FAA CPL TK requirements, which is still (in my opinion, and I have studied and passed both) adequate to the task.

- The ways to get the qualification are mostly expensive and time consuming. Ways to do this effectively, part time, are few.

- Let's be honest, it's a lousy living. £30/hr if you're lucky in most schools, if you are similarly lucky, with generally no job security, no employer pension provision, etc. etc. Who is really going to spend that much time and money training for a £ job?

- Those who do train, in large part are heading for the airlines, as that actually offers decent pay and prospects. A significant number of those left are like me - people who love flying, and actually have a better and more secure career that permits them to indulge their flying habits. The result is very few people with a lot of instructing experience - either they're high years/low, or vice-versa.

If we want more FIs, it really is simple. Make it a job that can be trained for at reasonable time and cost, and offers reasonable income, security and prospects.

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer on Thu May 16, 2019 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
T67M, tomshep, t1m80 liked this
It's hugely rewarding.
It's great fun.
It does your own skills a power of good.
You get to make people's dreams come true.
You meet a wide variety of interesting people.
And you get free flying.

CPL TK is a pain in the aerosol (and more or less irrelevant).
The FI course is quite long and quite expensive - but very interesting.
The financial ROI is nil. It's more or less pro bono work.
The bureacracy is somewhat irritating.
To some, the liability/responsibility is daunting.

What's not to like about it?
I have to go to an ATO to do the FI course which in my case is 104 mile round trip.

However if I want to do an instructor course for a sailplane I can do it an any of the 3 gliding schools within 12 miles of where I live.
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By T67M
Two things - the CPL TK (cost, time and irrelevance) being one, and being unable to commit to ab initio students due to needing a full time job outside of aviation to pay the mortgage. The CRI is a nice option for me.

Edited to add the clause in brackets.
Last edited by T67M on Thu May 16, 2019 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Josh
I am interested in instructing but other life commitments (small children, distance learning, not a surfeit of ready cash) prevent me at the moment. Realistically probably on the cards in 5-6 years time.
As others have already said, the time and effort to do the CPL TK and the practical obstacles to doing the course whilst also being in full time employment with family commitments mean there's no chance for me being part of reducing the FI shortage.

See also: Instrument Rating.

If I breathed that oh so different US air, and had the opportunity to pursue both in the way those that do can, I expect things might be different in both cases.

(I did do the CRI course - and, way back, the IMCR - though.)
As I’ve bored on about before, I believe the CPL exam thing is a total red herring. If anyone hasn’t got the time or money to do CPL distance learning and exams they haven’t got the time or money to do an FI course and give the commitment to be an effective instructor.

I get loads of people telling me they ‘would be an instructor if it wasn’t for the CPL exams’ but these are the same people that are struggling to find a morning once a month to even keep current / don’t even understand their rating revalidation requirements / turn up late for most bookings etc..

The real availability issue is that instructor terms and conditions don’t make it viable as a full time or even part time career. Dumbing down the training to artificially generate FIs would just lead to a further drop in standards and loads of people with the rating who would be unemployable due to their lack of availability / inability to deliver any continuity due to their life commitments.

CRIs are a mixed bag (if I’m being honest about what I think) - some are great in their niches, really committed, work hard and really professional. On the other hand, I can name three that I know personally in the last 12 months have failed to pass a basic club checkout to rent a PA28 such was the standard of their flying let alone teach someone....

However (trying not to be negative honest!) there could be merit in modularising the FI course and linking it to exercise privileges. The RAF have done this with University Air Squadron FIs - first qualification can teach up to first solo, second level can teach full syllabus

It could go along lines of:

Teaching and Learning module - perhaps more available via groundschool providers
Module 1 - 10 hours of flying training - allows up to first solo FI
Module 2 - 15 hours of flying training - allows full syllabus
Mutual Module 5 hours - practice exercise teaching with a senior nominated FI or FE, doesn’t have to be in FI course, must be signed off prior to module 2 completion

@bookworm happy to discuss idea above more if you want
WelshRichy liked this
Balliol wrote:I get loads of people telling me they ‘would be an instructor if it wasn’t for the CPL exams’ but these are the same people that are struggling to find a morning once a month to even keep current / don’t even understand their rating revalidation requirements / turn up late for most bookings etc..

That's not me.

If what multiple people say is disregarded out of hand due to anecdote and personal beliefs alone, then bookworm's and EASA's attempts to identify why there is a perceived FI shortage will fail at the starting gate. Thankfully, I very much doubt bookworm will do that.
Katamarino liked this
@Dave W not sure what you are getting at (me?) there Dave - my point is that we could waste loads of lobbying energy and rule making time removing CPL TK exam requirement and it will do nothing to address real life availability of FIs
You can't earn a decent living doing it. That is why not.

Ladling on irrelevancies just makes it worse.

Get the BMAA or LAA to train part time or volunteer instructors to teach to circuit and ground exam level. Once the ground exams are passed then hand them on to a more qualified intructor/ examiner for solo, nav and polishing.

Or leave it as it is and wring hands. People are still learning to fly.
I've been a CRI for 10 years - with a reasonable amount of experience - both in flying GA aircraft and instructing on GA aircraft.
As well as the usual currency checks, biennials and complex conversions, I get to teach practically the entire PPL sylabus - to students returning to flying after an extended absence. I have never felt that the absence of CPL TK has ever left me unable to teach anything that my students require - in order for them to pass a LPC.

I have often considered doing the FI course - but,
(1) Under no circumstances can I afford the time or money to do the CPL TK
(2) IMHO, very little of the CPL TK has any relevance to teaching the PPL syllabus (I know - I did the CPL TK way back in the mid 90's)
(3) IMHO, the FI courses are too long - and too expensive. They are a one size fits all solution - in a complex multi level environment. The syllabus is primarily aimed at the young wannabe airline pilots with little or no flying (or instructing) experience. It does not cater for the experienced PPL, (or former instructor) wishing to give something back to aviation.

Possible solutions
(1) Remove the need for CPL TK - replace it with an exam on PPL TK ++ (sufficient to allow the instructor to fully understand everything in the PPL course - but to a much greater depth than a PPL.

(2) Allow the FI course content, duration and cost, to be on an "As Required basis" - based on an assessment of the applicants flying and / or instructing experience. (Give credits for CRI / other relevant experience).
However from my working past - I have to admit that know that even doing an assessment, costs time and money - and is a distraction from pushing students through a "standard" course.

(3) Lay down some baselines for salary and conditions. Glider and microlight instructors can earn £30-45 per hour - whereas fixed wing PPL FI's typically earn £16-22 per flight hour - but in many places have to do 1/2 hour pre briefing and half hour debrief (which equates to £8-11 per hour. Hardly worth investing £10-14K in training courses and exams (Unless you are one of those wannabe airline pilots where it is an investment towards a much higher income level).
It is not a living - and is really something you do for the love of it. You certainly couldn't get a mortgage of any description on that income level.

Of course these options would not be either convenient, nor popular with the Schools teaching the FI course. I don't blame them. For maximum efficiency and profitability, they want to push the maximum number of students through at the same time (like a factory process). Asking for anything "special" or non standard, will always have a negative impact on the training organisation's profitability.

Bookworm - you know how to contact me if you need anything further.
derekf, defcribed, T67M and 1 others liked this
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