This is something that I have done with many students over the last decade or so. What I am talking about here is a CFI and Commercial Pilot course combination. As we know that to be a CFI you need to be a Commercial Pilot (or ATP) certificate holder. And if you already know that you want to be a CFI after your get your Commercial Pilot ticket, then you may want to look seriously into this CFI / Commercial combination course.
- Saves time and money, which is a lot of money as time equals money as well.
- Spend less on complex aircraft rental, and, get more PIC complex time.
- Better prepared for Commercial checkride, as both your ground knowledge (aeronautical knowledge) and flight training skills will be at the level of a CFI applicant (trained to CFI PTS vs Commercial Pilot PTS).
- As your Commercial Pilot checkride will be with you flying the aircraft from the right seat, you will be better prepared and more confident on your CFI checkride. In CFI checkride it won’t be your first time taking a checkride from the right seat!
- Both checkrides will occur within a few days interval of each other, so everything (ground and flight skills) will still be fresh in your mind, and there won’t be any need to refresh anything (and pay for it).
- Lesser amount of complex aircraft time at the time of completion of both courses as compared to doing them separately, if you consider this as a disadvantage!
- If you are not mentally prepared for hard work, dedication, and have a will to learn at higher level, you may simply not progress well enough. In other words, if you like to take smaller bites, then this course is not for you. You should do them separately in this case.
How does it work
- You will go through the CFI ground school (plus some additional Commercial level specific ground school, at no extra cost to you) like all CFI applicants.
- Flight training will be with you in the right seat. Yes, you will transition to the right seat at the Commercial Pilot level, and not later at the CFI level. I know this sounds a little overwhelming and maybe a little scary, but it really is not. What difference does it make anyways? If you already know you want to be a CFI after your Commercial, then you know you have to transition to the right seat sooner or later anyways. Why not fly more hours on the right seat than lesser, and be better prepared for your CFI checkride as a reward.
- When ready, you will take your Commercial Pilot checkride (from the right seat), and 4-5 days later you will pretty much repeat the same process for the CFI checkride. Remember, you will be prepared to the CFI level, so Commercial checkride will be a breeze.
Course cost for the combination course is just a little bit more compared to the standalone CFI course. You will have to pay for about extra 5-10 hours of instruction time (needed for Commercial checkride briefing / de-briefings, signoffs, paperwork management etc), and maybe about 4-5 extra hours of flight training and aircraft rental (to get you up to the par with the other CFI applicants).
Looking at this from a different perspective, you will save about 20 hours of ground instruction time, and about 15 hours of flight training and aircraft rental time if you were to do Commercial Pilot and then CFI course separately.