Accelerated CFI Program

The Accelerated CFI Training Course is a fast paced flight and ground training program where both the applicant and the assigned Flight Instructor dedicate their full time and effort towards the common goal: preparing the CFI applicant to achieve the required aeronautical experience and knowledge levels prescribed within the FARs and the CFI Practical Test Standards (PTS), in a shorter than normal period of time.

Accelerated CFI Course
Accelerated CFI

Assigned Instructor Responsibilities

The instructor assigned to teach the flight instructor applicant dedicates his or her entire work day (which is mostly 8-10 hours per day) instructing the applicant on required area of operations. This instructor is exclusively assigned to the training program and does not have any other obligations, students, or job duties. Here at CFI Academy, as we do not teach any other pilot courses, there are no distractions for us. This is one of the benefits of doing your CFI training at an exclusive flight instructor academy.

ACCELERATED CFI applicant Responsibilities

To achieve maximum benefit (which is shorter training duration in this case) the applicant has to dedicate his or her entire focus, dedication, and energy each day, and work very hard to learn everything necessary as quickly as possible. The instructor is capable to teaching only as fast as the student is capable to learning and retaining the knowledge. The pace of the accelerated program is heavily dependent on the applicant’s own progress.

The Objectives

Just to clarify something here with you, there are in fact 2 different objectives of the accelerated CFI training program:

  1. Achieve the aeronautical knowledge and skill levels prescribed for the issuance of an FAA Flight Instructor Certificate (FARs and PTS).
  2. And do all this as quickly as humanly possible.

If it were not an accelerated program, then there would be just one objective, the # 1 above. So, now you may realize that an accelerated CFI training program is in fact dual objective, thereby demands commitment from everyone involved, and deliberate effort.

What to Expect

The CFI aeronautical knowledge portion (ground training) can easily take about 60 hours, and the skill (flight) portion is about 10 hours flight time plus pre and post flight briefings. So we can easily assume 20 hours for the flight portion. This adds up to about 80 hours (remember, its not the hours, its the successful transfer of information from instructor to student) of hard work. And we do all this in 2 weeks. With discipline and focus, this is an achievable task, and has been done many a times by many applicants ahead of you.

What Not to Expect

CFI certificate comes with a lot of responsibilities. Teaching others how to fly is not only fun, but challenging as well. And if not done properly can lead to undesirable events (and FAA actions, or more). Therefore, do not expect to get a sign-off from your instructor at the end of 2 weeks just because you have completed the 2 weeks and we said it would be 2 weeks. Read the 2 objectives above again. And also do not expect any FAA inspector or DPE to write you a temporary CFI certificate as well, just because you spent 2 weeks here with us in Sacramento.

What Helps

Even though it is not a requirement, try to come over with your CFI knowledge tests pass – both the Flight Instructor Airplane (FIA) and the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI). This will definitely help reducing your workload and gain more in the 2 weeks. We will have extra time to spend on other areas where you can use some extra help. You may also want to consider showing up here the weekend before the course start date (course starts Mondays, you show up here the Fridays before) and go through our CFI knowledge test prep course. 3 intensive days of FIA and FOI preparation, and by Monday you will have both the exams out of the way.

If you decide to prepare for these 2 exams on your own, and take the actual tests here at our location, just let us know ahead of time so we can arrange all that for you. All in all, it really helps if you have the tests out of the way before we begin.

CFI Academy’s Flight Instructor Course (CFI)

CFII as an Initial Issue Flight Instructor Certificate

Many a times we are asked by prospective flight instructor applicants if we provide the training for flight instructor instrument (CFII) as an initial issue.  The answer to this is “Yes we do”.

However, you should consider the fact that you may not be able to use this flight instructor certificate to provide much training to your students. Your training activity will be very limited, and you may not be able to teach anyone in any category or class of aircraft in flight! This is due to the recent re-wording of the FAR 61.195.

Instrument Instructor

14 CFR 61.195(b) – directs that a flight instructor may not conduct flight training in any aircraft for which he does not hold “a pilot certificate and flight instructor certificate with the applicable category and class rating…”

In other words, the flight instructor must have an ASE or an AME on his/her flight instructor certificate in addition to the ASEL and/or AMEL on his/her pilot certificate. Here is what the new revised 61.195(c), which became effective on October 21, 2009 says:

14 CFR 61.195(c) – states that a flight instructor who provides instrument training for the issuance of an instrument rating, a type rating not limited to VFR, or the instrument training required for commercial pilot and air transport pilot certificate must hold an instrument rating on his or her pilot certificate and flight instructor certificate that is appropriate to the category and class of aircraft used for the training provided.

So, the conclusion here is that yes, CFI Academy does train for CFII as an initial issue, and yes you can get a CFII as an initial issue, but consider the fact that you may not be able to use it in most cases for flight training. You will still need to get your CFI or MEI before you can start using your CFII initial issue for flight training.

 And Click here to download the FAA chief counsel’s legal interpretation about CFII teaching without a category or class rating.

So you want to be a CFI

So you want to be a CFI?

So you want to be a CFI?

I have always believed that the real learning begins when one starts teaching. Everybody has their own reasons as to why they want to be a CFI. There are some retired Air Force and Airline pilots, who want to become CFIs so they can share their professional expertise with the new aviators. Most younger newly certified Commercial Pilots want to get their CFI so they can get their foot in the door, and start building those “magic hours” and meet the airline hiring minimums. And then there are some others who simply want to get their CFI as a source of self-gratification and sense of professional development. There are other reasons as well.

However, no matter what your reason is, always remember, that the more “heart” you put into teaching others, the more you will learn yourself. The moment you stop improving yourself, as a flight instructor, you will stop getting better.

Here is a great article “So you want to be a CFI“. Click to download.

10 Ways to Renew you CFI

I am working on renewing my CFI certificate and associated ratings, which are about to expire on Nov 30. It is allowed to complete the renewal process and obtain a new CFI certificate within 3 months prior to the expiration date and still retain the original expiration date (Nov 30 in this case) 2 years down. There are 10 ways listed here to renew a CFI certificate, and at least 9 to renew before expiration. If the certificate is allowed to expire before renewal, then there is only one way; #1, by taking a practical test and get CFI Reinstatement done.

10 way to renew CFI
Renew your CFI

Take a practical test (checkride) – This method is usually used by someone whose CFI has already expired, but in any case, this method is still an available option to renew unexpired CFI certificate as well. Once a CFI certificate expires, you must pass a checkride for any one rating (CFI, CFII or MEI) on the CFI certificate and renew the certificate with all the rest of the ratings as well.
Take a practical test (checkride) for an additional CFI rating – If you do not have all the CFI ratings on your certificate, you can train and pass a checkride for an additional flight instructor rating; this will renew your CFI and associated ratings.
Maintaining and demonstrating via proper documentation, first time pass rate of at least 8o% out of a minimum of 5 recommendations for a practical test in the preceding 24 month period.
Serve as a check airman in part 91, 121, 133 and 135, demonstrating your experience evaluating other pilots may allow you to renew your CFI. Proper appointment credentials and logbook entries can be used to document such experience.
Attending and successfully completing industry sponsored Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC). There are numerous options in this category. One may attend and complete this course in person, or online.
Attending an FAA sponsored CFI workshop. Information and announcements about upcoming CFI workshops are made in most aviation print media, and at
Participating in FAA Wings program – A CFI may utilize FAA Wings Program for CFI renwal as well. Here are the requirements – (1) be a participant in FAA Wings Program, (2) Provide 15 hours of flight training to other participating pilots (3) Sign off at least 5 other pilots for their phase of this program.
Earn Gold Seal Certification – Maintain and demonstrate that you have over 80% first time practical test passes out of a minimum of 10 recommendations (sign-offs) in the preceding 24 calendar months. This will get you a gold seal and can also be used to renew a CFI certificate once in a life time.
Earn or renew Master CFI designation – Earning or renewing a Master CFI designation (there are 2 different programs for this) can also be used for renewal of a CFI certificate.
Renewal based on duties and responsibilities – In rare cases, an FAA inspector may allow a CFI to renew based on his/her duties and responsibilities within the FSDO’s jurisdiction and FAA inspector’s thorough and personal knowledge of your activities. FAA FAASTeam (Safety Team) Manager in your FSDO should be contacted and consulted.
First published in 2003 by Robert Jex, CFI

Foreign Flight Instructor conversion to FAA CFI

Foreign Flight Instructor

Received an email this morning from someone who holds a Flight Instructor certificate (or license) in Netherlands, and also has instructor privileges in the military in his country. He wanted to know if there is a way for him to convert his Netherlands flight instructor license to a US FAA CFI certificate.

The short answer to this is; No, there is no way to convert ANY country’s flight instructor license to a US FAA CFI certificate. There are no credits or exemptions available. And the vice-versa is true as well.

However, as there are no minimum number of ground or flight training hour requirement for a CFI certificate checkride in the US, you may end up spending much lesser time in preparation for an FAA CFI checkride. Your own knowledge and skill level will determine this.

Another thing one can do to expedite the CFI certificate preparation is Self Study. The more you come prepared yourself, the easier and faster the training would be. Aerodynamics, Weather, Navigation are examples of subject areas which are common between FAA and JAA and others.

CFII and MEI Combination Course

Note: If you do not have 15 hours PIC required to qualify for an MEI checkride, you definitely should consider our CFII plus MEI combo course. Instead of renting a multi-engine airplane to meet the MEI course pre-requisites, you can use this same 10 hours towards your CFII flight training.

CFII and MEI combination

CFII and MEI combo

This way you can better use the 10 hours multi-engine rental time (instead of just flying around), and save on renting a single engine for your CFII separately.

Airplane Rental cost comparison

The CFII course is 10 hours of SE airplane rental and the cost is $1100

The MEI course is 7 hours of ME airplane rental and the cost is $1750 (the pre-requisites is 10 hours ME PIC)

So, the total cost is $2850. The additional 10 hours of ME rental for time-building (special rate for CFI course students) is $250/hour, which is a total of $2500. This brings the total cost of CFII + MEI + 10 ME PIC to $5350.

The ground school and instruction time etc remain the same in any case, so we are not worrying about it here for this discussion.

Now, if someone were to get their CFII and MEI combo with CFI Academy, this would be the total cost:

Total 17 hours of ME airplane rental (for both CFII and MEI training) $4250

Plus 2 additional hours of flight instruction $100

Total cost of CFII + MEI + ME PIC time aircraft rental = $4350.


  • There is a savings of $1000 in airplane rental costs if someone does their CFII, MEI and the 10 hour ME PIC together as a combination course with us.
  • You obtain better value for the multi-engine time, and use the time to learn and practice instrument maneuvers and procedures in a multi-engine airplane.
  • At the end, you will be much more proficient in the multi-engine compared to if you were to do the courses individually.
  • Many DPEs will subsidize the cost of the checkride, i.e. your CFII and MEI checkride will be all in one checkride, so instead of paying for 2 separate checkrides, you just pay for enhanced one. Possibility of saving another $200 here.

If this is something you’d want to consider, and have any questions, or require more information, you should contact us right away.

CFI Expired? How to Reinstate it?

Many Pilots cum Flight Instructors, when they move on to the airlines business end up letting their CFI certificate expire. And then down the road when a need or the passion rekindles again, they realize that it has to be reinstated. So, the question arises: How do I go about renewing or reinstating my CFI certificate? Note that this discussion is about the expired flight instructor certificates. If yours has not expired yet, then you should also read the 10 ways to renew your CFI certificate.

Expired Flight Instructor
Expired CFI

Here is a list of few things you need to know about the expired flight instructor certificates, and how to reinstate them (or renew them):

  • Flight Instructor certificates expire every 24 calendar months. If not renewed before the expiration date, then you have to go through reinstatement procedure.
  • To reinstate a CFI certificate (irrespective of the ratings you have on it, i.e. CFII, MEI) you have to take a checkride with either an FAA DPE or an FAA Inspector. In either case, it is a checkride with oral and flight portion.
  • Most FSDOs have authorized DPEs who can conduct your CFI reinstatement checkride and upon successful completion issue you a new temporary CFI certificate with all the ratings you originally had on it. You can try getting a “free” checkride out of the FSDO inspector, but from my experience, it is very difficult. There is a reason why they have DPEs authorized for this purpose. But your mileage may vary from FSDO to FSDO.
  • You may take most of the CFI reinstatement checkride in a non-complex aircraft, but you will still have to do the takeoffs and landings, and emergency procedures in a complex aircraft. So if you are planning to go this route, make sure you have 2 aircraft available at the time/place of the checkride, and you are ready to prove the airworthiness of both aircraft, and that you have the POHs mastered for both aircraft as well.
  • The CFI reinstatement checkride will definitely cover the VFR maneuvers, like ground reference maneuvers, emergency procedures, slow flights and stall etc. Think about it, if you are going to get your CFI certificate back, you are getting all those privileges back as well. And we want you to be safe, so use this as an opportunity to brush up and get back in shape.
  • Now, if you are missing a rating on your expired CFI certificate, for instance, instrument airplane, or multi engine, then you may want to think about getting your CFII and/or MEI rating added on. This way you won’t have to take any reinstatement checkride, and your add-on rating checkride will get you your CFI certificate reinstated.

So, what is the best way to get the CFI reinstated?

  • Go find yourself a good flight instructor or a school  and go through some ground and flight training, take your CFI reinstatement checkride and you are done! This is the fastest and easiest way.
  • Before you schedule any training session, I would recommend that you read through the latest FAR/AIM sections pertinent to the CFI checkride, Airplane Flying Handbook (back to back), Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (back to back), Fundamentals of Instruction (back to back).
  • Also, if your instrument knowledge and skills have deteriorated, might as well review the Instrument Flying Handbook and get your knowledge up to the par.
  • The 2 steps that I stated above – this will make your and your instructor’s life easy, and save you a lot of time and money. It is recommended that you take a CFI Refresher Course (not required, but very helpful) online, or at some school (16 hours) to review all the knowledge as stated above.
  • For the ones who are missing a rating on the CFI certificate, your best bet is to simply get your CFII or MEI (and in some cases your single-engine add-on) ratings. Kill 2 birds with one stone.
  • Lastly, do not let this happen to you again! Even if you are not in teaching aviation business anymore.

Refer: 14 CFR 61.183 and 14 CFR 61.199

Weather Judgment – Go or No-Go

Judgment, often defined as the ability to arrive at a wise decision, is the combination of knowledge and skill, tempered by experience. Studies show that pilot judgment can, in large part, be learned, and that
learning process starts with sound pilot education. You can also improve your “Go or No-Go” weather judgment by setting personal weather minimums based on your level of training and experience. For instance, using a personal minima of 2,000 and five instead of the regulatory VFR minimums of 1,000 and three. You may then gradually reduce your personal minimums to whatever limits you find comfortable, at or above the legal limits. And while we are on the subject of pilot judgment, it is reasonably obvious that pilots can’t make good decisions based upon incomplete, or missing information. Knowing what is going on around you is called situational awareness. It is the combination of situational awareness and sound pilot judgment that is the key to safe flying.

Here are some safety-related “DON’Ts” for everyone – beginner and pro alike:

  • DON’T fly in or near thunderstorms. Scattered thunderstorms may be safely circumnavigated, but do not try to fly through or under one.
  • DON’T continue VFR into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Wait it out or turn around if you find enroute weather lowering below you personal limits.
  • DON’T forget there may be areas en route, or even near airports, which are below VFR minimums, even though reporting stations are at or near VFR minimums. Be especially cautious when the temperature and dew point spread is 3°C or less – fog may form.
  • DON’T proceed “on-top,” hoping to find a hole in the clouds at the other end, or hoping to get Air Traffic Control (ATC) to “talk you down” if you get caught on top. Allow more margin for weather at night. Scud, lower clouds, and even the horizon may be difficult or impossible to see on dark nights. And always stay above the highest terrain, until a safe landing is assured.
  • DON’T fly into areas of rain when the air temperature is near freezing. Ice can form on the windshield impairing forward vision and/or, worse, on the wings decreasing aircraft performance. Remember, flight into known icing conditions is prohibited for all aircraft not properly certificated for flight in icing conditions or not properly equipped with anti-icing equipment.

And finally, if you do get caught in weather, immediately contact Flight Watch or Flight Service or any available ATC facility. They will do their utmost to assist you.