See and Avoid

This morning I met with the Sacramento FSDO’s FAA FAAST Team manager. He seemed really excited about the FAAST Team and it’s programs and agenda. And of course I was there to see him as I found myself really excited about their new website and the much awaited automation and multi-media support and training material available to the Flight Instructors and Pilots.
He mentioned something about “See and Avoid” concept. And like a ritual, I told him I knew about the concept, and am familiar with the AC, and I do include this in our training curricula here at the CFI Academy.
Later today, I decided to go visit the website again. And there on the right bottom corner, I saw this link saying “See and Avoid”. So I click on it – and there it was! An amazing, fully interactive, and seemingly real time map of the United States, with ALL of the Special Use AIRSPACE, and accident data and statistics.
Here is the link to the See and Avoid –

Spin or No Spin for CFI initial Re-test

I have been meaning to write about this topic for a while now. Even though I think about Stall/Spin instructional proficiency each time I am teaching and signing off a new CFI initial applicant, but these 2 incidents below still intrigue me, and make me wonder which one was a correct interpretation of the FARs:
In late 90’s when I got my CFI initial, I failed Turning Power ON Stall in-flight maneuver. Not going into details of why I failed; I had to go up with the FSDO inspector in a Cessna 152 aircraft to demonstrate instructional proficiency in Stalls and Spins, as required by 14 CFR 61.183 (i)(2).
In early 2000’s I had a student who was not able to satisfactorily teach spins on the ground to another FSDO inspector (different FSDO). I think he did a fine job, but at the end of the day, the inspector was not satisfied, so the applicant failed in the Stall and Spin area. I gave additional training to the applicant, and flew with him as well, and sent him to the inspector for an in-flight spin test. The inspector refused to do the test in the airplane, and said that he can test the applicant on the ground and does not need to fly and observe in-flight spin entry/recovery etc.
Here is the excerpt from the relevant FAR (14 CFR 61.183):
“Demonstrate instructional proficiency in stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery procedures. However, upon presentation of the endorsement specified in paragraph (i)(1) of this section an examiner may accept that endorsement as satisfactory evidence of instructional proficiency in stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery procedures for the practical test, provided that the practical test is not a retest as a result of the applicant failing the previous test for deficiencies in the knowledge or skill of stall awareness, spin entry, spins, or spin recovery instructional procedures. If the retest is a result of deficiencies in the ability of an applicant to demonstrate knowledge or skill of stall awareness, spin entry, spins, or spin recovery instructional procedures, the examiner must test the person on stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery instructional procedures in an airplane or glider, as appropriate, that is certificated for spins;”
The first FSDO’s interpretation was that the applicant has to be tested, and the test has to be in an airplane that is certificated for spins, and the “as appropriate” in the FAR is there as a distinction between an airplane or a glider. The second FSDO’s interpretation was that the test can be done either in an aircraft, or on the ground, and the “as appropriate” is there to give the inspector/dpe that discretion.
Personally, I believe that the first FSDO’s interpretation is correct. And here is some more information about Spin Training for CFI initial Training and Checkride.

CFI to teach in a Sea Plane

So what does it take for a Flight Instructor (CFI) to teach in a sea plane or amphibious airplane? Is there any special or additional training requirements? Any CFI certificate endorsement required?
The answer is simple; you are allowed to teach in any single engine airplane for which you hold pilot privileges. Your CFI certificate says – “Airplane Single Engine”. Your pilot certificate (commercial pilot) reads – “Airplane single engine land, Airplane single engine sea”. In this case you can teach in both the land and sea single engine airplanes.

Piper Cub on Floats
In other words, if you already hold a commercial pilot and a flight instructor (CFI) certificate, and you go get a single engine sea add-on rating on your commercial pilot certificate, you are authorized to teach in a sea plane or an amphibious airplane.

Social Security Number and CFI Certificate Number

Your CFI certificate number is in fact your pilot certificate number ending with CFI. And no it does not end with a CFII or MEI, read my post about that as well. I got an email yesterday from a CFI, nicknamed Kazoo, asking me the following question:
Its been years since I’ve taught and in that time I had signed a
number of log books using my SS#/Certificate. Do you folks know of
others who were able to change their SS# at the SS administration
using this as a case for a change?
And here is my best shot at answering this question:
I have been a CFI since 1999, so I am in the same boat (airplane) as you. I had been using my SS#, which was also my “Pilot Certificate” number, and was a part of my CFI certificate number, as the CFI certificate number is your pilot certificate number plus “CFI” at the end.
I have singed dozens, if not more, logbooks using this SS# + CFI.
I did try with the Social Security Administration, I think back in 2003, to use this particular case as a reason to change my SS# and get a new one.
The SSA guys told me that it is not a good enough reason. They said, if I can prove that my SS# has been “misused”, or “pirated”, only then they can issue me a new SS#.
Obviously, SSA and FAA do not fall under the same department, hence there is no mutual “working” relationship.
So, in your case Kazoo, I suggest that if you have not already done so, fill out the FAA form to change your Pilot Certificate number from your SS# to a randomly generated pilot certificate number, and at the same time change your CFI number as well.
However, if your flight instructor certificate is expired, you would not be able to change it until you reinstate your CFI certificate. Reinstating a CFI certificate is easy, and in many cases takes just about a week.
And if you feel like someone has misused your SS# from the pilot logbooks that you signed off back in the days, then this is something you would have to prove to the SSA. If you are able to get a new SS# from the SSA, please do all of us a favor and write a comment here so others can benefit from it as well.
P.S. – from my past experiences with the SSA, if one office does not understand your situation, try a different one.
Looking forward to hear back from you, either way.

Yohan Bathiya

I have been wanting to write about some of the most determined and focused students that I have ever had in my career as a Flight Instructor teaching new CFI applicants for a while now. There are many, but I have to start off somewhere. So this is the first one of the series. Yohan Bathiya. Yohan is a senior first officer with American Eagle Airlines. He is originally from Sri Lanka.
I came across Yohan back in 1998-1999. He was a student at a flight school that I used to work for; Wings International. I was a newly certified flight instructor at the time, but was teaching/mentoring other new flight instructors as well. Yohan’s instructor was Anura Mundanayake, also from the same country. As this post is about Yohan, and not Anura, so let’s continue on talking about Yohan here.
One thing that we all have to understand here is that I know a lot more than I can share here. There are privacy policies, common courtesies, and things of that nature. So, please bear with me, and try to read between the lines and connect the dots yourself.
Yohan, like many others, had a dream, and a lot of determination. I remember the glow in his eyes every time I ran across him, and that was just about every single morning. He had no clue about the path, or the journey, but he very much knew what his destination was…to be an airline pilot, no matter what it takes!
And guess what, he did everything that it took to achieve that dream of his. I remember, Yohan used to show up sometimes in the evening with a pizza at my flight school, the occasional “free” pizza bonus that pizza delivery guys get every now and then. The thing to note here is that he would bring his free pizza in to share with his instructors, friends, and future students! Well, he didn’t have to…but he did.
And then Yohan went through a lot more, but he kept his focus and continued on with his persistence, and determination. 10 years later, he is a senior first officer with American Eagle, is a US citizen and has traveled half of the countries in the world. Am I proud of him, heck yea! How about his parents, his siblings, his instructors, and his students? Of course they all are.
As a matter of fact, Yohan’s students are the ones who are the most proud of him. Dave Tillet is one! And then there are dozens more that I know of.
Guys, the deal is that if you want it bad enough, you can have it. This is how the aviation works, and always has. How bad you want it is the key. Yohan went from Student Pilot to an Airline Pilot in 5 years, and that is quite an achievement, at least in my books!
Eventually, Yohan did his CFI, CFII and MEI with me, and then ended up working for me as a Flight Instructor for a while, and he was a great asset to my company as he is now for his present employer. He knew that he had to give before he takes!

Cory Lidle’s Cirrus SR-22 crash into a Manhattan Skyscraper

Cory Lidle was a New York Yankees pitcher, a private pilot and an aircraft owner. His Cirrus SR-22 crashed into a Manhattan skyscraper in October 2006, and on board with him was an FAA Certified Flight Instructor Tyler Stanger. There are a few videos attached with this post, for educational purposes, so we can learn how Human Factors play such a disastrous role in General Aviation accidents. 2 qualified pilots, one being a flight instructor, and a technically advanced aircraft – in controlled airspace – and in VFR conditions (marginal).
Here is the NTSB report excerpt:
On October 11, 2006, about 1442 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus Design SR20, N929CD, operated as a personal flight, crashed into an apartment building in Manhattan, New York City, while attempting to maneuver above the East River. The two pilots on board the airplane, a certificated private pilot who was the owner of the airplane and a passenger who was a certificated commercial pilot with a flight instructor certificate, were killed. One person on the ground sustained serious injuries, two people on the ground sustained minor injuries, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post-crash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
You can read the full report on NTSB’s site by clicking here. NTSB reported the probable cause as:
The pilots’ inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship in the performance of a 180º turn maneuver inside of a limited turning space.

During your CFI course, we will cover the human factors, pilot errors and simple but critical flight maneuvers, like 180 degree power off turns, and chandelles. It is the responsibility of the CFI to not only teach the flight maneuvers properly, but to also develop the correct and safe attitude in his or her students.

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.

Spin Training for CFI applicants

If you are working towards getting your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate, one of the requirements to be eligible is to have received and logged training time, in-flight, on stall / spin awareness, spin recognition, spin entry and spin recovery techniques. Refer 14 CFR 61.183(i). This training time has to be logged, and a logbook endorsement specific to the successful completion and achievement of instructional proficiency in this area has to be in placed in your logbook.

Many flight training schools do not conduct this training in-house, and the reason being, hard to find qualified and proficient flight instructors who can confidently provide this training. At CFI Academy, not only this training is provided in-house in our own aircraft and by our own qualified CFIs, but it is included in your CFI Course at no extra cost. In other words, no matter what or how long it takes for us to train you to be proficient in this required spin proficiency, there will not be any extra charges for you to pay.

The only exception is when you are over 200 lbs in weight, and then you may have to pay a little bit of extra just to cover the difference in the rental price for a bigger airplane.

Spin training is fun, enjoyable, and will add a lot of confidence in your own piloting skills.