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 www.faasafety.gov.
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

How do I get a replacement Knowledge Test Result

Did you lose your knowledge test result?

Lost CFI knowledge test result
Well, you should have kept it in a safer place to begin with. Anyways, this is how you can get a replacement one from the FAA –
Complete the Application for lost or destroyed knowledge test report and mail it to the FAA, OR
Simply write a letter requesting for a replacement report including –
Name
Date of Birth
Social Security Number
Type of Test
Date you took the test
Also, include a money order or cashier’s check payable to “FAA” for $1.00
Mail this to –
Federal Aviation Administration
Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125-0082
FAA will mail you a replacement test report copy.

Multi Engine Checkrides – DPE not required type specific LOA

Until recently, we used to have this one problem that was a nightmare to deal with. A student would show up with his/her own multi engine airplane and would ask us to train in their airplane for the CFI, CFII or MEI, or even a commercial/flight instructor combination course. In any case, the training had to be conducted in the applicant’s own multi engine airplane.
The training was never an issue. As a flight instructor with a multi engine rating, we are authorized to teach in any make/model if a light twin airplane, provided we have at least 5 hours PIC time in that make/model of airplane. With so many years of teaching in various airplanes, we usually have just about all the light twin airplanes in our logbooks, with 5 hours minimum under the PIC column. And every now and then, if a new one shows up anyways, nothing to worry. We are always so excited to learn and fly another “new” light twin anyways.
The problem that’d show up was, not being able to find a DPE who would have a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the FAA to conduct a checkride in that make/model. Now, we’d just be stuck at the mercy of the local FSDO to schedule a ride with one of their inspectors (and with the current short staffed situation), which could be as long as a month or more in the future!
The DPEs had to obtain an LOA for each make/model; by demonstrating their skills to an FAA inspector in flight, in each make/model of light twin they wanted to conduct a checkride in. And then do an annual proficiency check in each make/model (on a rotating schedule) with the FAA. This process would discourage DPEs from having more than 2 or 3 makes/models on their LOA at any given time.
Now, their LOA allows then to conduct a checkride in ALL light twins! At last the issue is rest to peace, and the lawmakers have realized that they can look elsewhere to prevent accidents and increase safety.

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.

Foreign Flight Instructor conversion to FAA CFI

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.

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.

What is an Accelerated CFI Training Course

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 towards one 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.

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.

Student or 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.

12 Most Common Mistakes on FAA 8710 form

Now is the time to finally go for your check-ride and you, along with your CFI, go over the checklist in the PTS and one of the requirements is a completed 8710-1 form.  Although there is an explanation on what to put in each block, there is sometimes confusion and some how applications still get kicked back from the DPE, local FSDO, or Oklahoma.

Checking the wrong/incorrect Application Information Boxes

Check ALL the boxes that apply for your checkride. There is no limit to how many boxes you can check in this section, so do not hesitate and be as accurate as possible.

Not using “NMN” in block A, if there is no middle name

If you do not have a middle name, use NMN, i.e. no middle name. If you have more than one middle name, pick one – the one that you picked for your medical certificate.

Forgetting name suffixes such as Jr, II, III, etc

If you have a name suffix, use it. Hint: copy your name from your medical certificate exactly as it is.

Not entering eight digits for dates, i.e. July 9th, 1925 should be 07-09-1925 and not 7-9-1925 or 7-9-25

Dates on all FAA documents are now standardized to 8 digit format. Anything else would cause for your application to be rejected.

Not entering Height in inches, i.e. 5’8” should be 68” and weight in pounds, lbs

For this application, all the heights are in inches and the weights are in pounds. Again, you can simple copy it from your medical as is. No feet and no kilograms.

Not spelling out the color when describing hair and eyes

Can not abbreviate this area. Black is not BLK and Brown is not BRN. Use complete spelling.

Entering wrong grade of pilot certificate

Enter your current pilot certificate held – the one you are holding in your hands right now. And student pilot certificate IS a pilot certificate, at least on one side. The other side is the medical certificate. And for the CFI’s, be careful to check the expiration dates of the medical and the student pilot certificate separately.

Nationality should be the country name, i.e. India instead of Indian and China instead of Chinese

A very common mistake. Use the country name here.

Entering the wrong class of medical.  It should be the class shown on the medical certificate

And the correct way is 3rd and not third.

Your Social Security Number

There are only 2 correct choices here: NONE if you do not have one, DO NOT USE if you do not want to use it on this application.

And CFI signatures, name and number should be valid one

Sign your name, in blue ink preferably, like all other professionals do on legal original documents. Write your name as it appears on your pilot and CFI certificate. And make sure that your CFI number ends with CFI, and not with CFII or MEI.