The Federal Aviation Regulations require that candidates for pilot certificates, ratings or endorsements receive a certain amount of training, both in the air and on the ground, in order to obtain that certificate. CFIs are responsible for teaching pilots how to fly as well as ensuring that certificated pilots maintain their proficiency.


Provide required training for private pilot, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor candidates

Endorse private pilot, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor candidates to take FAA oral and practical exams

Provide required training and endorsements for pilots seeking complex and/or high performance endorsements

Conduct biennial flight reviews for certificated pilots


You must possess a commercial certificate in order to become a flight instructor. You must also successfully complete the Flight Instructor Airplane and Fundamentals of Instructing written examinations. The various requirements necessary to prepare a flight instructor candidate vary based on the individual’s level of experience. The following breakdown is a conservative estimate based on prior candidates, but please be aware that this is only an ESTIMATE:

Ground (20–25 Hours):

Ground lessons are a major component of flight instructor training. You and your instructor will cover everything set forth in the Certified Flight Instructor Practical Test Standards, which essentially requires you to learn how to teach everything set forth in the Private and Commercial Practical Test Standards. You are not only required to possess a solid understanding of all principles, but you must also be able to teach these principles to students, therefore this training will include curriculum planning.

Flight (Right Seat Experience 10 – 15 Hours; No Right Seat Experience 20 Hours)

The flight portion of this training directly relates to everything you discussed in your ground lessons. You will be required to fly all maneuvers from the right seat within the parameters set forth in the Practical Test Standards. You must also be able to clearly explain how to perform these maneuvers while doing so. The final flight portion of the Certified Flight Instructor training is the spin endorsement.