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Flight Instructor Certificate, Airplane Single Engine (CFI-A)
You will have to pass two FAA knowledge exams (Fundamentals of Instruction and Flight Instructor Airplane). During the practical training you will learn to fly the airplane to commercial pilot standards from the right seat, to explain and demonstrate the various private and commercial maneuvers, and to recognize and critique common mistakes while your flight instructor plays the part of a student. If you have just recently obtained your commercial pilot certificate, all the maneuvers should still be fresh in your mind and the training will typically involve about 15 to 20 hours of dual instruction in the Piper Arrow, at $119.24 per hour, as well as 40 to 60 hours of ground school at $35.00 per hour. The ground school will cover such areas as preparing lesson plans, explaining the various subjects you will have to be able to teach, as well as flight instructor responsibilities and other regulatory requirements.
The total cost of your flight instructor single engine rating will be about $3400.00 to $4500.00, provided you are current with all the maneuvers required in the private and commercial pilot practical test standard. The training will take about 3 to 5 weeks, and will also involve a large amount of self study and preparation of lesson plans. If it has been a long time since you took your commercial flight test and all the maneuvers have to be re-learned, you should plan on possibly up to an additional 5 hours of dual instruction at $119.24 per hour, and allow one additional week for the training. If, on the other hand you have just recently completed your single engine commercial training with Prairie Air Service, Inc. it will probably take slightly less flying time since you will already be familiar with the airplane.
We frequently have more than one customer working on his or her flight instructor certificate at the same time. In this case the ground school will be conducted in group sessions and the cost of the instructor will be shared, which will reduce the cost for each CFI student.
Initial Flight Instructor Flight Tests
Since 1988 the FAA policy has been that all initial flight instructor flight tests shall be conducted only by FAA inspectors at FAA field offices. If a field office frequently experiences a backlog of 15 days or longer that office is then authorized to designate examiners for initial CFI certification. The Wichita FAA Flight Standards District Office does not meet the 15 day backlog requirement and therefore cannot issue initial instructor examining authority to designated instructor examiners. They do allow examiners to conduct only flight tests for additional instructor ratings or CFI renewal or re-instatement. The Oklahoma City FSDO on the other hand does meet the 15 day requirement and there are several designated examiners in the Oklahoma City district (primarily in the Tulsa area) who are authorized to conduct initial CFI flight tests, and who can be scheduled with just a few days prior notice.
You therefore have two choices for your initial CFI flight test: You can take it free of charge at the Wichita FSDO, or if we are unable to get an appointment in Wichita you can take it with a designated examiner in the Oklahoma City district. Since the initial CFI flight test is quite time consuming, the examiners charge between $ 400.00 and $ 500.00. You can take the initial CFI flight test with a designated pilot examiner only if you are not able to schedule an appointment with the Wichita FSDO. The Wichita FSDO has to give permission for you to take the initial CFI flight test out of district.
The most cost effective way is to schedule your CFI flight test with the Wichita FSDO, and if for any reason the scheduled appointment does not work out (bad weather, or your training is completed ahead or behind schedule), you can take the test with an examiner in the Oklahoma City district. The Wichita FAA FSDO usually has about a 2 week backlog for scheduling CFI flight tests, and a canceled flight test due to bad weather may lead to another one week delay. It is however also frequently possible to get an appointment at the Wichita FSDO on very short notice (such as next day) due to a cancellation. There is no charge for the flight test itself, but the airplane rental for the flight test will be an additional 2 – 3 hours at $ 84.24 per hour.
If you have to take the flight test with a designated examiner in the Oklahoma City district, you will be charged only for the direct operating cost of the plane ($ 40.00 per hour) for the approx. 2 hour round trip to Tulsa; the flight test itself will be billed at the regular $ 84.24 hourly rate. As mentioned above, the examiner's fee will be $ 400.00 to $ 500.00.
We should also mention that theoretically the Oklahoma City FSDO could terminate the initial CFI examining authority in their district at any time, in which case all initial CFI flight tests in our area will once again have to be taken at an FAA FSDO.
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