How to Get Your CFI Back And This Time Keep It


By Steven Daun, National Chief Pilot

At some point during your quest to earn your pilot certificates and ratings, you will most likely, like many other pilots, realize that you need an efficient way to build your hours and experience. Some people fly banners while other fly pipeline patrol or hundreds of different creative hour-building scenarios.

But most choose to earn their flight instructor ratings. Becoming a flight instructor is as much of an achievement as earning your other certificates and ratings combined. It’s not only challenging, but it requires an increased depth of knowledge in all of the private, instrument, and commercial subject areas.

As with anything, some people do the bare bone minimum to just “get the ticket,” while others invest time and effort into developing lesson plans and learning how to teach technical subjects effectively. An instructor invests an average of $10,000 to earn their CFI certificates. Add in the checkride fees and time, and that number goes even higher. So why do so many people let their CFI certificates expire?

Over the past thirty years, I have heard people explain that they didn’t know what their expiration date was, or they forgot to renew, or they never thought that they would ever need to teach again. These explanations always surprise me because it seems that they have the attitude that this is a sizable investment for a short term commodity. How can that be?

The answer is simple. Life happens. Demands at work and home allow for very little time to take a 16-hour course. As we get older, the thought of taking a class and a test becomes less appealing, and many people find many different reasons for not renewing. That is until they decide that they want to teach their spouse or child how to fly, or they retire and want to get back into flying. Today more than ever, we are seeing more and more flying jobs requiring a CFI.

So whatever your reason may have been for letting your CFI expire, don’t worry. We have you covered. The good news is that you won’t have to retake your written exams. We can train you to proficiency, and you can take a reinstatement check ride with a DPE. Your other option is to add a new instructor rating. So if you don’t have your instrument instructor or multi-engine instructor rating, you can add one of those and your expired CFI will be reinstated. Either option can be completed in just a few days.

Once you have had your CFI reinstated, you may want to think twice before letting it expire again. American Flyers offers a “FIRC For Life” program. You pay a one-time fee of $99 and renew your CFI at no cost for the rest of your life. We will even send you reminders that your expiration date is getting close.

When thinking about the renewal process, don’t get overwhelmed. Yes, it’s 16 hours, but you can split that up over three months. That means you only need to invest 5.3 hours each month, and you will keep your CFI current. That is less than 15 minutes each day.

Remember, you have worked hard to earn your CFI. With a little planning, you can avoid letting your certificate expire