Every month at 3 of our locations— Morristown, New Jersey; Addison, Texas; and Pompano Beach, Florida—groups of students gather together to help each other become Certified Flight Instructors (CFI’s). We call this our very own CFI Academy. We offer a 15-day CFI-A Academy (only in Morristown) and 30-day combined CFI-I and CFI-A Academy in Addison and Pompano Beach. The idea for the Academy began over 35 years ago and since then, we have proudly trained over 10,000 CFI’s!
When our Academy began, we were the only flight school that offered a 30-day condensed CFI course. Other schools have tried to copy our design over time, but our success has never been duplicated. The main objective of our CFI Academy is straightforward: we teach students how to be well-prepared aviation instructors.
Students typically begin their day with one of our senior instructors for a 3 to 4-hour classroom session. In the afternoon, they typically spend time flying, working in the simulator or practicing teaching with their fellow classmates. Practice teaching is where they begin to gain confidence. The best students are the ones that allow themselves to be vulnerable from day one. These students are not concerned about saying the wrong things, rather, they’re open and honest and allow other students to critique their presentation. While enrolled, you will be fully immersed in education along with your fellow classmates and will benefit from the group’s collective experiences. Here, students learn together and lean on each other because we strongly believe that we all have something to learn from each other. In short, the camaraderie of your academy will help you learn faster and retain the information more effectively.
The course has a few prerequisites: each student must have each of their written exams completed, their spin flight must be completed (we can schedule this before the class begins), and they must have a valid single-engine commercial certificate. Having the written exams completed prior to arrival is a huge advantage. Just think, during the academy you are flying from the right seat, working on teaching the very maneuvers you learned during your commercial training, and are busy working on your lesson plans. Surely, the last thing you want to worry about is studying for a written exam!
Over the years, we have changed a few things because change is essential in success. We’ve added more classroom time, more one-on-one ground, added dual simulators, as well as additional flight time. The changes have ensured that 80% of Academy students achieve their sign-offs by the end of the Academy. More importantly, our first-time pass rate over the past 35 years is 90%!
Once the Academy is over, each student is given the opportunity to interview for a flight instructor position at American Flyers. With 6 locations throughout the United States, we are always looking for motivated and passionate instructors that enjoy teaching.
Instructors are amazing people, the next time you see one, thank them for their dedication to the industry.