“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
You’re probably familiar with this quote, from George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 stage play Man and Superman, which is often misquoted and directed at educators.
As a flight instructor, we must do and teach. What we must do is develop and demonstrate proper knowledge, skill, and decision-making capabilities in all aspects of our flying. What we must teach is that same knowledge, skill, and decision-making capability. The minimum requirements set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration do not change from person to person, so the million-dollar question becomes “How do we develop our students into safe and skilled aviators?”
First, we must be prepared to teach, and that is the purpose of the American Flyers 30-Day CFI Academy. The instruction you receive will not only prepare you to pass your flight instructor practical examination but to also re-enter the world of aviation as an effective instructor. What’s the difference between these two activities? The answer is simple: you can memorize the answers for the former, while the latter requires you to learn.
So what is learning? It’s a change in behavior as a result of experience. The experience of the 30-Day CFI Academy is about embracing the philosophy of being an instructor. As pilots, we have been taught specific knowledge, concepts, and skills that we use to fly. As an instructor, you will develop a deeper understanding of those same elements. That is the “change in behavior” in our definition of learning. Developing this understanding will prepare you to use your knowledge base and skill set to accurately answer questions that students ask and instill in them a culture of safety through teaching by example. Through this deeper understanding and teaching by example, you will have developed a solid foundation on which to craft your students into safe, capable aviators.
This brings us to our next point – the actual development of a deeper understanding. You will accomplish this in the 30-Day CFI Academy by attending classroom lectures, participating in workshops with your classmates, practicing what you have learned in the simulator, and perfecting your newly-obtained teaching skills in the airplane. This reflects not only the educational philosophy of American Flyers, but it will set both you and your future students up for success.
How does this work? Introducing knowledge-based material in the classroom sets the stage for discussion in guided workshop sessions. These workshops will allow you to hone your teaching in both technical subject areas and practical skills. Aeronautical engineer and science-fiction author Robert Heinlein once said, “When one teaches, two learn.” Practicing in these workshops and simulator sessions with your classmates not only furthers your teaching ability but saves time and money throughout your training. Nowhere is this more evident than in the final step of the process – the flying. Though the maneuvers and procedures are similar, this is not merely a rehash of your commercial pilot training and practical examination. The critical difference is that not only will you be flying the airplane in accordance with commercial pilot airman certification standards, but you will also be teaching each skill. In other words, you will demonstrate what to do, explain how to do it, and, most importantly, pass along the understanding of why it is done.
In conclusion, and in contrast to the quote we started with, what you do in the 30-Day CFI Academy will enable you to better teach the next generation of aviators. It is true that becoming a flight instructor is often just one step on the path of an aviation career. However, regardless of where that path leads, consider the following quote from Aristotle as you commence your flight instructor training: “Those who know, do; those who understand, teach.”
American Flyers in Houston, Texas will be adding the 15-Day CFI-A and 30-Day CFI-A/CFI-I Academy beginning July 18th, 2023 on the same schedule as other American Flyers’ locations around the country. For more information about the American Flyers CFI Academy visit www. americanflyers.com/CFI.