The CFI Shortage is Here

Flight Instructor Shortage

Is there a Certified Instructor Pilot (CFI) pilot shortage? This has been a hotly debated topic for some time, particularly after the enactment of new Air Transport Pilot (ATP) rules requiring airline pilots to have more hours of flight instructor experience. Major airlines, like Delta and American Airline, have, in large part, continues unscathed by labor shortages.

Why not? Because they simply hire away pilots from regional airlines and Part 135 cargo carriers. Regionals have felt the shortage, increasing pay and bonuses rapidly just to keep routes services. But a pilot does not start his career at the regional airlines; most pilots’ first job is flight instruction. Is there a shortage of CFI’s as well?

What is a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)?

Let’s start by looking at what a certified flight instructor is.

A certified flight instructor is a professional pilot and operates as the backbone of the aviation community. As former aviation students, they are equipped with the experience necessary to pass on their knowledge and expertise to new, prospective pilots-in-training.

Different Types of CFIs

There are a few different types of flight instructors. They include:

  • Certified Flight Instructors (CFI) – A flight instructor for single-engine aircraft.
  • Certified Flight Instructors – Instrument (CFII) – a flight instructor that teaches instrument flying.
  • Multi-engine Instructor (MEI) – A flight instructor for multi-engine aircraft.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to become a flight instructor, there are eligibility requirements. The first is applicants must be 18 years old. The next requirements can range from holding a Commercial Pilot (CP) certificate or Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. Certified flight instructors must also pass two additional written exams.

Understanding the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Shortage

First, let’s take a quick step back and review the typical pilot career path:

  1. Learning to fly (Private, Instrument, Commercial, Flight Instructor)
  2. Teaching others to fly (building hours and experience now required by the FAA for airline pilots)
  3. A regional airline pilot (SkyWest, Republic Airlines, Envoy, Endeavor)
  4. A major airline pilot (Delta, American Airlines, United)

“We’re seeing a shortage manifest itself at step number three”, regional airlines, as Forbes, Bloomberg, and numerous industry publications have pointed out. Regional airlines have hired all the flight instructors they can and are still short of pilots.

Because pilots need the necessary 1,000-2,000 hours of flight experience necessary to be hired for regional and major airlines, they often become flight instructors. However, with the desperate need for pilots, regional airlines have increased wages and benefits which has inadvertently led to pilots skipping over the flight instructor path.

How Flight Instructor Schools are Affected

Without experienced flight instructors, flight schools have to limit the number of applicants. The flight instructor shortage has put a pin in the proper routine for pilots.

Pilots-in-training can’t be trained, thus eventually leading to a shortage in pilots.

Why Become a Flight Trainer?

Flight instructors are an incredibly crucial part of aviation. Their hard work, experience, and dedication to their craft never goes unnoticed.

Flight instructors, while technically teachers, also continue to learn more about aviation than pilots who never become CFIs. This is because they’re learning from their students and getting hands on experience that will ultimately make them more hirable and more knowledgeable.

Flight Instructor for Hire

Looking to become a pilot?

Apply today for a chance to become a pilot and join the elite force of aviation specialists. You’ll learn from experienced flight specialists and eventually get the opportunity to become one!

US Aviation Academy can work with you on financial aid, specialized programs, and flight instruction.

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