Flight Instructor

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Flight Instructor


We use air transport for everything. We use planes for vacations, jets for acts of war, helicopters to take skiers up to the tops of mountains. We fly food and clothing to victims of natural disasters and violence. Planes and helicopters are used all over the world, and come in large and small sizes. We rely on them for so much. The people who fly them know this, and are highly skilled at flying big and small craft through any number of weather conditions and to any number of locations.

Pilots wouldn't exist, however, without the patient, expert staff at flying schools. Flight instructors teach pilots how to fly. They teach in classrooms, outside with remote-controlled aircrafts, in-flight simulators and in aircraft, teaching everything from safety procedures to route planning. They teach theory, as well as practical skills.

Flight instructors have a crucial role to play when it comes to air transport. If instructors are consistently serious, dedicated, and responsible workers who take their jobs seriously, then the pilot who takes you to Hawaii this winter will be a good pilot. Many accidents are avoided and mishaps corrected because of the skill and dedication of a well trained pilot.
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Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • BS: Aviation (Professional Pilot)
  • BS: Aviation Maintenance Management



  Interests and Skills  
Flight instructors need to have good technical, teaching, communication, and people skills. They need to be proficient English speakers, but a grasp of other languages is important, as well. They should be interested in safety, and feel comfortable explaining and following rules and protocol. Flight instructors should be interested in the science of flight, and be able to explain it. They must be mature, responsible, and patient, as well as positive. They must be able to remain alert at all times. It is important that flight instructors react calmly and rationally under pressure. They need a good level of fitness, hand-eye coordination, and good eyesight with normal color vision.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Conduct pre-flight checks on aircraft and weather with students
  • Establish goals for students to achieve during lessons
  • Instruct skills needed for flights on land and in the air
  • Teach students how to fly by navigating by sight and navigating with instruments
  • Explain importance of aviation rules
  • Test the skills and knowledge of students
  • Teach beginner and advanced pilots about new types of equipment and aircraft
  • Take care of any administrative duties
  • Supervise staff
  • The typical day for a flight instructor involves a lot of working with students, in class room settings and in the air. They must always preplan lessons and then follow them to the letter--when teaching flying it is important the instructor follow established protocol and rules when teaching students. Flight instructors get to meet a number of people, but rarely get to travel. There is some work out doors, usually in good weather.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Flight instructors work for flight clubs, flying schools, and the military. They spend a lot of time in the air, working in cramped cockpits and helicopters. They usually work when the weather is good, and work on land during windy or cloudy days. They work about 40 hours a week, often on weekends or in the evening. They work alone, or alongside an assistant instructor. They may work in classrooms, and with flight simulation machines.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Flight instructors can start up their own flying school, or they can return to work as pilots, and work for small, charter companies or fly with major airlines. They can fly personal jets or company planes, or become test pilots or helicopter pilots. Some may choose to join the military and use their skills to deliver food, supplies, or other forms of relief aid, as well as weapons. They can stop flying, and become air traffic controllers, or write about their experiences.

  Educational Paths  
In order to work as a flight instructor in the USA, a commercial, helicopter, or airline pilot's license is required before training to be an instructor. See the aircraft pilot profile or the helicopter pilot profile for that information.

Once pilots are licensed you must return to a private flight school to get your Class IV license. Class IV instructors work under the supervision of senior instructors--they only move up the ranks if their students pass--with flying colors, that is.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • BS: Aviation (Professional Pilot)
  • BS: Aviation Maintenance Management

Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools are distinguished institutes committed to the education and personal enrichment of each student interested in the Aviation Industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician

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