Choosing a flight instructor

As trainee’s we all need someone we trust to teach us how to fly, in this post we will go over choosing a flight instructor.

G-BOYB and instructors

From my time flying, there are 3 distinct groups that flight instructors fall into each with different positives and negatives which we will go over.

  1. Career flight instructors – In this group you have the good and the bad. You will have people who are very passionate about teaching and you will meet people who over the years have become a bit jaded or fed up with teaching. If you can find one who loves teaching they will have a lot of knowledge built up over the years that they can pass to you.
    They will have also taught a LOT of students so they should be able to recognise what you are struggling with and have multiple ways of helping you overcome it.
  2. Time builders who love to teach – These are generally going to be new instructors with a maximum of a few years experience. They are here solely to build hours before moving on to the airlines, however they also show a genuine interest in teaching and seeing their students progress.
    In this group you can find some good teachers but just be aware that should an airline job come up, they will be off and you may have to find a new instructor.
  3. Time builders who hate it – This is the group that you should avoid. They generally do not want to be flying around in a small aircraft and are really focused on how many hours they are building rather than your progress.
    I have found that they are not as proactive in taking an interest in your training as the other two groups and are simply there as they believe it will help them into an airline job.

    The best way to see what somebody is like is to fly with them, you don’t have to accept your lessons with the first instructor who answered the phone when you called. If you don’t get on with someone, try somebody else. The student / instructor relationship is very important and this person will give you the foundation of everything you do going forward.

Thinking of training via the modular route? Or started and still have questions? Then read The Essential Modular Flight Training Guide.

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4 thoughts on “Choosing a flight instructor”

  1. Unfortunately for me I had the 3rd category of instructing and my PPL was honestly a nightmare. Thankfully I switched to the first category of instructor towards the end of my PPL and it made a HUGE difference.

    If you feel like something is not right and you are not making the progress you believe you should be then definitely switch instructor and dont make the same mistake I made by hoping things would turn around because they wont unless you change instructor.

    • I’m sorry to hear you got stuck with the last group Gianluca. However at least you changed. I have seen many people who have stuck with this type of instructor and burned through a lot of cash before finally accepting a change was needed.

      • The only positive I can take from it is that it was a learning experience, an expensive lesson but at least I will be more wise to any situation like that which I may find myself in the future.

        The PPL is the most important part of the training and to be stuck with someone who is not interested in teaching you and taking every shortcut possible can be really disheartening to deal with.

        I finished on 68 hours and watching my friends finish with 50-55 hours was a tough pill to swallow. You just have to remember it’s your money that you are spending so if you feel like it’s not what you expected just change.

        • That is what most people don’t realise, it is your money and you can spend it in the way you see fit to get the best value.
          As you say it won’t happen again and you learned from it.

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