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Becoming a Flight Instructor


Reasons to become a Flight Instructor

by Daniel Hadler

Becoming a Flight Instructor is one of many options available to a Commercial Pilot. Anyone can undertake an Instructor Rating, but a passion for aviation, training, and people are all good identifiers of someone who would suit the role well. Whether you are a newly licensed pilot or an experienced airline captain looking for a way to give back to the industry, here are a few reasons instructing might be the next step in your aviation career.


Passing on your knowledge and passion for flying to new pilots and seeing them learn and grow under your guidance really makes the long hours of study on the Instructor Rating course worth it. Some instructors even say that sending students solo is more of a buzz than their own! The sense of achievement in helping someone reach their own goals or get through a challenging time in their training really is one of the best parts of the job.


Part of what makes instructing rewarding is also what makes it a challenge. Finding new ways to help students overcome stumbling blocks can be difficult, but worth it when the concept finally clicks in to place. Other aspects such as vastly different flight profiles each day, ever-changing weather (especially in Melbourne!), and operational factors such as busy controlled aerodromes provide a good range of challenging conditions to hone your skills in and become a better pilot.

Build Flying Experience/Knowledge

Working towards an Instructor Rating will increase your knowledge of aviation immeasurably. You will learn more about the theory of flying in the relatively short course (usually 8-14 weeks) than at any point in your previous training. The next step is then learning how to best pass that knowledge on to your students. Your flying skills will also greatly improve. Flying from the right-hand seat provides its own set of challenges and the accuracy and consistency demanded of a flying instructor requires patience and plenty of practice. The learning does not stop once you’ve passed the flight test though. Becoming an instructor is just the beginning. Once on the job you will be exposed to new problems that need solving, as well as new ratings and endorsements to expand your flying and theoretical knowledge as you progress through your career.

Meet New People

One of the best parts about being an instructor is meeting people from all walks of life and introducing them to a shared passion. From full-time commercial students who have just left high school to private students looking for a new weekend hobby. Even the odd airline captain looking for a flight review or just to remember what it’s like to fly a ‘real aircraft’. Everyone has a different story to tell and getting to know your students over the course of their training is often a pleasure in itself.

Work/Life Balance

When compared to other job opportunities in the aviation industry, instructing must have one of the best work/life balances. We are at home every night and work reasonable hours during the day. Fixed rosters are also much more common in instructing than other flying roles such as the airlines. Most instructors also operate out of a fixed base so do not have to do too much travel, and jet lag is definitely off the cards. Whilst the airline lifestyle may suit some, being home each night for dinner and knowing when your days off are can provide a much better alternative to others.

If flight instructing sounds like something you’re interested in, head on over to our Nationally Accredited Training page for info about our Diploma course or contact us to discuss the best path for you.

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Pilot Recency After Lockdown


As we return to school after the recent COVID-19 lockdown, it is important to consider pilot recency. Many of you will be experiencing the longest break in flying since the start of your training. Whilst it may not be illegal to continue flying, there are certain things to bear in mind.


CASA requirements under Part 61 restrict student pilots from conducting solo flights if they have not conducted a dual flight in the last 30 days or after 3 hours of solo flight. The 3-hour restriction does not apply to those students operating under an approved 150-hour syllabus.

Passenger carrying flights require the pilot to have conducted 3 take-offs and landings in the last 90 days. Lastly, class ratings require a flight review every two years. If a current flight review is held, there are no legal requirements to be met prior to flying alone (under Day VFR) for a pilot who holds a licence.

Additional endorsements and/or ratings may have further requirements, such as an Instrument Rating requiring 3 approaches conducted in the last 90 days. See CASR Part 61 for more information on requirements for your licence and ratings.

Personal Minimums

Even if the legal requirements are not a concern, it might be a good idea to consider applying some personal minimums. Would you really feel comfortable flying solo after 2-3 months off without a check flight?

It’s also important to make sure your documents and equipment are in good working order prior to jumping in the cockpit. Some things to consider before heading to the aerodrome include:

  • Is your medical current?
  • Are your charts/ERSA and other required documents up to date?
  • Is your flight bag stocked up with the necessary items?

Aircraft Maintenance

Finally, consider aircraft maintenance. Has your aircraft been sat on the ground without running for a long period of time? At TVSA, our maintenance team have been keeping the aircraft warm whilst we’ve been at home. In preparation for returning to flights with students, our instructor team have also been doing some flights to make sure the aircraft are fit for service.

Be sure to conduct a thorough pre-flight inspection (as always!). Aircraft that have not been operated in a while can be subject to some of the following issues (among others):

  • low tyre pressures
  • low battery voltage
  • fluid leaks and/or low levels
  • corrosion
  • insects/nests, especially in pitot/static ports
  • rodent damage to wiring
  • birds’ nests
  • dust on airframe and windows

Finally, if you are in any doubt about whether you can return to flying, please get in touch with the team at TVSA who will be more than happy to guide you through the process of getting you back in the air safely.

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How to Read a Textbook


Reading textbooks can be daunting, particularly if you haven’t done it for a while.

But there are many ways to make it more manageable.

Break them up. Use sticky tabs to divide your books into sections with dates on them of when you need to have them read by. It helps keep your reading targets manageable.

Active reading. Look into reading techniques to help you become a more effective reader.

Some techniques include:

  • Developing an overview: the first time you open a text, have a quick look at things like headings, images, paragraph sizes, and anything else that stands out. Think about questions like what is this about and what will be the best approach to reading it? You can then formulate a plan for reading it
    For example, if the paragraphs are long and the subject seems complex, you might want to grab a notepad to write a sentence summary for each paragraph to check your understanding
  • Skimming: read the introduction, then the first sentence of each paragraph, then the conclusion. Go back and read more fully anything you didn’t understand.
  • Scanning: go over the text, picking up only the key words or phrases. Pay attention to headings and images.

These techniques can help you get a feel for the concepts and an overall understanding of what you’re reading. You can then read more fully the sections you need to (or all of it) and take notes.

Have a reading goal. It’s a good idea to be clear on what you’re reading for – you could write this on a sticky note to have at the top of the page or on your desk. This helps keep you stay focused. Are you trying to understand a particular concept? Looking to answer a question in your FTM?

An unused textbook is worth nothing to you. Your textbook should look like you’ve read it.

It can be a beneficial to highlight and write notes in the margins as you read. This can help with revision – your eyes will be drawn to the key pieces of information. Don’t highlight everything, though! Practice identifying key words or phrases.

Extra research may be required. You may like to have a Google search page open in front of you as you read. You can look up any words you’re not familiar with as you go to help you understand as you read. If you’re writing in your textbook, write these definitions near the word so you don’t have to look it up again later if you forget.

As with anything, take reading your textbooks one step at a time and seek help if you need it.