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.
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.