Top 6 Reasons to Become a Light-Sport Instructor
By Carol Carpenter
First let me just start with an important fact: A good flight instructor is by far the best asset a student pilot can procure. Let me also note that good instructors aren’t necessarily good pilots, and good pilots aren’t necessarily good instructors. But if you think you’ve got what it takes to be a flight instructor, consider becoming part of the solution to the light-sport instructor shortage. Even though flight instruction doesn’t promise the most lucrative of careers, keep in mind that by becoming a sport pilot instructor, you will be answering a calling and sharing the dream of flight.
Flight instruction is a special calling. It’s not a job well suited to everyone. However, there are many rewards that come with this career. Here are my top six reasons why becoming a flight instructor can be a great profession.
- Sharing Your Passion for Flying
There can be nothing more satisfying than sharing your passion with others. Teaching others to fly, improving their skills, or showing them a new skill entirely can be gratifying. Every student has the potential for success. This potential is so exciting—each new student presents new challenges and new potential successes. Each student who didn’t understand a concept and then learned it through your help can be exhilarating to watch. And then there is that first solo! There’s nothing like watching your student bring his aircraft in for that first solo landing.
- Teaching a Subject Helps You Learn a Subject
You will never learn a topic better than when you start teaching it. I remember my first year as a flight instructor, preparing for each lesson; the students’ questions made me dig deeper and learn more. There’s an old adage that it takes three years of teaching to truly master a subject, and in my experience this is the truth.
As a flight instructor, you can make your own schedule. You decide how much you want to work and who you want to instruct. You can work part time or full time. Not many jobs provide an individual with so much room to be autonomous. And as a bonus, pilots are the greatest people to work with. They are the cream of the crop. The movers and shakers. People with goals and passion.
- Job Security - There’s a Shortage
In most communities, flight instructors are a scarce commodity. There’s a very real shortage of instructors out there. It’s certain that you will be able to fill your dance card fairly quickly, though you will certainly be in greater demand if you have access to or own a special light-sport aircraft.
- You Are Flying and Earning
Let’s put things into perspective: You’re flying and being paid. As one of my students said after our first flight together, “Oh, my God, you have the best job in the whole world.
- The Transition From Pilot to Instructor Is Easy
Once you have the minimum required flight experience, it isn’t that hard to earn your instructor rating, and the rewards are significant. You will just need to train with another flight instructor on the knowledge and flying skills needed to become an instructor. Then take the instructor knowledge test and FAA Fundamentals of Instruction test, both of which are written exams, followed by the practical test (checkride). Upon successful completion of these tests, you’ll be a CFI-SP - certified flight instructor for sport pilots!
About the Author
Carol Carpenter, coauthor of Sport Pilot Airplane: A Complete Guide and A Professional Approach to Ultralights, is a sport pilot instructor, an instructor for both the FAA Light-Sport Repairman-Inspection and maintenance courses, FAA ground instructor with an advance rating, FAA private pilot, and FAA Safety Team representative. She holds a California teaching credential. Contact Carol at www.RainbowAviation.com.