Instructor Responsibilities & Professionalism

CFI Ground School AVF 225

Instructor Responsibilities and Professionalism

Chapter 7

The instructor student shall understand and be able to apply knowledge of professionalism and uphold the responsibilities of a flight instructor

Instructor responsibilities
To teach stuff
Aside from that, the book has a couple more:
Helping students learn
Providing adequate instruction
Demanding adequate standard of performance
Emphasizing the positive
Ensuring aviation safety

Instructor responsibilities
Helping students learn
Learning should be fun, so make it fun
Don’t sacrifice standards, your students will rise to meet the expectations you set for them
Keep it interesting, some key facts not only educate but also entertain
For example the average age of the student pilot is 34, so you guys are below average
Avoid confusion, disinterest and uneasiness, these are bad
Providing adequate instruction
Taylor your instructional style to best fit the student
If the student picks things up slowly set sub-goals so there is a feeling of accomplishment
Hit all the blocks and make sure they have it before moving on
If the student picks things up rapidly or is cocky raise the bar
Make doubly sure these types of students can recover from errors
You may have to induce errors for them

Instructor responsibilities
Instructors tend to teach the way they have been taught
Think back and analyze the way you were taught, was it the best way?
Demanding adequate standards of performance
The PTS are the standards by which all must be trained
Remember these are the minimum, always teach to the maximum
Teach above the test, not to the test
Beware of the consequence approach, although it may be tempting to “teach the student a lesson” never the way to go

Instructor responsibilities
Emphasize the positive
You are an ambassador of aviation
Your attitudes and mannerisms will rub off on the student
Positive instruction results in positive learning in most cases
Approach problems with the learning environment with a can do attitude
Minimizing student frustrations
Help the student set goals and then work toward meeting those goals
If the student wants to learn as opposed to being forced to learn it’s a better experience for all
Keep your students motivated
Keep your students informed, let them know the expectations and give them a cookie when they meet those expectations

Instructor responsibilities
Minimizing student frustrations
Approach students as individuals, try not to hone in on the group personality
Give credit when credit is due
Give them a cookie when they deserve it
Do not when they don’t, it minimizes the purpose of the cookie
Criticize constructively
Identify mistakes and failures
Provide explanations of how not to repeat them
Be consistent
The only way the student knows where the sure footing is
If it’s good one day and not the next, it will lead to confusion and frustration
Admit errors
No one is perfect, but strive for that because of the law of primacy
Acknowledge a mistake and come up with a plan to rectify

Instructor responsibilities
Part 61 lists a minimum skill set for privileges such as solo and taking a test for a certificate or rating
Physiological obstacles
Some may get airsick
End the lesson before this happens
Keep extending the lesson as tolerance is built up
Ensuring skill set
Consistency is the key here
You have to be sure of the behaviors required before a sign off is made
They should be able to complete all necessary tasks without help
Special emphasis items are outlined in the beginning of each PTS booklet, make sure these are met

Instructor responsibilities
These special emphasis items are:
1. Positive aircraft control.
2. Positive exchange of the flight controls procedure.
3. Stall/spin awareness.
4. Collision avoidance.
5. Wake turbulence avoidance.
7. Runway incursion avoidance.
8. CFIT.
9. ADM and risk management.
10. Wire strike avoidance.

11. Checklist usage.
12. Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).
13. Special use airspace (SUA).
14. Aviation security.
15. Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM).
16. Other areas deemed appropriate to any phase of the practical test.
With the exception of SRM and the runway incursion avoidance, a given special emphasis area may not be specifically addressed under a given Task. All areas are essential to flight safety and will be evaluated during the practical test.

Instructor responsibilities
It is incumbent upon every instructor to maintain currency and keep abreast of the latest procedures regarding training
It is also necessary to maintain up to date publications
This includes everything from books to maps
Remember the list in the PTS
Private publications can be great, but remember the tests come from the FAA publications

Aviator’s model code of conduct
These guidelines are designed to provide a list of rules for general aviation behaviors
They supplement what is required by the FARs and contains 7 sections:
1. General Responsibilities of Aviators
2. Passengers and People on the Surface
3. Training and Proficiency
4. Security
5. Environmental Issues
6. Use of Technology
7. Advancement and Promotion of General Aviation
Find out more at

Safety and accident prevention
CFI’s are the front line with regards to long term safety goals
The FARs cannot cover every possible scenario that may involve a bad decision regarding safety
The instructor is a role model
The students will aspire to mimic your behaviors
Increase your safety profile by participating in the wings program and subscribing to the FAA Safety Team email list
AOPA has a number of safety initiatives as well

The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well
There is no single definition for professionalism, however professionals do exhibit some common traits/behaviors:
Be straight forward and honest
Any façade of instructor pretentiousness will cause the student to loose confidence in the instructor
Acceptance of the student
The instructor must accept students as they are
Work with what you’ve got
Acceptance and support not ridicule and reproof
Personal appearance and habits
Your student is your customer
Your customer expects a neat, clean, non smelly, appropriately dressed person to give them flight instruction
Of all the personal habits, courtesy is ranked #1
Personal grooming and cleanliness runs a close second though

This covers the instructor’s attitude and behavior
Erratic movements, distracting speech habits, capricious changes in mood are all bad
Avoid contradictory statements unless to provoke thought
Be calm and rock on
Proper language
Use of profanity and obscene language leads to distrust and lack of confidence in the instructor

Professionalism and evaluation
Demonstrated ability
Base it on established standards
It’s OK to modify these standards early in training but narrow them down the closer the student gets to the checkride
Keeping the student informed
Keep the student in the know as far as progress goes
This will be hard with your first couple of students
Keep a training record to plot the evaluations, progress and reaching of goals
You may also use written critiques for this
Correction of student errors
Do not be grabby with the controls
Give the student opportunity to make errors so they can learn how to fix them
If they do it perfectly you may combine the maneuver with another or you may have to just mess it up and see what they do

Professionalism and exams
The knowledge test
The instructor is accountable for deficient instructional performance
So don’t sign off another instructors student for an AKT
The practical test
Your endorsement is attesting that you not only have given the required instruction but also know for sure they are ready for the test
If this is not the case the instructor has a serious deficiency in performance and the FAA will hold the instructor accountable
It is not OK to endorse a student for a test to “teach them a lesson”
They may pass, then where will we be?

Professional development
Do not become complacent
Always be learning
Ways to do this are:
Add another rating
Become a Gold Seal flight instructor
Attend or participate in FAASTeam events
Complete a flight instructor refresher clinic (FIRC)
Read stuff
Talk with other instructors
Get on email lists like Avweb, AOPA, and Flying Magazine
Join the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) or Pilot
Keep your reference material up to date

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