Typical questions might include:
- How long have you taught?
- What planes have you flown?
- How many hours of instruction do you have?
- How many total hours do you have in their logbook?
But more than how long and how many… we need to establish some additional interview questions.
Today is all about: How long will your instructor be available?
Questions for your potential instructor:
Instructor Darby, you say you’ve flown for Coastal Flying School for two months now, and have 450 hours of teaching, with fifteen-hundred-hours of total time. What are you planning to do for a long-term career?
Airline job? Wow. That’s great. Me too. So, what airline do you want to fly for? …. I’d love to work for them too. What are the requirements to fly there? How long until you qualify?… Do you plan on going to go to a commuter first? How many hours do they require? Have you applied?
How many hours until they qualify for that airline position, and leave? Do they have resumes and applications out at the airlines? Will they be committed to finishing your training before they move on to the next job?
Many instructors are doing just this— using this teaching job as a stepping-stone to the next job. That doesn’t mean they aren’t exceptional instructors who take the job of teaching seriously. That just means they won’t be around forever.
Starting with a new instructor can be a timely and expensive endeavor—Unless of course your school has a very standardized form of training. But still, most instructors in the general aviation arena will want to see you perform everything to assure you can handle all maneuvers, despite what the other guy said, because their name is on your signoff.
You want someone with the most experience, but… if their hours enable them to, and their career plans include leaving before you’re complete—you may want to look at someone else.
I know far too many pilots who have had their training delayed, repeated, and check-rides prolonged at an added expense. One student spent an additional $20,000 (plus) for the private license, over and above the additional $11,000 quoted. Part of this is due to the numerous instructors that kept leaving in pursuit of their careers.
The benefit of having many different instructors would include accessing a variety of experience from each. But if your funds are limited, you will want to find one quality instructor, and stick with them throughout your training.
- Ask the Flight School: What is the instructor turnover rate?
- Ask the Instructor: What kind of guarantee are you willing to give to your students?
Did the number impact your training?
Instructor turnover is not the only reason for the added expense. Join me on Thursday for Part Two of How to find an Instructor.
Enjoy the Journey!