Public Resource Center

The following material has been made available by SAFE and others free of charge as a public service to the aviation community (read the Terms of Use).


Earning a Living as an Aviation Educator

Examining Instructor Pay in Relation to Student Dropout Rates and Customer Satisfaction – Passion and a love of flying alone, though important to career satisfaction and happiness, cannot guarantee success. Enthusiasm must be tempered with business savvy. And despite aviation dogma, attracting, training, and retaining customers is a business. This white paper by SAFE members Rich Stowell & Judy Phelps explores the validity of the age-old claim, “Instructors can’t earn a living instructing.”

Service Quality and Its Link to Student Pilot Retention in General Aviation Flight Training: A Pilot Study – The primary responsibility of flight school managers and flight instructors is to ensure safety. However, the business goal of both managers and flight instructors is to ensure satisfaction of their customers to maximize customer retention and the firm’s profitability. Flight school managers should consider all the possible factors that drive retention and attempt to determine what factors have the greatest positive affect on their customers. A study conducted by CFII and SAFE member Gil Aguilar.

The Importance of Interpersonal Relationships in Providing Effective and Successful Flight Instruction – Because training is all about change, in order to gain the most benefit from time spent, the customer must have confidence in the instructor-client relationship. The relationship, not the instructor’s level of expertise in aviation, is the most important tool to make learning successful. The relationship is the best predictor of a satisfactory outcome, where satisfactory equates to a customer who survives each flight and comes back for more training. Paper by Nick Frisch.

What Is Your CFI Worth? – Slides and notes from a CFI Series seminar presented by Rich Stowell and Judy Phelps during the 2012 AOPA Summit.

The Current State of Flight Instruction and Flight Training in the United States: A Call for Industry ActionAssuming that flight training doctrine and standards are changed to reflect real training needs, it is then important to look at how flight instructors and other aviation educators are trained and qualified to perform their critical role. As with the training of pilots, we are currently training flight instructors to pass FAA knowledge and practical tests. In fact, the failure rate on the flight instructor initial practical test exceeds 50 per cent, an appalling figure that would be considered unacceptable in any other industry. Paper by SAFE member Robert Wright.

Advancing Professionalism

Flight Instructors Model Code of Conduct
FAA Safety Briefing – Aviation Educators’ Guide (Sep/Oct 2012, esp. Doug Stewart’s article, So You Want to Be a Flight Instructor?)
AOPA Flight Training Field Guides (PDF versions are free)
AOPA Flight Training Initiative

Continuing Education

SAFE’s Aviation Educator Mentoring Program
Master Instructor Continuing Education Program
Inside the Master Instructor Community (GA News article, Oct 12, 2010)

Free Online Syllabi & Checkride Checklists

Sport Pilot Training Syllabus (courtesy Doug Stewart, MCFI & DPE)
Recreational Pilot Training Course Outline (courtesy Eric Radtke, Sporty’s Academy, Inc.)
Part 61 Private Private Training Syllabus (courtesy Scott O’Brien, MCFI)
Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, & Helicopter Flight Syllabi (courtesy Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc.)
Syllabi and Checkride Checklists for Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, & Commercial Pilot (courtesy Qref Quick Reference Media)
Private Pilot Training and Instrument Rating Training Syllabi (courtesy King Schools)

Training Paradigms

Transforming the Art & Craft of Flight Instruction (Redbird’s Roger Sharp on the future of flight training)


SAFE’s CFI Liability Insurance Program

Recognizing Excellence

General Aviation Awards Program
Aviation Educator Hall of Fame
AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards

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