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Instructor Report

Exit Strategies

Last month I was walking out of our local flight school with its owner, Gary, when we bumped into one of that school's CFIs. Gary said, "Hello, Carlos, how are things?"

Carlos replied, "Great. And thanks so much for hiring me back."

Gary responded by saying, "Carlos, it was the way you left that prompted me to hire you back when the commuter airline furloughed you."

It turns out that when Carlos was hired by a commuter airline, he made it a point to complete the training of as many students as possible before he left. For those students whose training he was unable to finish, he spent time familiarizing their new CFIs with each one's particular strengths and weaknesses. Is it any wonder that Carlos would be welcome back to his old haunts when recently furloughed by his airline?

Not every flight instructor is as concerned about others as Carlos. I heard of one report where a CFI walked into the office and said, "I just got a job with the airlines so I'm quitting today." Unfortunately, this CFI dumped 10 students into the lap of the chief pilot, leaving each one to fend for himself. The instructor didn't even have the courtesy to find, much less introduce the students to, a new instructor.

Because of the recent airline furloughs, instructor "Dumpster" was out of a job. He returned to his previous haunts and tried to get his old flight instructor job back. Well, you can guess what happened. He's still out of a job.

As a flight instructor, the way you leave one job in preparation for the next says a lot about your character. Sure, you can be a good instructor with an excellent track record, but in the end, it's your concern for others that ultimately determines your reputation.

If you're a CFI who's planning to leave for another flying job (or for any other reason), take some time to think about how to make your departure easier for everyone. Begin by informing your employer as soon as possible. Try completing your students' education, too. If this isn't possible, at least assist your students in finding another flight instructor.

Not only is this the honorable way to act, it's simply the wise thing to do. While your employer may not be happy to see you leave, at least he or she will respect you for the way you left.

By Rod Machado

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