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CFI renewal - live or online

That's the dilemma now facing thousands of instructors at CFI revalidation time. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's longstanding weekend Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics (FIRCs) are still going strong, but the online option with the ASF/Jeppesen course is gaining ground fast. So which is for you?

Each takes about 16 hours, and (assuming successful completion) provides CFI revalidation with no additional charge. But the similarity ends there.

Online: CFIs who opt for the ASF/Jeppesen Online FIRC often mention the lower tuition cost. In addition, they say, the convenience of completing the FIRC at home, on their own schedule, is hard to beat. On the downside, some CFIs miss sharing experiences with other instructors and the classroom-style instruction.

In-person: Instructors who vow never to give up their FIRC classroom weekends are adamant about live instruction. Camaraderie is often cited, and many CFIs feel that "a computer can't give me the rip-snorting give-and-take I get from an in-person FIRC." Nearly all mention ASF's unique and talented seminar leaders and the opportunity to learn from the wealth of experience in the room. But tuition plus hotel and travel costs can make more of a dent in an instructor's wallet.

It's now possible to renew a CFI certificate as long as four months before expiration and still keep the original expiration date. Regardless of how you renew-live or online-you'll experience the best education that AOPA has to offer. Find more information on the Web site.

By Rod Machado

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