Safety Publications/Articles

Knowledge and common sense

When it comes to some CFIs getting better-paying teaching jobs, they often have dings in their wings because they're deficient in two areas -- common sense and basic aviation knowledge.

A chief pilot at a prestigious California flight school told me that too many young CFIs perform miserably during job interviews. Some won't look at him when he's asking questions, while others speak only in terms of what they want, not what the employer wants. One fellow even went so far as to slap a tape recorder on the desk, saying that he wanted to have an official recording of any agreement made that day. Let the record and the recording show that the only agreement on tap -- or tape -- was when this fellow agreed to depart the building.

On another occasion, the same chief pilot was interviewing a student who had just graduated from a well-known aviation university. The student had a degree in aviation and had earned his flight instructor certificate in the process. When the chief pilot opened the cowling of an airplane, the CFI was unable to locate the magnetos. Either of them. While that was bad enough, the same applicant also couldn't find the airplane's static port. He probably thought it was something that made shirts cling to each other on a dry day.

Basic knowledge and common sense are the minimal prerequisites for almost any aviation job and certainly for the job of flight instructing. If you'd like to have a good flying job someday, then hit the books and start thinking carefully about how a potential employer is likely to perceive your actions during an interview.

By Rod Machado

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