How do I choose a flight instructor?

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Even after choosing the perfect flight school, spend some time to find the right flight instructor who will have the greatest influence in your success. He or she will be a key element in your training and how much enjoyment you get out of flying. While all flight instructors are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and meet minimum standards, your personality and attitude will naturally be a better fit with some instructors than others.

Just like you “interviewed” the flight school, sit down with a prospective instructor and get to know them. Talk about your reasons for learning to fly, your goals and your questions. Ask about the instructor’s background, their previous students and what training curriculum they’ll use. And as always, judge whether your personalities will be a good match. Your gut feel is usually more important than the age or experience of an instructor. In most situations, you’ll forge a lifetime relationship with your instructor.

It’s important to ensure you’ll be able to maintain open and clear communication and that expectations for both you and the instructor are well known and that you will have an active voice in the process.

Also keep in mind that, at most flight schools, you can change flight instructors if the relationship simply isn’t working well. Personal referrals also go a long way. If you have a connection to someone who has trained at a particular school, find out more about the instructor and why that person connected.

Read our entire Getting Started series for more answers as well as our helpful Learn to Fly checklist.

John Zimmerman