ARAC Suggests Changes to New CFI Training Requirements

Who will train the trainers in the future?

As more CFIs take airline gigs, an FAA committee is reconsidering the experience required for a certified flight instructor to be eligible to train another pilot for the CFI rating.Flying

An FAA aviation rulemaking advisory committee thinks it could be time to update the experience required that decides when a certified flight instructor is eligible to train another pilot for the CFI rating. Currently, FAR Part 61.195 (h)(2)(iii) says only an instructor who has held the certificate for more than 24 months and has logged more than 200 hours of flight instruction given is eligible to deliver the training required to sign off another CFI candidate. The 200-hour/24-month rule was originally created to “prevent brand new instructors with little or no experience from jumping right in to teach new instructor candidates,” according to Jason Blair, a designated pilot examiner.

The idea for the change surfaced as data shows the number of CFIs around the U.S. qualified to prepare another instructor for their check ride is dwindling as more instructors, and even school faculty members, are heading for airline jobs.

The ARAC, part of a more comprehensive proposal, suggested that 61.195 be amended to allow CFIs that "have completed an FAA-approved standardization course at a Part 141 training school that provides instruction on the intricacies of training a flight instructor applicant," to endorse CFI applicants for the rating. Most Part 141 schools already demand such standardization training for newly employed instructors.

Blair, also a contributor to Flying's Chart Wise said while this change is only a suggestion, a downside is it would only apply to Part 141 school instructors like those at many large universities, not those operating under Part 61. "There needs to be a discussion about the merits of such an amendment and the entire process of how we train CFIs before anything like this becomes a formal proposal," he said. Blair believes the ARAC suggestion probably isn't all that unusual considering the group is heavily populated by representatives from the university community.

While no date has been set to present the CFI-training idea formally, it’s worth noting that the regulations only require the final three or four hours of flight time and the endorsement for a CFI check ride to be handled by an instructor who meets 61.195 (h)(2)(iii). Earlier dual flight training for the CFI ride could be delivered by an instructor who does not meet those requirements.