Can a CFI Applicant Teach Ground School?

Teaching a lesson under the guidance of an experienced CFI is how most instructor candidates learn how to teach.

Teaching a lesson under the guidance of an experienced CFI is an opportunity to develop and exercise skills. [Credit: Shutterstock]

Question: I am a commercial pilot student, and I plan to roll right into the CFI rating to get my hours for the airlines. My CFI suggested I get a jump on the CFI training by sitting in on a private pilot ground school so I can learn how to be a teacher. The ground instructor is a CFI with lots of experience. I was surprised when the ground instructor asked me to teach the weight and balance lesson next week. I immediately reported it to the chief instructor because I'm not an instructor, therefore it's illegal. The chief CFI said it wasn't illegal because the ground instructor was still in charge of the class and will be there overseeing the lesson. It sounds fishy to me. I don't really want to be a CFI; I'm just using it to build hours, so I don't want to mess things up with the FAA by doing something illegal.

Answer: Teaching a lesson under the guidance of an experienced CFI is how most instructor candidates learn how to teach. You were given an opportunity to develop and exercise those skills. 

The weight and balance lesson isn't so much aviation but basic math. The chief CFI was correct that the ground instructor is still in charge of the class. However, if you really don't want to be a CFI, please consider finding another way to build your hours, since poor attitudes lead to poor instruction given.

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Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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