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Top 6 Reasons to become a Light Sport Instructor

First let me just say one important fact….A good flight instructor is by far the best asset a student pilot can procure. Let me also note that good instructors are not necessarily good pilots and good pilots are not necessarily good instructors.

But if you think you’ve got what it takes to be a flight instructor, consider becoming part of the solution to the light sport instructor shortage.  Even though flight instruction does not promise the most lucrative of all careers, keep in mind that by becoming a sport pilot instructor, you will be answering a calling and sharing the dream of flight.

Flight instruction is a special calling. It is not a job well-suited to everyone. However, there are many rewards that come with this career. Here are my top six reasons why becoming a flight instructor can be a great profession.


There can be nothing more satisfying than sharing your passion with others. Teaching others to fl y, improving their skills or showing them a new skill entirely can be gratifying. Every student has the potential for success.

This potential is so exciting - each new student presents new challenges and new potential successes. Each student who didn’t understand a concept and then learned it through your help can be exhilarating.

And then there is that first solo! There is nothing like watching your student bring his aircraft in for that first solo landing.


You will never learn a topic better than when you start teaching it. I remember my first year as a flight instructor- preparing for each lesson and the student questions made me dig deeper and learn more. There is an old adage that it takes three years of teaching to truly master a subject and in my experience this is the truth.


As a flight instructor, you can make your own schedule.  You decide how much you want to work and who you want to work with. You can work part time or full time. Not many jobs provide an individual with so much room to be autonomous.  And as a bonus – pilots are the greatest people to work with. They are the cream of the crop. The movers and shakers. People with goals and passion.


In most communities, flight instructors are a scarce commodity.  There is a very real shortage of instructors out there. It is certain that you will be able to fill your dance card fairly quickly, though you will certainly be in greater demand if you have access to, or own, a Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA).


Let us put things into perspective. You are flying and being paid. As one of my students said after our first flight together, “Oh My God, you have the best job in the whole world.”


Once you have the minimum required flight experience, it is not that hard to earn your instructor rating and the rewards are significant.. You will just need to train with a flight instructor on the knowledge and flying skills needed to become an instructor.

Then take the Instructor’s Knowledge Test and Fundamentals of Instruction (“FOI”), both written exams, followed by the Practical Test (“checkride”).  Upon successful completion of these tests, you’ll be a CFI for sport pilot!

For more information on becoming a Sport Pilot CFI, visit:

About the Author

Carol Carpenter, co author of: Sport Pilot Airplane: A Complete Guide and A Professional Approach to Ultralights, is a Sport Pilot instructor, an instructor for both the Light Sport Repairman Inspection and Maintenance Courses, FAA Ground Instructor with an Advance Rating, an FAA private pilot, an FAA Fasst Team Representative, and she holds a California teaching credential.

May 2011 Light Aviation Edition

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