How do I choose a flight instructor?

Even once you’ve picked a flight school, spend some time to find the right flight instructor. He 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 FAA 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 him. Talk about your reasons for learning to fly, your goals and your questions. Ask about the instructor’s background, his previous students and what training curriculum he’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.

Also keep in mind that, at most flight schools, you can change flight instructors if the relationship simply isn’t working well.

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John knows how lucky he is to go to work every day at an airport. As Vice President of Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s Catalog Division, he says, “I get to hang around airplanes all the time, flying regularly and testing new products for the catalog.” Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12 and a Robinson R44 helicopter. Despite his love of low and slow flight, John says, “I love the challenge of IFR flying in the system. Seeing the runway lights as you break out on approach is a thrill.”