Preparing for CFI ride. Need advice.

Flyer7SA

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I'm preparing for my CFI initial and am a little confused about what they expect you to bring. I've talked to some friends who are CFIs and they differ on this point. Some think that you need to have a monstrous notebook with all knowledge in the PTS outlined by hand. Others just tell me that I will need to have my lesson plans and that's it. The PTS calls for lesson plans and a syllabus (I'm assuming for both private and commercial courses).


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

~Flyer7SA
 

BigFlyr

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I can tell you from my experience after having been sent home 15 minutes after the oral started... Have a "working library" with you. That means a current copy of the FAR/AIM, sectional chart for your area and Airport Facility Directory. Also, have on hand all the references listed in your PTS for your sources of information even though we know that some of those books were originally printed over 20 years ago! They're what the FAA uses so go with it! Also, be ready to present a lesson plan and be sure your logbook has all the necessary signoffs and ground instruction recorded. It's easy if you're prepared, but if you're lacking in any one area, you will be picked apart! If you make it through the oral portion, chances are the flying will be a piece of cake!;)
 

GOBUFFS

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i too was sent packing after the oral reached the halfway point.
have everything down cold for both the private and commercial pts's. i was nailed on aerodynamics and a scenario regarding 2 aircraft into an uncontrolled field one on an instrument approach and the other in the pattern (touch and go's) with no radios.
all that to say i studied what i was lacking and passed the next time around). you're not by chance taking this in florida are you? MCO FSDO? i can offer more information if this is the case. good luck.
fly safe and GOD bless.
 

Speedtree

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flyer7sa,

Where is your instructor during all this? You should have a CFI instructor who knows what's going on in your area and can guide you through the process. Granted there are not too many highly experienced CFI's at some flight schools do to the hiring in the last 5 years but you need someone you can trust. It makes a difference who the checkride is with and you should know as much about him/her as possible. Is it with the FAA or a DE? You really can't go wrong following the PTS exactly and thoroughly. Study, Study, Study, and know your stuff cold. You should be able to teach a private student everything they need to know from discovery/orientation flight to checkride. The same goes for commercial. For most applicants this results in an extensive notebook with lots of lesson plans in various configurations.

You should know what works for you and what you need to teach any information asked of you. For some lessons this might be a simple outline in FAA standard format if you know the material well. If you are rusty on some information the lesson plan can have some substance to it. I would agree about having a library of every source you think you might need with you. For any lesson you should know how to draw up an FAA lesson plan in the seven step format (I think this is how they still do it).

Good luck

work hard and be overprepared.
 

pilotguyt

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Having passed my CFI in the last couple of months, I should be able to help out a little. First off, definitely ask as many CFI's as you can what you need and try and figure out what the examiner is looking for. With that said, here is what I did:

I started out by sorting all of the paper handouts and lesson plans into categories such as aeromedical, cross country, night, landings, etc, even with categories for specific aircraft handouts. I organized these into 3 ring binders with tabs marking the categories. just to give an idea I completely filled 3 binders. I then brought all this along with every credible book I could find. Yes it was a pain to lug around, but I had a source for everything I needed. Remember, although your knowledge is being tested, they really want to know if you can teach that knowledge. I pulled out a sheet or turned to a page in the book for a good deal of the questions that I was asked and used these references to teach the material. Obviously you can not read it verbatim to the examiner, but if he asks you about a specific reg, open your FAR's, find the reg, and point it out to him/her. This is particularly helpful if you aren't quite sure of something.

Good luck and remember, be prepared and teach the examiner, don't just regurgitate info to them.
 

bobbysamd

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CFI Oral

I recommended something like 15 students for their initial CFIs. Indeed, your instructor should have ensured you dragged all the proper materials to the practical.

DO know the Private and Commercial PTS cold. Honest to goodness, for any FAA practical the PTS IS your study guide and IS your test. DO know the FOI cold. DO bring copies of the PTSs, Flight Training Handbook, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Instrument Flying Handbook, Aviation Weather, etc. It's fine to bring all the lesson plans you worked up during your training, but expect to work up a lesson plan from scratch and teach it to the examiner. KNOW the signoffs. Get AC 61-65D, which has the signoffs. You can find it online at www.faa.gov.
Do bring a CURRENT A/FD and charts. Know all the notams.

Have all these things at hand, be able to fly a Commercial ride from the right side while talking up what you're doing, don't argue with the examiner, get plenty of sleep the night before, eat right, and you should be set.

Good luck with your practical.
 
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Pilotadjuster

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CFI ride

Going for the ride soon myself with a DE. She gave me a list of all things she wanted me to bring to the checkride. I would suggest contacting whomever you are taking the ride with to see what materials you need. Also--ask anyone who has taken a ride with them what you need to bring.

As far as the lesson plans, there is no where in the PTS (or in what she sent as a checklist) that indicates you need to make a single one (though I have made many!). Kind of hard to learn how to teach without going through that step though.

Good luck!
 

bigD

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A couple of posts have mentioned taking the CFI ride with a DE.

Around here, I'm told that I HAD to take the CFI ride with the FAA. Am I being misinformed?
 

bobbysamd

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CFI Practical

Perhaps lesson plan prep comes under the "Planning Instructional Activity" section of the FOI. I don't have a CFI PTS in front of me. Don't bet the ranch that you won't have to work up one, though.

Whether you take your initial CFI with the FAA or a DE depends a lot on how busy your local FSDO is. It is FSDO's discretion if it wants to examine you itself or farm you out to a DE. The long and short of it is it probably doesn't make any difference either way. Some DE's are just as tough as FSDO. Some ASIs are very reasonable and even may be easier than a DE.

Most everyone knows of one DE at Scottsdale who gives eight-hour CFI orals. It is not that she is so tough; she is very grueling.

Good luck with your practical.
 

Buzo

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Like Bobbysamd said, it just depends on where you are whether you go with a Fed or DE. In the Seattle area the Feds do not give the initial rides unless you really want them to. They haven't done them for about a year or so.

As for the ride, know the endorsements and the FOI stuff. My examiner told me to bring every book I own and be ready to answer anything she asked. If you are prepared for it, it isn't any harder than any other ride. I thought mine was by far easier than the private and instrument.
 

mpower

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READ the CFI PTS

Hey guys, at a minimum, refer to 1-vii of the cfi pts here it lists all the stuff you need to take with you.
yes, it is open book but if you are looking everything up you probably won't get to fly. don't use the open book line as an 'out'

good luck
 

Flyer7SA

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Thanks for all of your responses and advice. I will let you know how the ride goes.

~Flyer7SA
 

bobbysamd

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Preparation

Buzo hit the nail on the head. Preparation is the key. I read once in some FAA publication that it is unusual for a well-prepared applicant to fail a practical test. It is true. I busted one because I was NOT well prepared.

Another point worth mentioning, and one that should give you guys a little confidence, is your CFI will be about your fourth or fifth practical test, not counting other ratings you may have earned in the interim. You should know the routine by now. Of course, the Private is stressful because you really don't know for sure what to expect, despite what your instructor and your buds tell you. Each ride gets a little easier because you learn the routine better and better. I'm not counting stage checks. If you're at a 141 school, you've also taken plenty of "practicals" en route to the FAA ride.

What can help is going back to the same examiner. The first test is a getting-acquainted session. If you make a good impression on the examiner the first time, each subsequent test becomes less stressful. If you demonstrate that you know your stuff, the examiner is less likely to keep tweaking you. I learned that first-hand. When I got my airplane CFI I went to this examiner who had just retired from the FAA. He had a reputation as being a bear. He was just fine. I went back to him for my multi and he was just fine. I went back to him for my MEI and he was just fine. I sent my second student to him for the student's airplane Instrument add-on (he had a helicopter instrument rating). The man was just fine. I realize you can't always do this with the CFI practical, but it's worth it if you can.

Best of luck with the practical.
 
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Buzo

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Using the same examiner for all your rides is good because you know what to expect, but a variety might be better for you in the future. I used four different examiners for all of my rides. I now know what to expect when it comes time to send students on checkrides because I know how the examiner is.

Another thing is to go into the practical with confidence and treat it as a learning experience. You will learn more from your examiner in that short time than you could ever imagine.
 

bobbysamd

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Preparation, continued

Once more point. Your instructor should have given you a far more rigorous oral(s) than what you might expect from an examiner. You first have to get past your instructor. His/her signoff means something. Your instructor is putting his/her prestige on the line when you are signed off.

The Part 141 stage check system, if done properly, works well in this regard. Riddle stage checks were reputed to be some of the toughest around. Pass a Riddle stage check and the FAA would be cake. On the other hand, some Riddle stage check pilots could be brutal, sadistic or just plain unfair. The whole idea of stage checks is to assure and confirm that a student is trained to a certain level.

Once again, preparation is the key. Theoretically (?!), all examiners give the same test. If you're prepared, you can pass the practical. If you're well prepared, it'll be a breeze.
 

Speedtree

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One thing I forgot to mention earlier. During my CFI at a 141 school we were required to "practice" teaching students before our actual checkride. This does not mean we gave actual instruction and signed anyone's logbook. However we did grab someone who was willing to bear with us (a girlfriend, sibling, etc.) and give them two introductory flights just for fun. It helps to teach someone who's not your flight instructor and really doesn't know anything about airplanes. We also took a private pilot up and practiced demonstrating commercial maneuvers. This was not as beneficial as the private instruction in my opinion.

Keep the faith, you'll make it.
 

Timebuilder

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I coundn't agree more: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
Here's a case where I was bitten on the you-know-what by making an assumption. I had overprepared, and really impressed (his words) the FAA examiner who did my initial CFI. My mistake came in making a misinterpretation of the PTS for my II oral. I noted that the PTS allowed the examiner to exercise discretion on the FOI knowledge during the II oral, and I ASSUMED that since I had covered it so well during the initial CFI with this same examiner, he would note that I had demonstrated my knowledge previously, and we would go right on to the guts of instrument flying.
Au, contraire.
He jumped right on the laws of learning, and forgetting, and I quite memorably demonstrated the Law of Disuse by failing to correctly answer the first three of five questions he asked. I had convinced myself that he would go right to the "important" part, the instrument knowledge I had studied for, making a very wrong assumption about the approach he would take for this examination. I hadn't so much as looked at the FOI material. If I had done so, I probably would have had an easy time. If I had followed my motto, and Properly Prepared, I would not have Performed Poorly.

Don't assume anything. Prepare for everything. It's all fair game.

By the way, when I went to a DE for my MEI ride, this same examiner was there in his office, observing my DE's performance, and once again, mine.
I was ready, and loaded for bear. Ka-ching!

Now, steer around that pothole, II applicants.
 
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bobbysamd

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FOI questions

I'm rather surprised to hear what happened to Timebuilder, even if the FAA gave him both rides. That wasn't really cricket, even by FAA standards. Timebuilder had already proved he could instruct and understood the fundamentals of instruction. He just had to prove now that he could teach instruments. Totally uncool. However, Uncle Sam has give the FAA the power to be uncool.

It does help to go to an examiner with whom you've developed a good relationship. I will say decent examiners won't bust your balls in the way Timebuilder's balls were busted. But, be prepared.
 

Cardinal

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Thank you guys for all the answers to Flyer's questions. I'm taking my CFI checkride a mere 16 hours from now, I'll let you know how it goes.
 

Cardinal

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In the words of Blur "WOOHOO"! Passed the CFI practical today, the first time around, thankfully. Flew with a FSDO inspector.

4 hour oral, 2 hours in the aircraft.

Double-triple check all your historical signoffs and endorsements, the wording on my high-performance was very poor, and I could've been sent home over it. Also the Fed says he crosschecks things like the spin endorsement with the logbook entry, to make sure that the flight actually happened.

Started with a big question, let me ponder it while he took care of the paperwork. "What determines airworthiness?"

Moved right into the FOI, emphasis on CHaps 1 +2 of the AIH, the Learning Process and the Teaching Process. I came up with some mnemonics that served me well. The teaching process, for example, PREparation. Presentation. Application, Review and Eval - it spells PRE P A R E. PIM, Perceptions, Insights, Motivation. The Laws of Learning, etc. The major bulleted lists and subheadings are the key. It's stupid rote learning, but it's what they want, apparently. Only spent about 35 minutes on FOI stuff, he had my compose a lesson plan on chandelles, that was no problem closed book. Then taught the subject matter for maybe 5 minutes.

Then on to the Technical Subject Areas, things like Hypoxia, Spatial Disorientaion, Turning Tendencies, the typical stuff that isn't too strenuous. Asked me to do a CG calc for our aircraft, so I handed him the one I had prepared, so he just asked me to explain it. I discussed the basic equation and the math and why we bother. This may have been a mistake, as then he started asking about the various effects of aft CG on takeoff and we got really into the subject. In this instance i dug myself a hole. I knew enough to get out of it, but I beleive I did provoke some unnecessary questioning.

Rule #1 - Answer the question, then shut up.

Told me to plan a one checkpoint cross country. Didn't expect this at all, but had brought the dorky flight plan sheets along just in case. He thought I ought to be able to be done in 10 min, but it took me maybe 15. I did all the math with an electronic E-6B. Examiner was highly unimpressed. Had me scrounge a circular E-6B and work the math that way. I hadn't touched one of these for at least 4 years. Bigtime horror show. Had to follow step-by-step the directions on the computer itself, reteaching mysel in front of the examiner. It was probably the most horrific checkride moment of my flying career to date.

Explored the performance section of the POH, i slipped in some extraneous remark about distances varying on grass vs. pavement, and dug myself another hole. Now had to delve back into the book to find the sentence dealing with that issue.

He started pointing to things on the sectional chart, and I got roughed up. Transponder useage above/below Class C, where to look for more information about MOAs, student pilot ops at the local Class B, yea or nea, DME on this VOR? How Grid MOCAs are computed, etc. This didn't go well.

More assorted technical subjects and then off we flew. Nothing remarkable, two engine failures, chandelles, but no lazy-eights. The wind was howling so neither he or I could tell If the eights on pylons were any good. Obviously no turns around a point or rectangular course stuff aside from the traffic pattern. He did mention that it would be nice to identify and announce an emergency landing field prior to commencing a given maneuver. All of my landings basically sucked, but the wind helped my case. Other stupid pilot tricks, forgot to turn on the Transponder till about 5 minutes after takeoff. Taxied around with the flaps down and didn't realize it until holding short for takeoff. Just stupid stuff.

I used two aircraft for the check, a rented complex and the family bird. This made life very hard without much tangible benefit. You then have to know speeds, systems, on both a/c, and preflight, weight + balance etc two aircraft. Just more stress on a rough day to start with. For example I didn't spend enough time in the POH for the rented airplane, but did memorize all the speeds. Of course he never asked about any of the speeds, but did discover just how weak I was on some of the strange particulars in some of the systems.

There ya have it, in a rather large nutshell. Your mileage may vary. Hopefully it might be of help. Any further questions?
 
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