New student with a question about CFIs


I just started flying (Intro Flight and 2 other flights) and I’m not sure what to expect from my CFI. I have scheduled 2 hour blocks for each flight - which is standard at this facility. We barely have time for any post-flight debrief. Both flights we landed and he was already late for the next student. He has not helped me with the log yet (isn’t he supposed to fill it out?). We have no written syllabus but this is a part 61 school.

Is he expected to help me with any ground school information or questions (I have the sporty’s training course and various FAA books/study guides)? Is a 2 hr block normal - I feel like I need 2.5 hours for the flight and debrief.

I was a navigator in the AF so I’m used to a lot of structure in training - am I expecting too much from my CFI?

Any thoughts would be great!!



We barely have time for any post-flight debrief. Both flights we landed and he was already late for the next student

It sounds like this CFI has a time management problem. He should not be giving you lessons if he doesn’t have the time to give you a proper post flight debrief.

Just my 2 cents worth looking at this from a customer service representative’s point of view.

Thank you for your Air Force service!


Welcome to the civilian world coop…I also got the culture shock when i got out. Some of these yahoos lack structure. Shitcan this fucking guy. In my opinion, a debrief should always be in the post flight. You know it and everybody else knows it. And yes, My instructor, although 25 yrs ago, always filled out my logbook. In Aviation, there has to be structure.
Ok, stepping off the soapbox. :wink:


Hey Cooper,

Remember who the customer is. Let the CFI know your concerns. If he doesn’t hear from you, he will never know!

You are paying too much money for any type of dissatisfaction. If this particular CFI doesn’t have enough time for post flight briefing, I am sure you will find one that will take that time.


Sounds like you are spending too long in the airplane each lesson. As an instructor, I scheduled 2 hour blocks and only flew 1.1 or 1.2 of each block.
Typically I spent 15 or 20 minutes on a brief, 1 hour +/- on the flight, and 15 or 20 minutes on the debrief. Always took notes in the airplane, ALWAYS did a critique, and always ended on a positive aspect of the lesson. These are a few of the things you should look for in your instructor.

I’ve seen lots of instructors get the student in the airplane, get the engine started, and then sit for 15 minutes doing a “lesson brief”. With the engine running!! And all because the instructor got payed more for flight than for ground.

Tell your instructor that you are tired of being rushed. Let him know your expectations and that you are willing to pay for the ground time. Don’t be afraid to try out another school or instructor. Good Luck.

By the way, what area are you in?


Thanks everyone for the input! The civilian world IS much different! He definitely has a time management issue - we started late once because he was still with the previous student (debriefing him in the hallway).

Beechlvr: Well said!! The debrief is everything! And all I want is a little structure - maybe not the same as in the AF but I have to be left with a sense of how I did and what I need to work on.

We were only flying 1.1 - 1.3 so I don’t know where the time went… and we had no prebrief - just off to the airplane. It all seemed odd.

FlyNYC: I like the approach you have - that’s what I would expect. I am outside of Boston.


Time for a quick chat with your CFI and be prepared to get another. A two-hour block should be 30 minute pre-brief, 1.0 flight, 30 minute post-brief. The two briefings are just as important as the flight.

I used to own a flight school, ran a college pilot training program and am knee deep in pilot training and testing for the last 10 years in business jets and light GA aircraft. Was a Master CFI in 99-01 as well.

You are the customer don’t forget it. Make yourself happy or get someone who will.


How much time is being spent doing the preflight inspection?


One other aspect is safety! If this guy is this disorganized on the ground how about in the aircraft? I would think twice about flying with him.

I had a great instructor when I took my lessons in Phoenix. Ex Navy pilot, calm, methodical and a great personality! I really felt like I was doing very well when I saw him in the right seat sleeping while doing T&G’s!


I hope that’s a joke.


Not a joke! That’s for real. Of course, I had many hours in before that happened and I think it was the last flight, dual, before I solo’d.