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Home > Blog > Finding A Certified Flight Instructor Cfi

Finding a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)

Posted 25 Apr 2022

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)

A Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) is so crucial to your aviation journey. Having a good instructor means learning the ins and outs of aviation with ease and excelling in the field.

When it comes to learning a new skill, finding the right teacher is absolutely necessary. Not only does a good instructor help equip you with the tools you need to succeed, but they also help you love your activity of choice even more!

This is the reason that your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) is so crucial to your aviation journey. Having a good instructor means learning the ins and outs of aviation with ease and excelling in the field.

When starting your training, finding a good CFI should be on top of your list. How skilled your CFI is when it comes to aviation will determine the extent of your learning.

A good instructor can make the most difficult and overwhelming of tasks feel like a walk in the park. Along with a mastery of the art of aviation, a CFI should be patient and kind towards students so that the aviation experience can be a pleasant one for everyone involved.

If you are unsure about where you can find a good CFI, or if you are someone who would like to pursue this line of work in the future, this article offers a breakdown of what a CFI does, their importance to a student’s aviation journey, where to train with one, as well as the skills required to be a CFI yourself!


 It would not be an exaggeration to say that the entire aviation industry stands on the shoulders of dedicated flight instructors. The first step to learning a new skill is getting the right teacher, and CFIs serve as that for several amateur pilots all across the world. CFIs have the most important job in aviation, and that is to train future pilots. This involves many different aspects of training, from imparting important theory to helping a beginner pilot build confidence in the sky.

The following is a breakdown of everything a CFI’s job entails.

Training pilots on the ground

Before a pilot takes to the sky, there are several theoretical concepts they must first grasp. There is a detailed syllabus that trainees must master before being allowed to climb into the cockpit of an aeroplane and take off.

The CFI helps the aspiring pilots get a handle on the theory of flying an aeroplane, answering their questions as needed. This is the classroom section of flight training and happens before you begin practical training.

This theory forms the basis of a pilot’s aviation knowledge. When applying for a pilot’s licence, the applicant must prove that they are proficient in a series of theoretical subjects. These range from Air law, Navigation, and Meteorology to Principles of flight, Flight planning and monitoring, and Human performance. A minimum of a 75% score is necessary in order to qualify for a pilot licence.


Training via simulator

 CFIs help a beginner pilot train practically as well. While aircraft training is necessary, some of the hours are also completed via a simulator. Before a beginner pilot takes to the skies, it is necessary for them to familiarise themselves with the environment inside an aeroplane cockpit.

If a pilot goes straight to flying an aircraft, chances are the complexity of the controls and the view from the aeroplane may overwhelm them. This is where flight simulator training comes in handy. A CFI can help a pilot gain needed skills via simulator, teaching them the basics of flying before taking off in an actual aircraft. The simulator also allows the CFI to teach their students how to handle risky situations.

Simulators are an ideal mode of instruction in such cases since risky situations cannot be recreated in-flight without posing a risk to the people on board. Here at Sherburn, we have our own flight simulator, known as the G-SIMM, which helps prepare both beginner pilots for maiden flights, as well as more experienced pilots hoping to brush up their skills.

CFIs are instrumental to successful simulator training since they can correct any incorrect moves of the student with their feet safely planted on the ground.

Training in-flight

This is perhaps the most important part of the CFI’s job. Much of a pilot’s initial training is undertaken in dual-instruction mode, which means they fly along with an instructor.

Once the pilot has gained the required experience, they are allowed to fly solo. However, the learning in which a pilot engages while training with a CFI is indispensable. The CFI can help ease a beginner pilot’s mind and teach them how to have a smooth flight. The CFI is also present in case any risky situations arise and the beginner pilot is unable to handle them due to their lack of experience.

Apart from training aspiring pilots who have already begun their aviation journey, a CFI also takes people on experience flights, which allows them to feel the thrill of flying without any formal training. Experience flights can help aspiring pilots determine whether aviation is something they wish to pursue or not, making them an important part of a pilot’s flying career.

Encouraging beginner pilots

Apart from practically training pilots in the art of flying and imparting important theory, a CFI has the job of making aviation a welcoming activity.

Since the CFI will fly with beginner pilots who may be stressed out, overwhelmed, or scared of the demands of aviation, it is necessary for them to offer encouragement and support.

An individual’s first few flights can be instrumental in determining whether they will continue to pursue aviation or not, and having the right teacher can make it a positive experience and encourage them to take their aviation journey further.

Being a model pilot

In addition to teaching beginner pilots through instructional training, the CFI must also be a model pilot themselves.

An amateur will study the behaviour of their instructor in order to determine the correct way to conduct themselves while in flight, and this impression may determine their future trajectory when it comes to aviation. A CFI needs to deliver instruction with seriousness, dedication, and professionalism, teaching beginners what it means to be a good pilot.


 If you have decided to pursue aviation, it is important for you to find a CFI to train with. A great place to find flight instructors, as well as aircraft for hire, are aviation clubs such as Sherburn Aero club. Not only does Sherburn offer a team of highly-skilled flight instructors, but also a community of aviation lovers which is bound to enrich your learning experience.

When surrounded by pilots at varying stages of their aviation journeys, you are provided with a challenging environment that encourages you to refine and expand your flying skillset.


 The airfield team at Sherburn is exceedingly welcoming and is always ready to help visitors and members alike.

If you are someone who just wishes to have a look around and get a feel of the place or perhaps experience your first flight, then the airfield team, which includes our highly-qualified CFIs as well as ground crew, would be happy to cater to your needs.  Sherburn has a total of 18 CFIs on board, all of whom are eager to help you get ahead in your aviation career.

Our team of flight instructors includes Ben Frederiks, Ed Bishop, Glenn Moody, James Fletcher, Jan Coster, Jimmy Hanson, John Dixon, Nigel Wheeldon, Noel Evans, Pete Barber, Pete Murphy, Peter Atkinson, Peter Jackson #1, Peter Jackson #2, Salvador Moya, Stephen Osborne, Steve Fletcher, and Vernon Guppy.

At Sherburn, flight instructors charge an hourly rate, with one hour of standard instruction costing 38 GBP, while more complex training, such as that involved in acquiring Night and Instrument Ratings is around 40 GBP. While the simulator is free to use, if an instructor is required for training, the same rates are charged.

Apart from this, aircraft are also available for hire at an hourly rate. To fly the Piper PA-28 Warrior and Cadet, the prices per hour are 172 GBP and 165 GBP respectively. While the Robin 164 comes with a rate of 164 GBP, the most pocket-friendly options are the Cessna C150 and AT-3, with a rate per hour of 134 GBP.  



If you hold a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or any other recreational licence, you are ineligible to work as a CFI. To become a CFI, a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is absolutely necessary.

The commercial licence allows a pilot to fly in exchange for monetary compensation, and it has more stringent requirements as compared to the PPL. While the PPL only requires a total of 45 hours of flight time, the CPL requires 200.

Out of these 200 hours, 100 must be spent in command of an aircraft, with the others being completed via dual instruction with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). 

The extra hours of training are necessary if a pilot wishes to refine their skills enough to teach others. Passing a series of theoretical exams with a minimum of 75% is also required.

In addition to this, the applicant for the CPL must also have the Class 1 medical certificate, which ensures that an individual is fit to fly without becoming a threat to themselves or others.

Acquiring additional ratings

With a standard CPL, a pilot is allowed to professionally fly a single-engine aeroplane such as the light aircraft available in Sherburn’s fleet.

However, if a pilot wishes to fly larger aeroplanes or those with more advanced controls, then additional ratings are needed.

A CFI may be qualified to teach on only one type of aeroplane or multiple types depending on the number of ratings they have on their licence.

A Night Rating is also necessary for a CFI, as many students wish to learn how to fly after dark.



 There are certain skills that truly make some CFIs stand out. Having these skills in your arsenal can make you a much better instructor. For those who are on the lookout for CFIs, it is good to keep the following things in mind when shortlisting possible instructors.


  • Patience: An irritable and easily angered CFI will not be able to provide an environment that is conducive to healthy learning.

    Amateur pilots are bound to make errors here and there, and it is best practice for a CFI to act with patience and understanding towards their students.

  • Clear communication: It goes without saying that being able to communicate ideas and concepts clearly is crucial when it comes to training. It is important for a CFI to give instructions in the simplest and most efficient way possible.

    A CFI who glosses over important information does not give full instructions, or uses far too difficult language to communicate basic ideas is not the ideal teacher.

  • Welcoming demeanour: A smile can go a long way in encouraging an overwhelmed and fearful beginner to keep going.

    A CFI must treat trainees with kindness and empathy and welcome them into the world of aviation with an open heart.
  • Ability to handle stressful situations: When the student is stressing out over a mistake that can lead to greater risk when flying, it is imperative for the CFI to remain calm and deal with the situation with a clear head.

    Keeping their cool under pressure is a very important skill for a CFI to have, and it can make beginner pilots much more comfortable while flying.

  • Honesty: While kindness is of the utmost importance, so is honesty and being firm when needed. If a student is slacking off or displaying inappropriate behaviour, it is necessary for the CFI to call them out.

    Also, it is important to be honest and not give beginners false confidence. If a pilot is lacking in their aviation skills, it must be communicated to them so that they can work on rectifying the errors.
  • Love of aviation: You have got to love what you teach! When a CFI is enthusiastic and passionate about aviation, it is natural for the energy to infect their students as well.

    For this reason, only those who love aviation enough to want to impart its knowledge to other people should become CFIs.


 Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs.

It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

Sherburn also offers the opportunity to learn alongside a team of dedicated Certified Flight Instructors (CFI), both via aircraft and our simulator. 

If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licenses, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran.

The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation for the long run.

In addition to that, if you are looking for a hangarage for your own aircraft, need servicing or repairs, want to buy a new aircraft or aviation equipment, or are just looking to enjoy and watch the aircraft, Sherburn Aero Club is the place to be.

Call us on 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information about the private pilot training facility at Sherburn, as well as our dedicated team of highly-skilled CFIs.

Photo by Artur Voznenko on Unsplash 



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