Would you buy a car without taking it out on the road for a test drive? I didn’t think so… Well picking a flight instructor is essentially the same thing. Earning a pilot certificate is a big investment, maybe not as large as a brand new vehicle, but a big investment of both money and time nonetheless.
Success with flight training depends on quality flight instruction. If you are going to shell out a bunch of money to earn a new license, you should certainly be able to find the RIGHT flight instructor. The right flight instructor for someone else might not be the right flight instructor for you. We each learn and communicate slightly differently; as a result the successfulness with which we learn from others varies.
Further, the right flight instructor for you while you are pursuing your initial certification (Private/Sport/Recreational) may not be the best fit for your advanced instruction… Many times they are the right fit and that’s why people tend to stick with one instructor as long as they can.
Many students sign up for a first flight lesson and are paired with an instructor and then they are off and running… Sometimes flight schools will ask some questions of the perspective student to try and find a good match, other times the flight goes to the first open instructor on the schedule. Either way, remember that you are investing a great deal of your time and money on learning to fly. As I wrote in a post in April (The Student Pilot – Flight Instructor Relationship) good, solid, communication is the foundation of productive flight training.
I always recommend that new students try flying with a couple of flight instructors before settling on who they want to work with for the adventure of learning to fly. The process isn’t clear-cut and simple but it is definitely worth it. Doing a coupe of lessons while first getting started to find the right instructor can even reduce the total cost of your flight training. If it is easy for you to communicate with your instructor less time is wasted with gaining an understand during communication and more time is spent practicing and demonstrating physical flying skills and aeronautical knowledge! Just as you would test drive a variety of cars before you invest in the purchase, you should test fly your flight instructor options before getting to far down the road of learning to fly…
For more on this topic check out the November 2014, “3 Things Every Pilot Needs to Know About…” post on this subject!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9