What is a CFI?
A CFI refers to a “certified” flight instructor. It is the title given to flight instructors who passed standard qualification and certification requirements that are specific to a country or jurisdiction. In simple terms, those that get to be CFIs are allowed by law to teach and give trainings that relate to flying and becoming pilots. Pilots that can be trained by certified flight instructors may be for private planes or for commercial jets.
But since CFIs are tasked to train future pilots, they themselves must possess a commercial pilot’s license and an instrument rating in most cases. The licenses given out for commercial flying are specific to the type or class of aircraft. Different licensing requirements are issued for single-engine planes and for multi-engine planes. Usually those that want to become CFIs get their initial rating from single-engine planes because the training for which involves less expense. But people have the option to start training with multi-engine planes. After the trainings on the class of aircraft, CFIs may also opt to be certified to train other people for instrument ratings. Qualifications may vary from one country to another and in most cases one can only train pilot students after a specific number of hours rendered for teaching and instruction. Others also have a set number of years of having been certified as flight instructor before actually being allowed to train other people.
In most countries, all applicants for certification to become flight instructors must reach the legal age of 18 before he/she can start with the certification process. Applicants for CFI also have to pass eligibility tests which may involve both written and practical parts. These examinations are also specific to the type and class of aircraft the person wishes to be certified with. It is also common for certified flight instructors to be classified into different categories and classes, with each class referring to specific skills, eligibilities, and ratings.