Most helicopter pilots begin their careers by working as flight instructors. In order to give instruction in any aircraft you must hold a qualification as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). We strongly recommend that all Commercial students obtain this certificate. Not only is it beneficial to the newly qualified pilot hunting for his or her first job but it is a qualification which can make a difference throughout one’s career. Most large helicopter companies have internal training departments for recurrent training as well as for transitioning pilots into new equipment. These instructor positions are often the most attractive and sought-after jobs in the company.
For students who complete all of their training at Star Helicopters, it is normal to incorporate part of the dual flight instruction into the Commercial Program, hence reducing the program costs. Essentially, we prepare all of our Commercial applicants to the higher CFI standard.
While there is no minimum number of flight hours required for the Certified Flight Instructor rating, you can reasonably expect to spend between 10 – 25 hours of flight time necessary to gain proficiency on the advanced maneuvers of the CFI practical test.
Depending on the amount of time you spend self-studying, you can expect to spend between 20 – 40 hours of ground instruction to become proficient for your CFI oral examination.
On a more complex level, the pilot has to learn how to fly the aircraft and simultaneously teach the maneuver. Often this means having to correct a student’s mistakes while calmly explaining the error and the appropriate correction. The pilot is about to go from the position of being a student in the capable hands of a competent instructor to being the person with full responsibility for the safety of the flight. Initially this can be a daunting experience. The Star Helicopters Instructor Program is designed to make the transition to the role of Instructor as seamless as possible.
In the context of the above, each area of aeronautical knowledge is addressed during the one-on-one instruction. Every student has daily teaching-practice assignments, which are then analyzed by the instructor. At the end of each session you will be giving a five minute lecture on a previously assigned aviation subject. These exercises develop confidence in the students, as well as showing the importance of having a very thorough grasp of the subject matter.