The March “Since You Asked” poll: Two at a time?

In the March issue, we asked digital subscribers whether they have ever tried to train with two instructors at the same time. The question was sparked by a situation in Rod’s column that involved a student pilot who was getting frustrated with the pace of his training. His instructor didn’t want to work weekends, which meant between his own work schedule and weather, he wound up flying only a few times a month. While he enjoyed working with the CFI, he wanted to keep moving forward. The CFI had promised him that he would more time to devote to the student’s training in a month.

It’s generally not a good idea to work with more than one CFI at a time, but I get the sentiment behind the student’s question. Rod said:

“It’s simply too easy for you to become confused when another instructor—one who has different training priorities and methods than your primary instructor—contradicts your previous learning (and yes, there’s a very good chance that this will happen).”

Our poll respondents generally had not flown with more than one CFI at a time, although not quite in the overwhelming numbers I’d predicted. Here are the results:

  • 56 percent had not.
  • 39 percent had.
  • 5 percent had not, but were considering doing just that.

What do you think? And if you’ve flown with more than one instructor (at the same time), I’d love to hear how that turned out for you.—Jill W. Tallman

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  • Amanda Faulkner

    I have worked with two instructors, it worked well for me especually when I was working on soloing. Having two diffrent oppinions helped me to pull from each instructors knowledge and gain my own. It was , in my believe very beneficial.

  • Cat Rickers

    My training hit a snag this past month, I think due to large gaps between flights. It was winter in Iowa and hard to find a good day to be out. We had spent the last several sessions in the pattern, and I was not making progress. So, I had a session with another CFI here to see if that would help break the cycle. It was great. I was nervous because I had never flown with him, but he had me go out to our practice area away from the FBO and review basic lessons before heading back to the pattern. It was a real relief to “just fly” for a while and gave me some fresh perspective on a lot of things — his emphasis was on different elements of power, altitude and balance. I would love to do this again, even though I really respect and enjoy training with my regular CFI.

  • Julie

    When I first started training for my PPL, I could fly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so I had two instructors just due to the schedule logistics. For a while, my Saturday instructor was kind of my “primary” instructor but shortly after soloing, I couldn’t manage Saturdays anymore, so I continued flying with my Wednesday instructor. I had no issues with switching back and forth. I think they stayed in communication behind the scenes so they always knew what I had done and needed more work on, etc. My experience was positive and if time and funds allowed for more frequent training, I’d use them both again (e.g. For IFR training in the future).

  • jtallman

    Cat, going up with a different CFI just once is actually a common tool and a good way to do exactly what you mentioned—get a fresh perspective. Good for you!–Jill

  • jtallman

    Julie–it’s great that you could make this work and that your CFIs were cooperative.—Jill

  • bclaremont

    I had a primary instructor, but I made it a point to fly with every instructor at the facility. Part of gaining experience and perspective is to plumb the knowledge of those that already have it. None of the instructors had a problem with this and they all treated each other with respect, which made for a good learning environment.

    I’ve flown out of airports where each instructor thinks they are the hot ticket and the other instructors are idiots. This is a lousy learning environment and one I would try to steer clear of.

  • Klipchuck

    I’m 58, got my private pilot August 2011. To learn to fly I purchased a 1980 piper warrior. I had 0 hrs of flying when I purchased the warrior. I had two instructors, one a retired 747 instructor pilot, and the other from the local FBO. The instructor from the FBO worked independent of the FBO. Personally, this worked great. I could always get instruction when I could fly. The 747 instructor was a wealth of life stories, and the young instructor was on top of everything to groom me for my check ride.

    As a student, a difference of opinion by instructors would be an opportunity to figure out what I thought, but that was not an issue.

    I sold my warrior a couple of months ago after logging 300 hrs.

  • lindsay petre

    When I was close to my checkride my instructor asked me to fly with other instructors to get a “second opinion” if there was anything that needed work. I got good feedback from them and was able to proceed to the checkride from there. I would recommend it.


    There is a saying down here in New Zealand that if you want six opinions about an aspect of flying, you only need ask three instructors.
    I now have 480 hours, since my introductory flight 30 months ago when I was only 72 years old.
    I still take instruction to improve my skills, and accept there are many different ways to fly – for example on crosswind landings whether to flick straight at touch-down, or to fly the whole approach on slip rather than crab.
    But I don’t like being told “That’s wrong!” by an instructor who has a different view, if I’m doing exactly what another instructor had taught. Luckily that’s a very rare occurance.

  • Steve

    It work well for me and my wife. It was really more of an overlap between the two. One preferred getting the students to solo and the other did all the XC training. It was nice to get two sides of the story but there is a little conflicting information. I see it as getting to pick the procedure you like the most and making it your own. It also helps for scheduling and sign offs and etc. Overall a good thing.