I've been highlighting various professional pilot paths and the profession tonight is a favorite of mine, flight instructor.
Flight instruction, by many pilots, is unfortunately seen as only a means to an end. Just a way to build flight experience before moving on to the next rung on the professional pilot ladder. But for some instructors, they realize that becoming a certified flight instructor (CFI) is much more than just another line on a resume, it is the key to sustaining general aviation as we know it today.
As a flight instructor you do more than just teach others to fly, you are directly responsible for promoting and advancing civilian aviation. By transforming ordinary people into pilots, you are insuring the continuation of one of our nation's greatest freedoms, to fly!
Flight instruction is by far one of the most rewarding jobs in all of aviation. The thrill of sending a student on their first solo flight, or on their first solo cross country is very exhilarating. The joy of knowing that you are in some ways responsible for everything your student knows about flying is both sobering and profoundly satisfying.
Flight instruction is also very challenging. They say that the flight instructor certificate is one of the more difficult checkrides in all of aviation. You are too not only know the information, but to be able to teach it as well. This requires a much greater depth of understanding. Every student is unique and that requires a working knowledge of psychology and psychiatry.
Civilian flight instructors have also played important roles in our nation's history, playing a large part in the primary training of most of the military pilots of both the First and Second World War.
Flight instruction is often overlooked by many professional pilots in light of more glamarous careers but I find nothing more glamarous than being in charge of creating and shaping a new generation of aviators.
Wherever the road of aviation takes you (and it can take you many great places) I hope you don't overlook the role or importance of your own flight instructor and that when given the opportunity to become a flight instructor you'll consider it carefully and say yes. We could use you.