Flight Instructor

Give lessons on how to fly airplanes.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$28,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Flight Instructors do?

Flight Instructors teach people how to operate aircraft. As a Flight Instructor, you take a soup-to-nuts approach to your lesson plans. Expect to teach everything from reading cockpit gauges to the physics of flying to government flight regulations.

You spend about half of your teaching time on the ground and the other half in the air. Ground classes are where Flight Instructors teach the fundamentals. It’s important that you give your students a strong understanding of the basics before they get their heads in the clouds.

During your first lessons, you describe the concepts of load and drag, as well as how wind forces affect the wings on different types of aircraft. Another especially important lesson will be on how a plane takes off from the ground and goes airborne without stalling.

Your ground instruction is rounded out by an explanation of the aircraft’s complex network of controls. Demonstrating on an actual airplane, you show them how the rudders and throttle work, and what an engine that’s functioning properly should sound like. You also teach them how to go through mental checklists to ensure that the plane is in proper working order before it is taken to the sky.

Once you’re confident that your students have the basics of flying down pat, you’ll sit alongside them as they make their first ascent into the air. You start with basic maneuvers, teaching them how to take off successfully, fly straight, and land smoothly. As the student progresses, you might decide he or she is ready for more advanced exercises like barrel rolls, sharp turns, and climbs.

Should I be a Flight Instructor?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Aesthetics Instructor, Airline Pilot Flight Instructor, Automotive Instructor, Body Recall Instructor See More

    How to become a Flight Instructor

    Flight Instructors often have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:m9cdga&chl=no+college+%2811%25%29|certificate+%2855%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2826%25%29|master%27s+%286%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,11,55
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