Flying instructor

What they do

Flying instructors teach learner pilots how to safely fly a plane. This involves briefing the student, demonstrating various movements, directing the student to perform the movements and then monitoring their progress. They also evaluate when students are ready to sit their license exam.

Flying instructors familiarise students with the aeroplane’s controls, systems and emergency procedures, and instruct them on how to ensure that the aeroplane is airworthy. They also teach students to manoeuvre the aeroplane safely on the ground (taxiing), and how to take off and land under various wind and runway conditions.

Working conditions

Flying instructors teach their students in both a classroom setting, and also in the air. They must conduct lessons in a variety of weather conditions. Whilst in the air, conditions may be cramped and turbulent.

Flying instructors may have to work at dawn, dusk and at night in order to prepare students for various flying circumstances, and may be required to work weekends.

Tools and technologies

Flying instructors mainly use dual-controlled crafts for teaching, and will sometimes use flight simulators and flight training devices. They use computers to create lesson plans and assessments, to review students’ records and to organise their flying schedule. They are usually responsible for regularly checking the airworthiness of the aircraft, and must have strong knowledge of aircraft maintenance.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a flying instructor, you must first successfully hold an Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved commercial pilot licence. You then need to gain a Flight Instructor Rating and Training Endorsementfrom CASA, ranging from Grade 3 to Grade 1. A Grade 1 rating is the highest qualification in phases of flight training and instruction.

To obtain a Flight Instructor Rating and Training Endorsement you must meet specific aeronautical experience requirements, undertake the instructor rating aeronautical exam, complete flight instructor training to meet your desired grade level, and gain a minimum of one training endorsement. Further information is available on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority website.

You will also need to hold a qualification in training and assessment.

The Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a registered provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website and the My Skills website.

You also need to hold a current CASA Class 1 medical certificate and possess a Night Visual Flight Rules Rating and/or a Command Instrument Rating.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a flying instructor in Western Australia, you need hold a current commercial pilot licence or an air transport pilot licence from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

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