Real Answers from Real Pilots

A Week in the Life of an ATP CFI

This week has been pretty busy. With checkrides, solos, and students new to instrument training, I have no shortage of work. I would say this is a pretty typical week.

I flew 29 hours, was paid for 32. I spent aproxamilty 54 hours at the school.

  • I currently have two students in the instrument phase, one in the private phase, and a fourth student that just finished instrument and is off on crew cross countries. I am also working with another instructors student while he is out of town this week.
  • With daylight savings causing sunrise in Florida to fall back from 7:45 to 6:45, it has made for some very early mornings.

Monday (2.5 Hours Logged, paid for 5.5… We are paid for our students solo time as we have to be on the ground monitoring them. Most of us use this time to provide ground instruction.)

-Arrived 9:30am
-9:30am - 10am - Warmed up solo student.
-10am - 1pm - Student soloed. Taught instrument ground lesson.
-1:30pm - 5pm - Instrument flight lesson
-5pm-7pm - Instrument simulator lesson
Home 7:30pm

Tuesday (8.0 Hours Logged)

-Arrived at 6:15am for preflight brief
-6:45am - 9:45am Private cross country flight lesson
-10:30am - 12:30pm - Instrument flight lesson
-1:30pm - 3:30pm - Instrument flight lesson
-4pm - 5:30pm - Private checkride prep flight
-6pm - 7pm - Private pilot simulator lesson
Home 7:30pm

Wednesday (7.3 Hours Logged)

-Arrived at 6:15am for preflight brief
-6:45am - 9:45am Private cross country
-10am - 11:30am - Instrument ground lesson
-11:30am - 1:30pm - Instrument flight lesson
-2pm - 4pm - Instrument flight lesson
Home 4:30pm

Thursday (5.4 Hours Logged)

-Arrived at 6:15 for preflight brief
-6:45am-9am Private checkride prep flight
-9:15am - 10am Weekly instructor meeting
-10:30am-12:30pm Solo cross country ground
-12:30pm-2:30pm Instrument cross country flight
-3:30pm-5:30pm Instrument cross country flight
Home 6pm

Friday (5.8 Hours Logged)


-Arrived at 6:15 for preflight brief
-6:45-8:45am Instrument flight lesson
-9:45 - 1:15 Instrument flight lesson
Home 1:45pm


When you say you were paid for 32hrs, but you were at the school for 54hrs what work were you doing that was “unpaid” and why was it considered “off the clock”

At the flight school I work at you only get paid for the time you are teaching. So you are not paid while between students.

I see. That makes sense. How much time do you spend lesson planning per session?

That is hard to say. Every student is different private Vs commercial. But the longer you teach for the quicker you become. I got my CFII in 1989.

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What is the typical hourly rate once you get hired as a cfi?

Thank you.

Does the 32 count towards the hour thresholds for pay scale or just the 29. Not sure it really matter in relation to my real question, but I’d like to know, I guess. My real question is how hard is it or what things cause issue with making the 100 hours a month and getting paid the highest hourly rate?


First you have to have enough students doing enough flying to make 100. Second you’re also expected (required) to do ground school which might impact your hours. Last 100hrs a month is ALOT of flying. Everyone is in a hurry but it’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality. When you go through YOUR flight training do you want your instructor to give you quality instruction? Do you want them to take the time to explain things and offer to spend time not in the airplane to make sure you understand concepts and improve your skills or should they simply treat you as a means to build hours and jump from plane to plane only caring that the engine is turning?



Not in a rush to get my 1500 just wondering if it was something that was a choice to get the 100 hours a month pay rate or if, at times, it was impossible, even if you wanted to.