CFI Academy help

Just passed my commercial check ride the other day, and am 1 week into cfi academy. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with the amount of lesson plans, and just work to be done in general. Anyone have any tips or advice? Anyone purchased lesson plans as a starting point to make this huge task a little more manageable? For a moment i considered deferring cfi and go tow banners at the beach or something for few years to build time haha!

Seriously, anything would help at this point…


Congrats on passing your Commercial Checkride!

CFI can feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but hundreds and thousands have done it before you, so it’s doable. I would steer away from purchasing premade lesson plans, ATP provides you some supplement ones that you can use in conjunction with creating your own. Doing it on your own will be more rewarding and beneficial in the long run, you’ll not only revisit old knowledge, but improve and be able to phrase and word things in your own way. The last thing in a CFI checkride you want is to sound like a robot and monotone.

Have you reached out with fellow students to practice and get tips? I found that staying late on Zoom’s with classmates and talking about how we could develop lesson plans that would work, seemed helpful. Another tip is to reach out to fellow instructors at your primary location and compare their lesson plans and see how they did it. I recommend to all my training center student’s that start CFI to participate teaching material as early on with a moderator (an instructor present) to get practice with material and presenting.

When you arrive to your CFI Academy location get with students and start practicing presenting the material. Here’s the thing, ATP built the CFI Academy to be right after your most proficient phase of program, Commercial SE for a reason. You’ve acquired all the knowledge to be a certificate holder and shown proficiency in the maneuvers, the only real difference is now taking that knowledge and teaching it. As I was going through CFI Academy, I presented and presented with classmates to enhance my ability.



CFI school is definitely a bear. You’re asking the FAA to allow you to train other pilots and that’s ac huge responsibility. As Brady said talk to other students and instructors and know it can be done. Yes it’s hard but it’s worth it and succeeding will give you confidence when things get tough later.


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As much as it seems like lesson plans are just a giant time killer, they really are your best tool. Not only are you preparing them for your checkride and for your future as a CFI, it’s also helping you study and sharpen your knowledge simply by making them. Organizing your thoughts in to concise lesson plans is a very valuable study tool.

The best thing you can do it surround yourself with classmates going through the same thing. You can practice teaching to each other, share notes and critique each other’s lesson plans.


Hi David,

Just ran into one of the CSI’s at CFI Academy who is now doing TAA. He said by far the most success he has seen are from students that band together to work as a team. I was lucky enough to have two other guys willing to stay after zoom every day and during the weekend in between to make lesson plans together. And during the flight portion in Mesa my whole cohort was there every day from 8-5 and my roommates and I kept going at the dining room table after dinner.

It’s a big task and the intensity ramps up significantly, but keep your head down and keep working. This is the final push, once you are through with CFI you will get 3 ratings in about 3 weeks, so get yourself into high gear and you’ll make it through, just like many have before you.

Trust me, ALL of my CFI class thought pipeline jobs were looking pretty good at some point…


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I like Alex’s suggestion of teaming up with other students.

As for myself, I went the lazy route and purchased pre-made lesson plans just so I had something. It was a complete waste. I actually found it to be more difficult to use because I would have never written a lesson the way they did so the lessons sounded unnatural.

I ended up starting from scratch after CFI school with the help of ATP’s lessons and the ACS for each license or rating.


Thanks for all the feedback. After looking at a few samples of lesson plans that I found, it looked like it would be harder to fix what was there than it would be to start from scratch. It is helping revisiting old info I haven’t seen in a while. Slowly trudging through. I find myself exhausted after being “in class” for 7 hours and hard to want to do more. Eyes on the prize… eyes on the prize…


What helped me a ton was becoming very familiar with the CFI PTS. From there, I started making lesson plans for the areas that it says the examiner shall select those tasks, like Instructor Responsibilities & Professionalism and Runway Incursion Avoidance. Once I got the ball rolling on those ones, it was much easier to work on the rest.

Also, practicing teaching helped a ton. In front of fellow classmates is best for an actual audience plus immediate feedback. I also practiced teaching to no one. Seemed odd at first to talk out loud to an empty room, but you get used to it quickly. :laughing: Also recommended, although I didn’t personally do this one much, is teach to someone who isn’t in aviation. Maybe a family member or friend who isn’t a pilot at all. That way you can figure out what kind of aviation jargon and slang you use that would go right over the head of a brand new student, and work on simplifying your words.

I’m not sure what the footprint is for CFI Academy these days, but when I did it a few years ago, it took me almost two months because of a lack of examiners. When I got to CFI Academy, I felt so overwhelmed by everything like you’re describing. Near the end of my time there, though, I was frustrated because I felt so ready and prepared and I just didn’t have an examiner or check ride date. I hope the same happens for you, except the lack of examiners part. :slight_smile: