CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - 4
The art of professionalism
BY CODY CHRISTENSEN
BRANDING YOURSELF as a professional
is second only to safety in terms of being a flight instructor. While many CFIs are only in the position long enough to build hours to make it to the next job, it is imperative professionalism is in the forefront even if you only plan to do this until the next hiring
MAKE SURE YOUR STUDENT AS WELL AS YOU ARE PREPARED MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY FOR THAT FIRST HOUR OF INSTRUCTION.
boom. Here are a couple of tips to help brand yourself as a professional: dress the part, prepare your first impressions, and follow up. First, always dress the part. If a new student walks into the airport lounge and sees a bunch of people sitting around, you need to be the one that looks better and more responsive than all the other flight instructors. We all know it is a cutthroat market right now and being the one instructor with a tie on or even a tucked in shirt might just seal the deal with that multimillion dollar student. Many students have been turned off by a flight instructor in shorts and a t-shirt that just happened to be at the airport when that new client showed up. If flight instruction is a stop on your aviation career consider dressing for the next
job you want. If that means wearing a uniform to play the part, then do it! Second, prepare your first impression. In the business world they call it the elevator speech—that crucial thirty seconds you get to make your case why you are the best person for the job. It might look a little goofy but rehearsing your own elevator speech a few times in the mirror will do wonders when the opportunity finally comes. Third, always be prepared. When you finally land that big client, plan, plan,
Did you know? CFI tips
WHETHER YOU'RE AN independent CFI or part of a flight school, you may be interested in Flight School Business, a bi-weekly e-mail newsletter dedicated to flight school owners and managers, and the businesses that support them. FSB will include marketing advice, how to increase cash flow, what's new in the world of security, finance, and HR, and more. Visit http://fsb.aopa.org for more information and to sign up.
and plan some more exactly what you are going to do on that first flight. Make sure your student as well as you are prepared mentally and physically for that first hour of instruction. Help them to understand what is going on and to not overwhelm them with the vernacular of aviation. Keep it simple and make sure you leave them wanting more when you get back on the ground. Lastly, make sure to follow up. For most flight instructors, introductory flights, while nice, do not pay the bills. After your first flight, call them and ask what they thought about it—what did they like and not like—and treat it as if your flying career depended on this one client. You never know when that one student will turn around, buy a jet, and be in need of a professional pilot. Cody Christensen, an airline transport pilot, is a multiengine instructor and an assistant professor at South Dakota State University.
4 | www.airsafetyinstitute.org
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2, Issue 1
ASI Online: Accident Forgiveness
CFI Tools: The Art of Professionalism
Checklist: Fuel— Good to Go?
Safety Spotlight: That Sinking Feeling
Chief's Corner: In Their Shoes
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Contents
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - 2
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - ASI Online: Accident Forgiveness
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - CFI Tools: The Art of Professionalism
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Checklist: Fuel— Good to Go?
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Safety Spotlight: That Sinking Feeling
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - Chief's Corner: In Their Shoes
CFI-to-CFI Newsletter - Volume 2 | Issue 1 - 8