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Six Light Single-Engine Planes They Totally Need to Bring Back!

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Airplanes are sexy; no one would argue that point, at least not in these pages! But being in the airplane manufacturing business? Extremely unromantic. It’s expensive, there’s limited profit potential, there’s liability out the ying-yang, and when you think about it, the market is a tiny one. Hence, airplanes come and go. But in our little neck of the aviation woods, where light planes rule, the stars are well known, and even many of those bright lights are no longer being made. And there are other, long-gone planes we love, one of which we think is so cool we thought it worthy of consideration even in this shortlist of planes they need to bring back (and soon!), even if that is very unlikely to ever happen.

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AA-5B Tiger: Photo By Alan Wilson Via Wikipedia Commons

AA-5B Tiger

There’s no top of this list of planes they totally need to bring back, but if there were, the Tiger would be right up there. The four-seat, all-metal, roll-back canopy low-winger was one of the greatest accomplishments of the late Jim Bede’s aircraft design legacy. It was revolutionary—its unassuming looks fool people into thinking it’s plain vanilla, but it’s got a free-castoring nosewheel, bonded wing skins and lightweight, expanded-aluminum airframe structures. And it flew great. Introduced by American Aviation of Yankee fame, the AA-5 first flew in the summer of 1970 and had its first keys tossed to a customer the next year, but the first model called the Tiger hit the airways a few years later. By then, it had gotten the correct engine, the 180-hp Lycoming, which gave it the kind of Skylane-level cruise speeds and sprightly climb performance that made owners fall in love with it. I flew one for a few years. It might be my favorite airplane ever. Nostalgia, perhaps, but it’s a great ride. Surprisingly roomy, visibility to die for, low maintenance costs and a great instrument platform. No fewer than five different companies have signed up to build the Tiger after their predecessors shut the hangar doors. It’s currently not in production, and with 3,282 built over 35 years (with several long pauses along the way), there really aren’t that many out there. Bring it back! 

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Beechcraft V-35 V-Tail Bonanza: Photo By The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Public Domain.

Beechcraft V-35 V-Tail Bonanza

Some Bonanza fanatics think that there’s no such thing as a Bonanza without a V-tail. The original Bonanza was, indeed, a V-tail model. Introduced in 1947, it was light, fast, modern and easy to fly and is arguably the most revolutionary light plane in aviation history. And for the next decade and a half, if you wanted a Beechcraft Bonanza (and we are not counting the Twin Bonanza), the V-tailed Model 35 was the sole menu item. Straight-tail “Bonanzas” started showing up in the early ’60s, and there are so many arguments to be made as to why that configuration is an improvement over the V-tail. Models 33 and 36 are each more stable than the forked-tailed version. They have better safety records, there are fewer structural problems with their tails, and the tendency to Dutch roll is gone. But the V-35 is just so beautiful. It handles like a bobsled on a smooth and fast track, it’s beautifully appointed and, from an aesthetic perspective, it’s just the coolest. A real work of art in the hangar. But it hasn’t been around since 1982, when the last one rolled off the line from Wichita’s east-side airplane maker. Don’t expect a resurrection anytime soon. Beech built an enormous amount of Bonanzas over the decades, more than 10,000, in fact, and many are still flying. But wouldn’t a brand-new Bonanza be the best? 

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Varga Kachina: Photo By Aeroprints.com Via Wikipedia Commons.

Varga Kachina

Here’s one you might not be familiar with, and if that’s the case, it’s certainly understandable. Between the plane’s introduction in 1948 and its last hurrah in 1982, fewer than 200 of the comely little tandem two-seaters hit the sky, and most of those were built between 1975 and 1982. A lot of them are still flying, probably right around 100 of them, and it’s easy to see why. The thing is just the cutest little bug of a plane you’ve ever seen. At the same time, it’s also got this strangely military feel to it, probably because it resembles in general configuration, down to its straight-standing tail, the Beech T-34 Mentor that, make no mistake, is way more airplane than the Kachina. That said, the little Varga is a joy to fly, and I flew one years ago. On its not-so-little 150 hp or 180 hp Lycoming engine, it climbs great, and the visibility is spectacular, which is handy for spotting make-believe bogeys at your six, and the handling is beautifully harmonized. Fast, it is not. But, c’mon, is fast what this kind of airplane is all about? Besides, when they bring it back, which they most assuredly will not do any time soon, they will certainly improve the aerodynamics and make it aerobatic, as well. We can dream, can’t we?

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Cessna 177 Cardinal: Photo By Bidgee Via Wikipedia Commons.

Cessna 177 Cardinal

When Cessna brought back its greatly abbreviated lineup of single-engine planes in the mid-1990s after a 10-year hiatus, perhaps the omission that most grieved enthusiasts was that of the Cardinal, which is arguably one of the, if not the, most beautiful Cessnas ever built. Introduced in the late ’60s, the Cardinal was intended by Cessna as a replacement for the 172, which sounds like a bad joke today. It didn’t work, and Cessna built many thousands of 172s after that, but by gum, the Cardinal was much beloved by those who owned and flew them. Don’t get the wrong idea. It was far from a niche offering. Cessna built more than 4,000 in the decade following the type’s introduction in 1968. And it was cool, with its two major features being the cantilever high wing and the setback of said wing, both of which allowed easy access to the seating area. And Cessna did a great job with the interior as well. It was comfortable and had terrific visibility, but it wasn’t fast, with a cruise speed of around 120-125 knots. Even the retractable-gear 177RG isn’t much faster than that. And if you note the Cardinal’s passing from production in 1978, seven years before the company pulled the plug on the rest of its singles, you might get the idea that it wasn’t selling well. Correct. Though Cessna did, indeed, get a lot of low-pressure urging to put the plane back into production, the all-metal model wasn’t cheap to build—cantilever-wing designs tend to require lots of production hours compared to their strut-braced brethren. And in a way, Cessna almost did bring back the Cardinal, or at least a Cardinal wannabe, when it floated the idea of a high-winged, no-strut, all-composite plane it called the Next Generation Piston (NGP). It never took off, production-wise, and as far as beauty is concerned, it couldn’t hold a candle to its sheet-metal inspiration. 

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Cessna 210: Photo By “Fast” Eddie Maloney Via Wikipedia Commons.

Cessna 210

Early 210s were a work in progress, but once they got the cantilever wing, the classic Centurion body and the big motor, they were and are simply an outstanding aircraft. If Cessna had modernized the 210 and maybe even thrown in a chute to appeal to the prospects who buy Cirrus SR22s, might it have been a contender instead of sitting out the last 36 years in retirement? Are you kidding—of course it could have been a major player. The 210 has it all. It has a prodigious payload, terrific true airspeeds, the turbo model is a beast, and the plane is both capable and a pretty one. With its updated glass panel, as so many existing 210s are sporting today, who wouldn’t have wanted one? Yes, it would have been expensive. At the same time, isn’t it in the same class as the SR22, but with a couple more seats, or the Beechcraft G36 Bonanza? Instead of resurrecting the Centurion, Cessna opted for buying a composite airplane program, the Columbia 350/400, which it probably saw as a cheaper-to-build airplane and one that better appealed to modern sensibilities. I don’t know. I’ve got a good bit of time in a 210, and it’s one of the very best airplanes I’ve ever flown. Let’s bring it back. 

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Photo By Peter Bakema Via Wikipedia

Commander 112/114

Of all the planes featured here, the Commander, and perhaps the Tiger, are the ones most likely to make it back to production, though neither’s chances are all that great. Like the Tiger, the Commander, launched by Rockwell Aircraft at the dawn of the ’70s, was ultimately produced in decent numbers. Around 1,200 of the four-seaters made it out the factory doors. Like the Cardinal, the Commander incorporated not new ideas so much as ideas that few existing singles were making use of. In the case of the Rockwell single, this feature was cabin size. It’s a roomy plane from an era when rubbing shoulders with other pilots was a literal expression. Book numbers for the Commanders are among the most ambitious in aviation, but with its 260 hp (some were turbocharged), the roomy, cruciform-tailed Commander could do around 150 knots at cruise. Early models were payload limited—it’s fuel or passengers; you decide—but the aesthetics and quality work inside and out were among the best in the biz. A very solid cross-country and instrument platform, the Commander was good at doing just what it was designed to do, though everyone wished it was about 15 knots faster. With the new production ones we’re imagining as we write, we are certain that this concern will be addressed.

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Photo by Aleksandr Markin Via Wikimedia Commons

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From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag Exercise

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag Exercise
F-16 Barak of the 115th Squadron “Flying Dragon”, the IAF aggressor squadron. (All images credit: Avi Scharf)

Take a look at these shots of the aircraft, from 8 nations, taking part in .

is the fifth iteration of Israel’s main aerial exercise, organized every two years at Ovda Air Base, in the southern Negev desert, Israel. As already reported in detail here, this year’s edition, attended by dozens aircraft, hundreds of pilots and over 1,000 ground personnel from 8 nations, is the largest international air exercise Israel has ever hosted.

Along with the Israeli aircraft, including the F-35I Adir of the 116th “Lions Of The South” squadron, the second IAF unit (after the 140th “Golden Eagle” squadron) to operate the 5th generation aircraft; the F-15D Baz of the 106th “Spearhead” squadron and the F-16Cs “Barak” of the 115th Squadron “Flying Dragon”, the aggressor squadron of the Israeli Air Force; Blue Flag 2011 sees the participation of the RAF Typhoon FGR4 and German Air Force Eurofighters; the Hellenic Air Force F-16s; the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000I; the French Air Force Rafales; the U.S. Air Force F-16CMs of the 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem as well as the Italian Air Force F-35As and G.550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning), that also took part in Blue Flag 2019.

Blue Flag always provides a great opportunity for journalists and photographers to observe some pretty intense flying activity. Our friend Avi Scharf had the opportunity to attend the Media Day of exercise on Sunday Oct. 24, 2021 and take the shots of the participating aircraft you can find in this post.

Blue Flag 2021 is underway until Thursday Oct. 28, 2021.

- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseGerman Air Force Eurofighter “Eagle Star”, a special colored jet sporting the Israeli and German flags.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseTwo F-15s right after take off from Ovda AB.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseF-15D Baz
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseIndian Mirage 2000
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseAn F-35I takes off. Two G550 can be seen in the background.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseIsraeli Air Force F-35I Adir.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseTwo F-35s during taxi
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseIAF F-35I landing
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseF-16 Barak
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseIAF Aggressor pilot
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseIndian Air Force Mirage 2000I
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseFrench Air Force Rafale
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseItalian Air Force F-35A
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseClose up on the nose of an F-35I Adir.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseGerman Eurofighter.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseRAF Typhoon FGR4
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseU.S. F-16CM of the 480th FS taking off.
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag Exercise480th FS F-16CM landing at Ovda
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag Exercise480th FS pilot
- From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag ExerciseTwo Eurofighters right after take off from Ovda

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - From Ovda With Love: Here Are The Israeli And Foreign Combat Aircraft Taking Part in Blue Flag Exercise
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

Mustang musings: what it’s like to fly the legendary P-51

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Several years ago my close friend Lewis Shaw and I took a trip south from Dallas to Encinal, TX, in his North American P-51D Mustang. We were flying to the remote and little-known town to visit with an associate who was a serious collector of warbirds. He was looking to buy a second Mustang to add to his collection and Lewis was looking to sell his—a polished aluminum beauty that was an exquisite example of the legendary WWII fighter in every way.

Neither Lewis nor the interested buyer were new to the Mustang world. Lewis had owned two beautiful Mustangs prior to this one and the interested buyer had one already in his stable and a number of other perfectly restored and flightworthy warbirds to boot. I had arranged the meeting between the two and was invited along for the ride to handle introductions.

Mustang 1 1 300x155 - Mustang musings: what it’s like to fly the legendary P-51

Acceleration in a North American P-51D is rapid and seriously forceful.

Acceleration in a North American P-51D is rapid and seriously forceful. If you’ve ever put the pedal to the metal in a high-dollar sports car, no further explanation is required. During the first few seconds following brake release, the pilot has no direct forward view. Because the tailwheel is still on the runway, all Mustang (and taildragger) pilots must momentarily compensate by developing a peripheral sense of where the airplane is heading. Once a little forward stick is applied (which, incidentally, also unlocks the tailwheel from the rudder) and the tail lifts, the view forward is excellent. At that point, the mission objective becomes simply keeping the airplane on the centerline while it accelerates to takeoff speed.

During acceleration, engine power is metered out in measured quantities. Too much torque can be a dangerous thing when airspeed and lift are marginal, so max power (approximately 40 inches of mercury at 3,000 rpm) isn’t applied at the very beginning of the takeoff roll. It is, in fact, eased into at a somewhat conservative pace using a good mix of experience, book learning, and common sense.

Staying centered is no overly simple task; the P-51D’s Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and Hamilton Standard four-blade propeller develop a lot of torque. Right rudder in serious quantities is required to offset the pull to the left (five degrees of right rudder are, in fact, pre-set by the pilot prior to takeoff to ease rudder pedal forces), but once the airplane’s airspeed gets to the point where the rudder and vertical tail have acquired some authority, the pilot can reduce the right rudder input and start concentrating on other things.

Once airborne at just over 100 miles per hour, the landing gear are retracted and, if flaps were used (20 degrees–optional), they are retracted also. The oil and coolant shutters are usually operating in automatic mode, so they are not an issue–particularly on a cool day.

Immediately after takeoff, the pilot has to be conscious not only of too much engine power being applied too quickly, but also P-factor. Sometimes referred to as asymmetric blade effect, it is a condition that occurs usually at low airspeeds and relatively high angles of attack. Without getting into the modestly complicated aerodynamics of it all, suffice it to say that P-factor forces a propeller driven airplane to yaw, usually to the left, in concert with the added force of torque. At low airspeeds and low altitudes, P-factor and torque can create a deadly duo that P-51 pilots do their best to avoid at all costs, particularly during takeoff and landing.

My friend, pilot, and Mustang owner, Lewis Shaw and I were, of course, communicating throughout the takeoff roll and departure from Addison Airport. I was having a seriously enjoyable time in the back seat documenting everything with my Nikons and trying to keep up with all the activity in the front seat. After some radio chatter with the tower, ATC got us heading in the right direction and out of the way of Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport traffic. Basic route for us was due south/southwest to Waco, Austin, and San Antonio, and then a slight veer to the west after we passed over the Alamo.

Encinal—population 629—our destination, is just over 100 miles south of San Antonio, so air time from Addison (just north of Dallas) to Encinal was just about an hour and fifteen minutes cruising at around 300 mph. Cruising altitude was around 6,500 feet. All in all, a comfortable setup for the airplane and Lewis and me.

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Cruising along in the P-51D is an unforgettable experience.

The Merlin, at cruise, is a relatively smooth and responsive engine. With a helmet and headset on, the cockpit noise level is easily bearable but far from quiet.

Finding that I had overdressed a bit and had put on a sweatshirt that proved redundant, I decided to remove it in the tight constraints of the back seat. This required some serious twisting and turning, a complicated unbuckling of belt and chute harness, and of course the removal of my helmet. The latter quickly gave me a much better sense of actual ambient cockpit noise without any ear protection. Suffice it to say it was a relief putting the helmet back on after I got the sweatshirt off!

Midway through the flight Lewis turned the stick over to me. This was not a simple matter of communication, but also involved my pulling the back seat stick from its storage clamps on the right side of the cockpit and installing the stick in the base stub on the floor just in front of my seat. No major effort involved, but it was easy to understand why the stick was removable. Getting in and out of the rear seat area would have been all but impossible without this feature.

Rudder pedals are permanently installed, so there was no issue there and nothing to do but place my feet on them. After that, it was grip the throttle and have a good time!

With Lewis’s blessing I did a few gentle maneuvers, input some partial rolls to the left and right, watched my horizon flip flop around without a lot of effort, and overall thoroughly enjoyed the rare treat of flying a real-deal Mustang. Though this was not my first Mustang ride, it was most certainly the first time I had been given full control of the airplane. It was a most memorable experience.

The Mustang’s stick and rudder coordination are excellent and very smooth. Response is near instantaneous to inputs from either, and the throttle response is equally fast. One has to be conscious of the engine/propeller torque (and airspeed) at all times, as too much power input too quickly, even at cruising airspeeds, can quickly affect the airplane’s direction and stability. Everything on the other end of the throttle handle needs to be handled with finesse and forethought until flying the Mustang becomes second nature. Even then, it’s nothing to be taken for granted. Mustangs do not bear fools lightly…

As noted previously, the Mustang’s back seat is not the most comfortable perch on the planet. After an hour of flying, keeping an eye on the GPS and compass, and cooking under the clear bubble canopy, I was ready to land and stretch my legs and rub my back. When Encinal finally appeared on the horizon, I was not unhappy about it. After locating our destination runway, we made the customary high-speed pass down the centerline, pitched up, rolled, and turned onto base leg and final.

The wheel landing, with Lewis back in control, was uneventful. Approach, with a modest amount of flap, was around 110 mph with touchdown taking place at about 95 mph. Once the tailwheel was on the ground, things slowed in a hurry. Five minutes after the main gear kissed the asphalt, we were pulling up in front the main hangar and shutting down.

Our visit lasted for about two hours. The airport proprietor was a kind and absolutely first-class host. After Lewis and our host finished their business, we were fed and the Mustang was fully fueled for the trek back north. The Mustang holds around 180 gallons of hi-octane avgas internally and has a range of about 1,100 miles in standard fighter configuration. Add two 75-gallon external wing tanks (which Lewis has on his Mustang), and the range jumps to just short of 2,400 miles. Either way, those are long non-stop hauls. If you’re in the back seat, you better take some pain pills with you and possess a very large bladder.

Mustang Cockpit 300x204 - Mustang musings: what it’s like to fly the legendary P-51

Made for performance, not comfort.

Departure from Encinal was uneventful except for the obligatory high-speed pass and roll. Aiming north and getting back up to cruising altitude and airspeed, Lewis again turned over the stick. For the next hour and several minutes, I cruised along fat, dumb, and very happy while my pilot dozed for a few minutes in the front seat.

All too soon it was over. After turning control back to Lewis, I pulled the stick from its stub connector, inserted it into its storage clasps to my right, took my feet off the rudder pedals, and relaxed back into passenger mode. Before I knew it, we were on final to Addison. A minute or two later, the mains kissed the runway and the Mustang began to decelerate. A few seconds after that, the tail wheel was back on the ground with a light bump and the snake dance back to Lewis’s well-known “Toy Barn” hangar got underway.

One thing that sticks with me is how many people came out of their hangars and buildings lining the Addison Airport runway and taxiway to watch our cackling and popping passage. Though Lewis flew his Mustang regularly from Addison, it’s obvious the locals never got tired of seeing or hearing it. Polished aluminum, a Rolls-Royce Merlin, and the name Mustang are eye candy that no red-blooded aviator can ignore.

Once the big Hamilton Standard prop came to a halt and Lewis extricated himself from the front seat, I was able to follow suit. I must say that that moment arrived none too soon, as by then my back and butt were absolutely killing me!

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat…

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How to become a certified flight instructor?

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how to become a certified flight instructor - How to become a certified flight instructor?

It’s not an easy task to land your first commercial pilot job as a fresh graduate. Reasoning new graduates have less flight experience, and the airlines are skeptical before hiring these commercial pilots.

Therefore, fresh graduates are looking for ways to gain more flight hours. One way to earn hundreds of flight hours is by becoming a certified flight instructor, CFI.

Although tons of resources are available to become a certified flight instructor, I wanted to share my knowledge online.

In this article, I described:

  • How to become a CFI?;
  • How long does it take to become a CFI?;
  • Is becoming a flight instructor worth it?

Many fresh commercial pilots think that becoming a flight instructor is the easiest way to build hours and apply for an airline job. However, it’s not true. Commercial pilots realize once they begin training for a flight instructor license that it is a challenging occupation.

How to become a certified flight instructor?

Like all other pilot licenses, there are also specific requirements to become a CFI.

To become a flight instructor, one must fly for at least 250 hours.

Assuming you have a commercial pilot license and are willing to become a flight instructor, you must take CFI training.

First, you have to start by taking CFI ground classes. You can either take a CFI ground class in an actual flight school or an online ground class.

With the accessibility of the internet globally, it’s common today to take online classes for pilot licenses.

Once you complete the CFI ground class and get your endorsement to take the exam, you must register for your exam.

To become a CFI, a commercial pilot must take two exams:

  • Fundamentals of Instruction exam;
  • Certified flight instructor knowledge test.

After you pass the test and have adequate hours to you can apply for a checkride.

Once you take the checkride and the DPE is satisfied with your performance, you will get a flight instructor certification.

Having your flight instructor certification, you can apply for jobs as a CFI in flight schools.

Often it happens that fresh graduates become certified flight instructors at the flight school from where they graduated as commercial pilots.

How long does it take to become a CFI?

The answer to that question depends on who is asking this question. I assume someone who recently graduated as a commercial pilot is asking this question.

A fresh CPL graduate can become a CFI quickly depending on their progress.

There is not much to do to acquire a certified flight instructor license after CPL. The crucial thing to learn is the Fundamentals of Instruction. At this stage, you have adequate knowledge to teach aeronautical subjects to students pilots and train students in actual flights. However, having all the aeronautical knowledge will not help if you don’t understand the process of tutoring students.

Thus it’s crucial to learn instruction techniques to be able to teach student pilots.

Also, if you don’t understand aeronautical subjects sufficiently, you cannot teach students accurately.

Getting a flight instructor license is not difficult for bright students, but if it takes longer for you to grasp knowledge, it will take longer to get your CFI license.

Articulating information to the student in a comprehendible way is the most critical skill for certified flight instructors.

Also, if you have a CPL without an instrument rating, you can only teach student pilots for the private pilot license stage.

Without an instrument rating, a CFI can’t teach for the commercial pilot license stage.

Is becoming a flight instructor worth it?

Many pilots have a passion for teaching, and other commercial pilots choose to become certified flight instructors to build hours.

Either way, it is worth it to become a flight instructor.

In my opinion, if you want to become a flight instructor for the money, then you must not choose this route.

Truly, CFIs earn good money while teaching others to fly the airplane. Nevertheless, merely working for the salary is not sufficient to satisfy a pilot’s need. A CFI must have other long-term goals, such as building hours to meet airline hour requirements.

Airlines in the USA require pilots to have at least 1500 hours of actual flying time before hiring them.

It is not easy to acquire 1500 flying hours, and paying to build 1500 hours is an expensive option.

Hence, it is best to have patience and work as a certified flight instructor. What could be better than teaching other student pilots while they pay you to fly and the aircraft rental fee.

Finding a CFI job is the best route if you aim for an airline job and intend to build hours momentarily. To find a job as a flight instructor, you must get your flight instructor certification.

If individuals want to become flight instructors for a career change, I don’t suggest doing so. Because to obtain a CFI license, one has to pass through several other pilot licensing stages, and it would be a costly career shift.

Listen To The Russian Su-57 Felon’s Distinctive ‘Creepy’ Sound

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Listen To The Russian Su-57 Felon’s Distinctive ‘Creepy’ Sound
Su-57 flyby (Screenshot from the video embedded in the article)

The Sukhoi Su-57’s engines generate a peculiar noise; a sort of “howl”.

We have already talked about the peculiar engine sound of the Su-57 Felon, Russia’s 5th generation aircraft earlier this year, commenting a video of a low level flyby of four jets.

The engine that generates that creepy high-pitched ringing noise is the NPO Saturn AL-41F-1, derived from the one used by the Su-35. It’s an interim variable-bypass ratio turbofan engine rated at approximately 88.3KN (19,842 lb st) of dry thrust and 142.2kN (31,967 lb st) with afterburning.

A few more videos filmed during the 2021 Victory Parade over Moscow have circulated online. You’ll probably find a few more ones around, but the following two are extremely cool and worth being posted.

Here’s what we wrote about the current engine and the program to replace it:

As reported in detail in a previous article, the current AL-41F-1 engine, considered underpowered for the aircraft, is only an interim power plant until the final engine is ready. The latter, known as Izdeliye 30 (literally Product 30) will be supposedly more efficient than previous designs, giving to the jet a top speed in excess of Mach 2 and a supercruise capability at Mach 1.3, and features 3d thrust vectoring. The Izdeliye 30 begun flight testing in 2017 and is expected to be ready by 2025. This means that serial production of the Su-57 may have to keep using the AL-51F-1 for the first examples and retrofit them when the new engine becomes available. The S-duct air inlet doesn’t cover the entire engine face, as done for the F-22 and F-35; the problem is mitigated by the air intake screen (which then have a double function other than FOD prevention) and a radar blocker in front of the engine fan, similar to the one used by the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

A new engine was specifically developed for the Su-57, known as Izdeliye 30 (literally Product 30), but, since the engine is not yet ready for production and tested only on an earlier prototype, T-50S-2 is still using the Saturn AL-41F-1. Production of the Product 30 engine should begin in 2022, with the first serial deliveries of the Product 30-equipped Su-57 in 2023. Dealing with the engine, the Felon was recently showcased in a video for the 100th anniversary of the Chkalov State Flight Test Center, where the radar blockers in the engines’ air intakes were allegedly exposed for the first time.  The Su-57 uses a S-duct air inlet which does not cover the entire engine faces, as done for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, leaving it exposed to radar signal reflection. The problem was said to be mitigated by a radar blocker that, however, was never clearly seen on any of the 11 prototypes or the first two serial aircraft.

More recently, Russian State Agency TASS reported that an upgraded and modernized version of the Su-57 is to begin serial production as of 2025 and among the improvements, there will be the incorporation of the Izdeliye 30 engine along with the upgrade of the cockpit, to unify the production of the Su-57 and the Su-75 Checkmate that, along with the same engine, will have an identical cockpit layout as the one of the Felon.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Listen To The Russian Su-57 Felon’s Distinctive ‘Creepy’ Sound
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

High Sierra Wraps Up Big Event; FAA Launches Alaska Safety Programs and Feds Still Looking for Pilot Of Missing Plane In Midair.

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Cessna 180 Dawn patrol 2 copy 640x426 - High Sierra Wraps Up Big Event; FAA Launches Alaska Safety Programs and Feds Still Looking for Pilot Of Missing Plane In Midair.

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The 2021 edition of the High Sierra Fly-In wrapped up last weekend after a successful event that hosted 1,000 airplanes and 3,000 participants. The incident free event also featured moderate temperatures and the usual amount of blowing dust. The event was canceled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Well, where was one incident. Well-known aviation personality Mark Patey broke his leg in a one-wheel accident. Patey, whose twin brother Mike, is also a popular flying personality,  is recovering after surgery to repair the break and is already on his feet. Speedy recovery, Mark!

An Oregon pilot was missing after his Cessna 150 never showed up in Orland, California, after he took off from Ashland, Oregon, earlier in the day on Thursday headed for Orland.  It’s about a 200-mile flight. Local authorities are asking for tips from anyone who might have heard the plane flying low around or near Northern Shasta Country, California, near where the plane last made contact.

The FAA has released the outline of a comprehensive plan to improve air safety in Alaska, the state most dependent on general aviation for its transportation and other infrastructure needs. The plan, which was created in concert with Alaska pilots and other stakeholders, includes more and better automated weather gathering equipment, more mountain pass cameras, better ADS-B coverage and improved instrument approach procedures.

The NTSB is trying to locate the second of two planes involved in a midair collision near Sutton, Alaska, earlier this month. A Cessna 180 was damaged, but the pilot was able to land the plane safety and escaped injury. The other plane? Well, the 180 pilot said it just kept on flying, and so far, the NTSB has been unable to find the plane or pilot.

The EAA is conducting a study on turn backs to be conducted by a blue-ribbon group. The maneuver, which is done when a plane loses engine power shortly after takeoff and the pilot attempts to make a turn back to the airport to land. They are, EAA said, a significant part of the overall GA accident picture.

A pilot whose plane lost engine power over dense forest just outside of Eugene, Oregon, escaped without injury after he deployed the BRS whole airplane recovery parachute system in his Lancair ES homebuilt. The chute let him down gently into dense trees, and while responders were on their way, the pilot made a persuasive pitch for such recovery chutes.

The NTSB is investigating the crash of an MD-87 jet after its crew tried to abort takeoff from Houston Executive Airport, in Waller County, Texas. The plane went off the runway, though two fences, over a roadway and took out power lines in the overrun. All 21 onboard survived, even though the plane was destroyed in a post-crash fire. Two of the passengers suffered injuries. The lead NTSB investigator said that his team was looking into the plane’s maintenance, as it had not been flown for around 10 months.

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The University of North Dakota paused its flight training program in the wake of the death of flight school student pilot John Hauser on a solo training flight. UND is home to one of the largest aviation training programs at a four-year university. The NTSB is investigating the mishap, the first fatal crash of a UND plane since 2007. The school planned to resume training on Thursday.

Categories: How to Become a Pilot

High Sierra Fly-In Was Nuts

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one wheel upgrade LOGO 640x427 - High Sierra Fly-In Was Nuts
Photo by Jim Raeder
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This week’s Plane & Pilot Photo of the Week comes from the talented aviation photographer Jim Raeder, whose lens was trained on the hijinks at the High Sierra Fly-In (HSF) at Dead Cow Lake in Nevada last week. A big part of HSF is the spirit of pushing-the-limits fun that is hardly limited to just the airplane flying. Over the past couple of years, the Onewheel has been central to the extracurriculars at Dead Cow, and Kevin Palmer has taken the technology to the next level by combining the spirit of excitement and experimentation with vintage lawn chair living. We’d say 11/10 on the design and on the modeling, Kevin.

Check back on Tuesday for our High Sierra Fly-In web gallery, with high lights (and low lights?) from what might just have been the best HSF ever.

Miss last week’s Photo of the Week? Click here: Shatner in Space!

Categories: How to Become a Pilot

Friday Photo: pyramids of Giza from a 787

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Pyramids HUD - Friday Photo: pyramids of Giza from a 787

The view: The Great Pyramid of Giza, seen through a heads-up display

The pilot: Richard Pittet

The photographer: Luc Martineau

The airplane: Boeing 787

The mission: Airline flight across Egypt at FL360

The memory: Ancient technology and modern technology meet: what would the builders of those pyramids think about a Boeing?

Want to share your “Friday Photo?” Send your photo and description (using the format above) to: [email protected]

Latest posts by Richard Pittet (see all)

NTSB Searching For Second Plane That Was In Midair And Is Nowhere To Be Found

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Cessna 180 Dawn patrol 1 - NTSB Searching For Second Plane That Was In Midair And Is Nowhere To Be Found
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The good news to start with. It’s most likely that nobody onboard the two planes involved in a midair collision was hurt when two planes ran into each other near Sutton, Alaska, earlier this month. But that’s a best guess. Because we don’t know. Because the NTBS doesn’t know either.

A Cessna 180 was cruising along in the early afternoon when it collided with another plane, substantially damaging the Cessna taildragger’s wing. But the pilot was able to make a safe landing in the damaged plane. The other plane, said the pilot in the damaged one, just kept on flying. No information was available on what kind of plane it was. The NTSB says it looked at plane tracks and examined the ATC tapes, but with no luck. It’s a mystery.

This is where it gets even weirder. No one has any idea what happened to that other plane. Now, it’s not unknown for one plane or both of the planes involved in a midair collision to go missing. It’s rare, but it’s happened. And this wouldn’t be the first time that just one of the two planes was lost while the other was found. But in this case, it’s probably a better outcome than that, but an even stranger one.

It’s possible the other airplane wasn’t aware it was in a midair. This happens too. A Cirrus SR22 about six years ago in Texas got the convertible treatment after a Cessna 150 collided with it near College Station. The Cirrus, flown by a Cirrus rep, was still controllable, and the pilot was able to bring it back in for a landing. The Cessna trainer, on the other hand, wasn’t aware it had even been in a midair until the student pilot, on her first flight, ever noticed that the main gear outside her window was nowhere to be seen. It had been what hit the Cirrus.

So, the NTSB is trying to figure out if that or something else happened. It was, after all, an aircraft accident, and the NTSB’s charter is to get to the bottom of such things.

Our theories are as follows:

  1. Plane 2 never knew what happened. It had no damage. The pilot flew home. Landed. Ate a caribou steak and called it a day.
  2. Plane 2 did crash, and it has not been found.
  3. The pilot of Plane 2 knew it got hit, but for whatever reason, kept on going anyways. Theories about on why the pilot would do that, though we doubt it’s because it was an alien craft. One observer was guessing the pilot might be un-certificated. Stranger things have happened.

We’re guessing it’s #1 or #3. We’ll update this and let you know when we learn more.

Categories: How to Become a Pilot

Pilot Records Post-Crash Video Before First Responders Show!

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Screen Shot 2021 10 21 at 12.45.53 PM 450x600 - Pilot Records Post-Crash Video Before First Responders Show!

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A pilot flying a Lancair ES, a kitplane that was the genesis of what eventually became the Cessna TTX, was in deep trouble when the big engine in his piston single hesitated briefly before taking the rest of the day off with the airplane over dense forest in the Northwest U.S. The plane was descending into Eugene, Oregon, when things started to go bad.

As he wrote in his Facebook post documenting the mishap, “Crashed my airplane yesterday descending into Eugene, 35 miles out or so, over the mountains, bit lower than I would normally be for a broken cloud layer. Sudden engine decel and misfire. Ruhroh. Made a quick glide assessment, nothing but forest. Went through all the emergency checklist items in my head, engine just got worse, cockpit starting to fill with some smoke, not a ton of altitude, committed to a forced landing. Let ATC know where I was at, surveyed my glide options again, nothing but dense forest.”

He had another option, though. “Committed to an airframe parachute deployment, yanked the handle and after a wild ride bouncing through the trees, the BRS Aerospace parachute delivered me safely to the forest floor.” He then editorialized on the subject, “Kids, if you fly single engine over hostile terrain, get an airframe parachute. Not sure I would have survived that without it. I believe BRS has a better than 99% survival rate when deployed within the operating parameters.”

The “chute” comes as standard equipment on all Cirrus aircraft and can be installed on a retrofit basis on a handful of others. The Lancair ES the poster was flying is a kitplane, so the builder/owner can decide to install a chute, if such an installation is available for that model, as it is for the Lancair ES.

We are sure it must have been a wild ride indeed, and we are so happy that it turned out the way it did.

Categories: How to Become a Pilot

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