CFI-Initial Resources



The CFI initial checkride involves a LOT of bookkeeping. I have included several resources below to help you organize the documents your DPE may want to see and it will help to make you look well composed and prepared which are great characteristics for a CFI.

For more information see the relevant parts of the FAR/AIM (this list is not comprehensive and you should always consult the full scope of the regulations to be as safe and prepared as possible):

  • § 61.183  Eligibility Requirements
  • § 61.185 Aeronautical Knowledge
  • § 61.187 Flight proficiency.
  • § 61.189 Flight instructor records.
  • § 61.191 Additional flight instructor ratings.
  • § 61.193 Flight instructor privileges.
  • § 61.195 Flight instructor limitations and qualifications.
  • § 61.197 Renewal requirements for flight instructor certification.
  • § 61.199 Reinstatement requirements of an expired flight instructor certificate.
  • § 61.105 PRIVATE PILOT Aeronautical knowledge.
  • § 61.125 COMMERCIAL PILOT Aeronautical knowledge.

Written Exams

There are actually TWO written exams required for the CFI Initial checkride that can be scheduled through PSI that are $175 each. The are:

  1. Fundamental of Instruction (FOI, 50 questions)
  2. Flight Instructor Airplane (FIA, 100 questions)

Note: Unlike Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, and Commercial Pilot, you don’t require endorsements to take the written exam even though such endorsements exist in AC 61-65H.

As with the rest of the written exams, Sheppard Air is the best way to study for these.


To become a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) for Airplanes, you must have the following qualifications (§ 61.183):

  • Be at least 18 and speak English
  • Hove a Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Have an Instrument Rating
  • Receive ground instruction in Fundamental of Instruction
  • Pass the TWO written exams: Fundamentals of Instruction and Flight Instructor Airplane
  • Pass the practical test
  • You can only instruct in an airplane you have 15 hours in

Ground Log

Your DPE may ask to see a ground log to verify you received that appropriate training for the endorsements according to § 61.185, especially in the areas of Fundamentals of Instruction. Here is an example ground log.

FARs, ACs, and Documents to be Familiar With

Here is a list of relevant FARs, ACs, and Documents it may be beneficial to cite on your checkride. For example, if the DPE says “what records must you keep as a flight instructor” a perfect answer would be, “I would keep these records but I would consult FAR 61.189 to be sure.” This eliminates awkward skimming through the FAR/AIM and shows that you know exactly where to find the important information.

It’s a lot to memorize but I made an Anki deck of flashcards to help.

CFI Endorsements

There are a total of SIX endorsements for the CFI initial checkride per AC 61-65H. Two of them are strange because they are endorsements for the knowledge exams (FOI and FIA) but you don’t actually require an endorsement to take the exams. It would be safest just to have them in your logbook anyway.

Checkride Prep

An essential component to this checkride is appearing professional and orderly. There should be no surprises because the Practical Test Standards (PTS) outlines everything that is required. Both the Oral and Flying portion will come from this document.