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Choosing a CFI
Hi everyone,
Looking for some advice about choosing a good CFI and the things a student pilot should be aware of during their flight training. Some seem to have absolutely stellar experiences and others quite the opposite. I realize that often there may be a flight school involved which requires its own due diligence (are they maintaining their fleet, etc), but what about picking an individual CFI for oneself and assessing if they're a good fit?

1) What should a student pilot look for in a CFI? 
2) What questions should a student pilot ask prospective instructors?
3) What red flags should a student pilot be aware of while progressing through training (or maybe NOT progressing)?
4) Are there ways to determine if lack of progression is due to the CFI or the student?

Many thanks!!
Student Sport Pilot - flying an RV-12
5 Replies
Along with what everyone has said,  find an instructor and trust them to be your aviation  advocate and to take you through the training to your checkride and beyond.  Rod Machado has a great article on why you need to do this and its available at the attached link.

Good luck!  
Great answers below! I love the checklist - the only thing I will add is to not forget to listen to your instincts as well.  How well do you get along with him/her?  Do they interrupt you? Or is there a great flow in your conversation?  Spending 50-60 hours (plus more on the ground) with someone you couldn't stand to spend 10 minutes with at a party should tell you a lot as well.  Give an instructor a chance, but don't spend too much time if it's apparent you aren't cut out for each other - ditch and find someone new.
Hi Kristen,

Here's a good resource that's been available for many years on the AOPA website; AOPA's Field Guide To Flight Training for Flight Students.

Inside this guide (starting on page 46) there is a checklist to help flight students choose an instructor. The checklist consists of two pages of good questions to ask when selecting an instructor. The guide even includes three copies of this checklist for the students convenience (also hinting that you should interview more than just one):

Hello Kristen
You are wise to research prior to selecting or being assigned an instructor. A little effort up front will ensure a more pleasant experience and efficient learning process. There is much written on the subject and you will most likely get different answers from different people. So, here is a link to an article which I found provides a comprehensive approach from a well known instructor and online trainer, Rod Machado; 
Believe me there are several others, just Google "how to find a good instructor" and be prepared to get many references. Remember you can always rely on the AOPA pilot information center to help with issues you encounter during your training and best of luck in your search.