From student to teacher

Well, I’ve finally done it. After three years of flight training at UND, I’ve earned the last rating required for graduation – and the one most useful to a job search in Washington State: as of early last week, I am a Flight Instructor, Instrument. Yes, I still have one more semester here, and yes, I could earn many more instructor ratings, but this is probably the single biggest step towards my aviation career.

One of the most amazing things about CFIand CFII training is discovering just how much you don’t know. Aviation is a process of constant learning, but nowhere is it obvious to this extent. Before beginning the course, I was a current, instrument-rated pilot, but I was hardly proficient. Shooting an unfamiliar approach could have been interesting, to say the least. Now, I feel that I could fly just about anywhere in the country and successfully execute an approach in minimum conditions, teaching a student the whole time. It’s a huge boost in confidence.

Due to a registration snafu, I wasn’t able to enroll in the CRJ simulator course, and won’t be graduating as planned in August. It’s not all bad – I plan to apply here, at UND, as an instructor for the fall, so the additional tuition costs should be offset somewhat. I’ll also be earning hours of dual given experience, which never hurts. Once summer courses are finished in a couple weeks, I’ll head home and start planning for the coast-to-coast cross country flight I mentioned back in April.