Thursday, February 12, 2015

Advanced Ground Instructor

Keep your friends close and the FAA closer. 
I visited my local FSDO (that's Flight Standards District Office - or you can think of it as the local branch of the FAA) today. I had an appointment at 8:00 AM and all I had to bring with me was my pilot certificate and the original test reports from two written FAA tests, the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) and Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI). In order to earn an AGI you have to pass these two written tests with a 70% or more. I earned 96% on the FOI and 97% on the AGI. Definitely qualified according to the FAA. 20 minutes later I walked out the door with a temporary airman certificate for GROUND INSTRUCTOR with an ADVANCED rating.

The FAA has blurry printers too.
In a month or so I'll get a hard card similar to my commercial pilot certificate as my permanent Advanced Ground Instructor certificate. In the meantime I have a paper certificate that will allow me to provide ground training for all certificates and ratings issued under Part 61 in the Federal Aviation Regulations with the exception of ground training related to instrument flying.

Am I going to start teaching ground classes? I'm not planning on it right now. At least not a wholesale private pilot ground school. For a couple reasons: 1) my lesson plans are designed around the idea of a flight immediately re-enforcing what was learned during the ground lesson and, 2) I'm really busy learning how to be a CFI! But this does give me the opportunity to legally charge for the knowledge I've earned over the years and demonstrated by passing those tests. So I will keep my eyes open for opportunities.

It is sorta funny though, when I went to pick up the certificate I was thinking of it as just a formality. But now that I have it, I'm pretty darned proud of what I've accomplished. Yes, there are young men and women who go from no flying to AGI and CFI in 250 hours and its taken me over 4 years and 600 hours of flying and I don't know how many hours of studying to get where I am today, but, I've accomplished a lot and it is great to have another certificate that validates my efforts to date. Not to mention, I want to be a Gold Seal CFI when I get enough experience and to do that you have to have an AGI or IGI certificate!

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