How should a CFI behave with a student pilot?

Someone named Ghostrider has posted an interesting query on Ask a CFI about how a CFI should interact with a student pilot:

Hi guys, I’m a student pilot struggling to understand how a CFI should interact with his/her student. How strict should he be? In general, is there a certain amount of “abrasiveness” common to all CFI? I would like to hear all opinions on this.

John D. Collins responded by writing that each instructor has a different teaching style, but abrasiveness is not normally “effective” and it hinders learning. For that reason, he concluded that if the personality of the instructor clashes with your expectations as a student pilot, then you need to find a new instructor.

However, Bill Trussell commented that “abrasiveness can sometimes be misinterpreted” (e.g. CFIs can get frustrated with students who do not do what they are asked to do, like coming prepared), but he was just as quick to add that “there is no room in a cockpit for truly abrasive behavior.” He also pointed out that being abrasive to assert one’s dominance is “plain dumb” and ultimately will lead to few students.

Finally, Jonathan Seitz added a comment to remind readers just who is paying the CFI and that they are “just like any other employee.” And if things are “not meshing well,” then its time to find a new CFI.

With that in mind, we would like to ask you our readers: How should a CFI behave with a student pilot both inside and outside the aircraft or airport? Tell us what you think or of any personal experiences, either good or bad, that you may have had with a CFI or if you are a CFI, then with a student pilot.


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