What questions should you ask your prospective instrument instructor?

If you plan on pursuing an instrument rating, a VFR pilot named George has posted a great question on the Ask a Flight instructor website about what questions you should ask a prospective instrument flight instructor:

I am a 275 hour vfr pilot and want to pursue my instrument rating.  I plan to interview several instructors.  What are the key things to ask?

Commenter Andy Neumann posted that he would look for an instrument flight instructor who had plenty of IFR experience outside of the local training area. However, Andy added that real world experience alone will not make a good instrument flight instructor and that you should look for an instructor will emphasize precision aircraft control plus has a good method for teaching it. Andy noted that the most common problem he sees with instrument pilots is centered around basic instrument scan, interpretation and control and that there is a temptation to just start shooting approaches.   

Reader Brian then posted a list of questions that should be asked but he also added that it will be critical to find an organized flight instructor who will diligently record your progress and can also present an instrument curriculum with attainable goals. Brian pointed out that he has seen too many flight instructors decide on the day of the student’s flight about what should be done and he then added that he has never seen this habit in “any other form of formal education” in his life. Brian concluded by writing:

Taking them to lunch to discuss these things might save you some money and help to build a friendship with your prospective instructor. We rarely say no to being taken out to eat. :)

Finally, JamesCFI wrote that you should do an instrument rating in a steam gauge aircraft rather than one with a glass cockpit – unless you plan to fly mostly glass cockpit equipped aircraft. James then added that you don’t want a instrument flight instructor who just teaches and does not do any real hard IFR flying plus you should ask your prospective flight instructor what he or she includes in his or her scan. If the instrument flight instructor responds with the “standard FAA six pack answer,” you should instead find one who answers like someone who flies IFR for a living.

Hence and if you plan on pursuing your instrument rating, the entire thread is well worth reading.


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