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When Should I Take a Flight Instructor Refresher Course?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Flight instructor refresher courses are typically required every two years in the United States. The refresher includes both classroom as well as a flight examination in the form of a check ride. It is common for most flight instructor refresher courses to be held on a weekend, and most instructors can complete the refresher in 16 hours. One option that is available to many instructors seeking the refresher course is the ability to complete the majority of the course online.

Some of the topics covered in the flight instructor refresher course are changes in industry training standards, updates in technologically advanced aircraft and new weather analysis products used for improved weather planning. The purpose for taking the refresher course is to be able to provide a peak level of training for new pilots. Changing technology mandates that any educator keep abreast of updates in the subject he is teaching, and flight instructors fall into this group. Failure to comply with the mandatory flight instructor refresher courses will typically lead to the expiration of a flight instructor certification and loss of license.

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Not all flight instructor refresher courses are the same. Some of the better courses will include a balanced curriculum of classroom, lecture and hands-on training to keep the classes interesting. The usual cost for a refresher course is roughly $200 US Dollars (USD). There are, however, additional costs for course options, such as in-house certification. This option allows you to obtain your updated certification certificate directly from the course provider instead of traveling to your local Federal Aviation Association (FAA) office and getting a temporary certificate.

There are flight instructor re-certification courses for airplanes and helicopters, which are typically combined. In many areas, an aerobatic flight instructor re-certification course is also required and commonly requires actual flying as well as classroom periods. It is important for you to keep track of your certification and to schedule refresher courses well in advance of your actual deadline as most classes fill up quickly.

If you are required to take a flight instructor refresher, you typically must do so within the three months preceding the expiration of your certification. The 24-month period between refresher requirements begins on the day after you complete the most recent refresher course. It is often much easier and less expensive to complete the flight instructor refresher on time as opposed to allowing your certification to expire and then file for reinstatement.

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