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5 Things You Learn In Your First 50 Hours Of Instructing

This story was made in partnership with Republic Airways. Check out the full series here. Ready to apply for a pilot slot? Submit your application here.
Nicolas Shelton

You'll become a great instructor, but it can take some time to get ahead of the 'power curve...'

1) The Law of Primacy is very real...

You'll learn right away that the first time you teach, tell, or demonstrate a concept or maneuver a student internalizes it. This is great if you're teaching your student steep turns, and you just performed the perfect maneuver. But if you made a mistake, chances are your student will make the same one.

Nicolas Shelton

2) Trust but verify.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in the overstimulating environment of flight training. So be sure to cross-check your student. You won't regret it, but you might regret not doing it...

Nicolas Shelton

Ask questions about their flight planning, the NOTAMs at the airport, and watch their preflight. Leave 'easter eggs' for your students to discover during their preflight, like a pulled starter circuit breaker.

3) Take breaks.

As a flight instructor, it's easy to get caught up in the race to gain flight hours, but it's also easy to burn out that way. Night flights and early morning flight slots can easily make you fatigued. Recognize that your students look up to you to build their good, and bad habits, so don't be afraid to stand up to external pressures, and take a break.

Nicolas Shelton

4) Let your student make mistakes.

As a new flight instructor it can be tempting to jump in when your student starts to make mistakes. Remember how as a student you learned from the times you made an error. As long as a mistake doesn't affect your safety of flight, consider letting them make it.


5) Seeing progress is the best part.

Progress comes in all shapes and sizes. Seeing your students develop useful skills to become better aviators is the best part of being a flight instructor.


What do you know now that you wish you'd known in your first hours of instructing? Tell us below.

Ready to start your airline career? Want to fly an E-170/175? Get started and apply to Republic Airways today.

Nicolas Shelton

Nicolas is a flight instructor from Southern California. He is currently studying aviation at Purdue University. He's worked on projects surrounding aviation safety and marketing. You can reach him at

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