CFI Pro: Rod Machado’s Five Tips for CFIs

Rod Machado is a veteran flight instructor (40+ years) and a continuous positive force in aviation supporting both flight safety and also promoting fun flying. His humor and warmth help make even the most difficult aviation topics fun and exciting. His products have helped thousands achieve their goals in aviation.

His 1997 article advocating for the improvement of CFI technique still stands as a milestone effort in bringing our aviation educators up a notch in their technique. Both Rod and SAFE know there are obvious problems to be solved in aviation education and the improvement of our CFI ranks could greatly help both student retention and our safety record in aviation…remember if it’s not safe it’s not fun.

howpeoplelearnThe basic problem in “aviation education” is not the “aviation” part. CFIs are generally “aviation addicts” with excellent knowledge base and skills-that is usually why they became instructors! The real problem is more often with the “educator” part. The FAA preparation for the CFI is pretty thin on educational technique and pedagogical tools. Take a quick scan through this text to see the depth of required knowledge to become a fully-formed educator.  (This amazing text is FREE on-line and I guarantee it will improve your instructional technique)

Amazingly, once approved as an new FAA CFI, there is no required student teaching or mentoring system required for our new educators. Each new CFI is out there in the field fully functioning ready or not. I think every honest veteran CFI will confess their first couple students were mostly a “learning experience.” Rod offers this video presentation summarizing his original article as a helpful tool for new, returning (and just curious “always learning”) CFIs. At SAFE we are advocating a new “Pro CFI” system for those CFIs seeking to improve their technique. We will continue to provide resources to help our aviation educators. Enjoy this video and please send your comments.

Thanks for your interest in flight educator professionalism and stand by for more information and resources on raising the bar on educator professionalism. Rod’s free CFI e-tools are available here.


Rod Machado is a professional aviation speaker who delights his listeners with upbeat and lively presentations. His unusual talent for simplifying the difficult and adding humor to make the lessons stick has made him a popular lecturer both in and out of aviation. Rod speaks on both aviation and non-aviation topics, including risk assessment, IFR charts, aviation weather, in-flight emergencies, and safety awareness. He has over 10,000 hours of flight experience earned the hard way—one CFI hour at a time. He also holds degrees in aviation science and psychology. His blog has a special section with free tools created specifically for CFIs.

Please “follow” our SAFE blog to receive notification of new articles. Write us a comment if you see a problem or want to contribute an article. We are always seeking more input on aviation improvements and flight safety. There are many highly qualified aviation educators out there! If you are not yet a SAFE member, please Join SAFE and support our mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits alone make this commitment worthwhile and fun. Lastly, use our FREE SAFE Toolkit App to put pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smart phone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Working together we make safer pilots!

Author: David St. George

SAFE Director, Master CFI (12X), FAA DPE, ATP (ME/SE) Currently jet charter captain.

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