I'm preparing to start my CFI training and have almost exclusively logged all my time from the left seat of a Cessna 172 or 182. Is there a standard training program to transition to flying from the right seat? If not, how do people generally prepare, in an effort to make this less opinion-based, what are some common errors that pilots might make when learning to fly from the right seat?

Related: Is an approval required to fly from the right seat?

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking what mistakes new instructors make in general, or what the difference is operating the controls from the right seat versus the left seat? In other words, is this INSTRUCTOR specific or are you asking about issues that would affect someone flying alone in the right seat? $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2016 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @TylerDurden I guess I'm looking at both, instructor specific since I'm planning on being an instructor and also just general airmanship issues. I know the couple times I've flown from the right seat, my LH/RH muscle memory was something that caused some hiccups (left hand usually pulls yoke to go up, now pulling throttle with left hand reduces throttle (makes plane descend) or worse yet, pushing the right hand is used to giving more throttle, is now pushing the nose down with the yoke). I guess anything that people do to help overcome those kinds of things. $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Jul 15, 2016 at 6:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's super easy to fly from the right seat, and not worth worrying about. There may be some things you can't reach on the far left side of the panel, like the mags, but it's not much to worry about. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Jul 17, 2016 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


First, congratulations! Earning a CFI certificate is a real undertaking.

For a literal textbook answer to your question I suggest opening this PTS pdf (assuming FAA CFI) and searching for "common errors" until you find yourself in relevant (to you) sections. There are many examples.

On a personal note, I found that talking through every action made maneuvers go smoothly and let the instructor/examiner know that what I was doing is intentional. It also forced me to follow my own directions so, since I knew what was supposed to happen, I just said it aloud and then did it. It sounds silly but it worked well.

The transition to right seat flying is simple. You'll have it down in an hour or two. Nothing to it. It's actually kind of anticlimactic. Which plane are you using?


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