I am working on adding instrument to my flight instructor certificate, which would mean I will likely take the "Flight Instructor Instrument Airplane (Added Rating)", test Code AIF.

The test for initial CFI with an instrument rating, which is test code FII, "Flight Instructor Instrument Airplane" is 50 questions, but requires no endorsement, however, AIF is only 20 questions and does require an endorsement to take it.

My understanding is that either test would be acceptable to add an instrument rating to a flight instructor certification, giving the applicant the option.

What is the FAA's official logic behind this difference in endorsement requirement?

Here is the testing matrix for reference.


The full test requires you to demonstrate knowledge in all areas including the parts required to teach for the instrument rating.

The abbreviated test only focuses on the latter and excludes testing on:

(i) The learning process;
(ii) Elements of effective teaching;
(iii) Student evaluation and testing;
(iv) Course development;
(v) Lesson planning; and
(vi) Classroom training techniques.
(2) The aeronautical knowledge areas for a recreational, private, and commercial pilot certificate applicable to the aircraft category for which flight instructor privileges are sought.

Since the FAA does know how long its been since you received the initial training for the flight instructor rating, someone appears to have decided it would be a good idea to have the candidate review the basics prior to taking the abbreviated test. You can always take the full test again if you don't want to go through the ground or self training.

  • $\begingroup$ There is a problem with your logic. You can take any of the Instructor tests without an endorsement of any kind—except the add-on for CFII. So the FAA does not require any endorsment to take the test but an person who has competed the oral and practical for the CFI is required to get an endorsement for the add-on. As the OP points out, you can self-endorse for the CFII test but not the add-on. There may be logic behind the FAAs decision, but it is not obvious. My guess is that it’s just an oversight. $\endgroup$ – JScarry May 10 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is only from your viewpoint of endorsements. I think the FAA is not so concerned about that. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez May 11 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ The problem here is that you're confusing the FIA and FOI tests. It isn't that FOI questions are excluded from add-on ratings, the entire FOI knowledge test is out of scope, but it is important to keep in mind that the Flight instructor tests do not have these teaching-related questions at all no matter what. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Mortensen May 12 at 4:21

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