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I've been struggling to schedule my flight lessons. My current instructor tends to be available later hours, and the planes I've been training in book up especially fast during that time of day. I sometimes have weeks between lessons because of the scheduling problems.

I realize I could just switch completely to another instructor, but I basically like working with the instructor I have. On the other hand, it occurs to me I might stand to gain from getting some diversity of instruction style.

In some traditions, teacher loyalty is considered important. I don't get the sense that it's super important in aviation (especially since so many CFIs are just building time to ATP). But how unusual would it be for a student to regularly bounce between two instructors to make scheduling easy? Would such a thing be frowned on?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! Does this question help? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 7, 2021 at 3:44

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In a very highly structured flight school with rigorously standardized curriculum, which is usually only seen in Part 141 schools, it’s common to switch instructors depending on who is available when you want to fly, and that ability means being able to finish in less time, which offsets the higher rates per hour.

However, in a Part 61 school or club, which typically use independent instructors with no standardized curriculum or testing, every switch will waste time and money because you will end up repeating lessons to convince each new instructor that all the other ones taught you things correctly.

If you’re in the latter situation, have a sit-down conversation with your current instructor about your scheduling issues and, if they can’t resolve it to your satisfaction, find a new instructor (or school) that can—and then stick with them until you’re done so you only pay the switching cost once.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oddly, glider clubs tend to be more like the big schools as you mentioned and run on a more standardized (albeit much simpler) training syllabus, and as a result it's normal to fly with every instructor in the club, which seems to work fine. Not so much in power land at a regular ad hoc sort of flight school where the syllabus tends to be created by the individual instructor. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Dec 7, 2021 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK Is it perhaps that all the instructors at the glider club had the same instructor(s) themselves, due to it being such a tight-knit community? $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Dec 7, 2021 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ It's mostly that the training is more centrally regimented and standardized in glider clubs, based on national guidelines, not hard to do since the training is far more basic. On the power instructor course, part of the journey is developing your personal lesson plan structure, which will vary from instructor to instructor. Switching instructors means switching entire worldviews at a small school since each instructor is a unique training program in itself you could say. The glider environment tends to be very short lessons given piecemeal, making an externally imposed structure a necessity. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Dec 7, 2021 at 17:47
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In my opinion, sticking with the same instructor is important. Occasionally having a different CFI for a lesson or two would be okay, but over the entire course of instruction the style, methodology, and continuity of the same instructor, I believe, would provide the best learning outcome (especially for the PPL).

There are instructor/student interactions that account for nuances in training/learning style that develop over time. Once an instructor becomes familiar with the learning style of the student his/her conceptual explanations become more refined. Frequently switching instructors erases some of the basic verbal and non-verbal communication style and rapport developed between student and instructor.

But, keep in mind that waiting a long time between instructional periods is not a good idea. At a minimum, in my opinion, you should be taking a flight lesson at least once a week, three times a week maximum (especially for the PPL).

Having a variety of several CFIs over a single course of training, in my experience, is unusual.

Others on ASE will probably have a different opinion, but this is mine base on my experience.

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