Aviation for Women

JAN-FEB 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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40 AviationforWomen J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 CFI Seeks Clients M E G G O D L E W S K I Y ou earned your CFI ticket and found a job at a flight school—just in time for winter. Depending on where you live, the win- ter months can be slower for CFIs, but that doesn't mean you won't be doing any flying. It can be more challenging to get people in the door, but with a little bit of effort, it is possible. Most flight schools have an Internet presence via a website or Facebook page. Often potential clients do a search, find the flight school closest to them, and then head out for a visit. Sometimes they call and make an appointment. Other times they just walk in. Plan to spend time at the flight school wait- ing for walk-in traffic and call-ups. Unfortunately, most flight schools do not pay CFIs for this time. Because of this you'll probably need a part-time job to support yourself during this phase of your career, and you may want to limit your uncompen- sated time at the airport to a few days a week, a few hours a day. Try to make that time productive by studying for your next certificate or calling lapsed pilots or those in need of a flight review. It may sound tedious, but understand the flight school that doesn't have a CFI available to answer questions either on the phone or face-to- face during unscheduled walk-ins is missing out on potential customers. The first contact with a client, especially dur- ing walk-ins, is critical. Always dress the part. If the flight school has a uniform, wear it with pride. If the school does not have an official uni- form, wear a pair of khakis or cargo pants paired with a pressed, white button-down shirt and an aviation-themed tie. It's a professional look for both men and women, and tells the world you take your job seriously. The first words out of your mouth to a poten- tial client should not be "How much money do you have? Flight training is expensive." Instead try, "What brings you to (insert name of flight school here) today, and how can I help you?" Lis- ten to the answer. If your school has pre-made in- formation packets for clients, have one ready for reference. Be ready to give the potential clients a tour of the school and include the inside of an air- plane. If the weather is good enough and an air- craft is available, suggest an introductory flight. Most of your clients will come from these intro flights. These flights are priced low to attract cus- tomers. One half hour of ground time and a half hour of Hobbs time is the standard. If you know in advance you have an intro flight that day, do the preflight inspection before the client gets there, and when they arrive, hit the most crucial items such as fuel, control surfaces, and safety items. Keep the safety briefing light. I use, "If we have to do an unscheduled off-airport landing and get out of the airplane in a hurry, like if there is a spi- der on board (insert shudder), we're going to wait for the airplane to come to a complete stop, un- latch the doors (demonstrate), take off our seat belts (demonstrate), then exit the airplane. I'll grab the fire extinguisher (point to its location) and use it to dispatch the hostile spider." For the record I don't have a fear of spiders, but in this case spider could mean "fire" and unscheduled off-airport landing really means "crash," but if you use the words fire or crash that's all the client will hear. Some people won't want to fly after hearing those words. The intro flight profile is basic: engine start, taxi, take off, climb to a certain altitude, turns, descents, and then land. If there is a particular landmark near the airport, such as a corn maze or building that stands out, make the flight out and back with a few circles around the landmark. Flying over the client's house (if they live close to the airport) is also a favorite. When you are beginning to get a client base, know when to say when. A good goal is four cli- ents per day, two-hour blocks for lessons, five days a week. You can adjust that as necessary for longer lessons, such as checkride prep and cross-country flights. Make sure you do not fly over eight hours a day, per the FARs. Although it may sound won- derful to have 25 active students, it's physically im- possible to give them all quality instruction if they are flying multiple times a week. Keep a list of your clients and update it weekly, noting the client's phase in training such as "pre solo" or "preparing for checkride," as well as "inactive." As your client base builds, you may have clients on standby should you have a last-minute can- cellation. If you have a solid reputation and are committed to the craft, it probably won't be long before you have all the clients you can handle. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meg Godlewski, WAI 8165, is a seven-time Master CFI and an active instructor. When you are beginning to get a client base, know when to say when. A good goal is four clients per day, two-hour blocks for lessons, five days a week. T I P S F R O M A C F I

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