CFII Checkride Preparation

a condensed course; by Philip Greenspun, ATP-CFII in August 2010

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This document was developed as a condensed course for a proficient instrument airplane pilot getting a CFII. The author has developed a complete set of Part 141 lesson plans for the CFII-H, but those are unnecessary for the applicant who is high on proficiency and short on time.

The difference between an Instrument and a CFII rating

The knowledge test question bank is the same for an instrument rating and a CFII. The practical test standards are basically the same (see our summaries of IFR-H and CFII-H). Why doesn't the FAA simply give CFII privileges to anyone holding a CFI and an instrument rating on his or her pilot certificate?

In my opinion, the difference is that the instrument-rated pilot is capable of planning a flight, obtaining and flying an ATC clearance, keeping the aircraft under positive control solely by reference to instruments whereas the instrument-rated instructor can do all of those things and also explain the rationale behind the system, answer any "why" questions, and offer helpful advice to students new to the challenge of IFR flight.

A proficient instrument pilot who can handle the exercises on this page can probably pass a CFII checkride.

Exercise 1: Explain IFR/IMC versus VFR/VMC

Your students will all be competent to fly under VFR in VMC. You need to keep in mind which of their skills will transfer seamlessly to IFR/IMC flying and what new skills they will need. Imagine yourself talking to a new IFR student and summarizing which existing skills can be used directly and also what new skills must be mastered.

Questions that, at a minimum, your presentation should answer:

Exercise 2: What is an approach procedure?

Explain what an approach procedure is without using an actual approach plate. Start with why approaches exist. Draw Runway 27 and then progressively add complexity in the order of what's important and significant, until you've developed a plate that has most of the elements of an official approach plate. Be prepared to put some specific distances and AGL altitudes on your plate.

Exercise 3: What happens near minimums?

Explain what happens when an aircraft gets to 200' AGL on the ILS 29 at KBED when the weather is a 210' ceiling and exactly 1/2 mile of visibility. What does the pilot see and what does he or she do? What are the applicable FARs?

Exercise 4: Emergency procedures

In the aircraft that you'll be flying for your checkride, explain how you'll get back on the ground after the following events:

Exercise 5: Briefing

Talk a student through the significant events on an IFR trip from KBED to KMVY. What will he do? Whom will he talk to? What will he say and what will ATC say?


Area forecast: 300' ceiling, 1 mile visibility, calm winds.
Weather at KBOS: 400' ceiling, 2 miles visibility.
Weather at KORH: 100' ceiling, 1/2 mile visibility.
Weather at KBED: 100' ceiling, 1/4 mile visibility.
Weather at KEWB: 800' ceiling, 3 miles visibility.
Weather at KMVY: 800' ceiling, 2 miles visibility.


Text and photos
Copyright 2010 Philip Greenspun.