Chris Eriksson - Flight Instructor

Aurora Flight Training

Flight Instructor: CFI, CFII
Certificates Held: Commercial Single Engine Land, Commercial Multi Engine Land, Instrument Rated
Education: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Flight

Chris began flying at the age of 15 and became hopelessly hooked on flying. He started flying in Waukegan, IL, and worked as a linesman throughout high school. He earned his private pilot certificate before graduating. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona for a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Flight. During the summers, he interned at a warbird museum working on antique military aircraft during airshows, and assisting with normal flight operations. As part of the Flight minor at Embry-Riddle, Chris earned his Instrument through Multi-Engine Commercial ratings in the Cessna and Diamond aircraft.

After graduating, Chris began a career at Garmin AT in Salem as an engineer. He now works as a Flight Test Engineer on various Garmin avionics systems. He earned his CFI and CFII in 2014 after moving to Oregon, and loves flying in the northwest. Although Chris works full-time at Garmin, he loves flying and instructing in evenings and on weekends. He has flown charter out of Aurora in a Phenom 300, and trips in King Airs. When not flying, Chris can be found skiing, hiking, and taking pictures.

5 useful questions to ask an instructor:

Why did you become a flight instructor?
Regardless of the answer, the way an instructor talks about why they fly is what is important. Look for someone that is excited by teaching. They should have a genuine interest in giving others the gift of flight.

How long have you been flight instructing?
Some Instructors have thousands of hours under their belts and have been flight instructing for their entire careers. Others have a few hundred and are just beginning. A seasoned instructor will have a lot of experience but may have a set teaching style. A freshly minted instructor has less aircraft time but is able to relate to common learning obstacles, having undergone their own flight training in the not too distant past. There are advantages to both types of instructor.

How do you keep track of your student’s progress?
Using a syllabus is essential so that both student and instructor can track progress and milestones so make sure your instructor uses one. Talk to other students and ask them what kind of reading their doing, what books they’re using and the type of homework they’re getting. There should ALWAYS have some type of “homework” assignment at the end of each lesson.

What is your availability?
Some instructors are part-time and work separate jobs during the week. Others are full-time, but may want to have personal and family time on the weekends. Find an instructor with compatible availability. Flying at least twice a week is the best way to progress quickly through accomplishments with less effort and less overall costs. Choosing an instructor that is able to fly on the same schedule helps to keep flight training on a consistent path.

I’ve heard people talk about “stalling an airplane.” Can you tell me what it means?
This is a classic question. Regardless of knowing what an “aircraft stall” is or not, how an instructor explains this concept will give great insight into how they can explain concepts. Are they patient? Do they use simple terminology that is easy to understand? Do they ask questions to make sure their student understands, or do they over simplify to brush off the question? Find an instructor whose instructing style is a good match.