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The NAFI Professional Development Program (PDP) is designed to develop and mentor a flight instructor's mastery of core concepts in aviation education and leadership.

The NAFI Professional Development Program (PDP) is a means of providing all CFIs with invaluable education and tools to enhance their technical and teaching skills, including improving their ability to interact with their students so that more reach their goal to become a pilot.

Educational programs offered in the PDP will come from NAFI members, staff, board members and industry leaders assuring quality and actionable information for all CFIs. Content covers a vast array of curricula that span basic communication skills, human factors, risk management and advanced training for both general aviation and commercial aviation instructors. These efforts will substantially contribute to increasing and maintaining a professional and informed community of flight instructors. For a detailed overview click here

Participation in the PDP is another way that NAFI members, board and staff contribute to growing the pilot population. The demand for professional pilots over the next several years may materially outpace the supply. By 2035, Boeing predicts the need for 617,000 new commercial airline pilots worldwide. Many aviation organizations, associations, aircraft manufacturers and suppliers of flight training materials have instituted campaigns to address this issue. These programs have proven to increase interest in learning to fly and to generate quality leads for flight schools and independent instructors. However, research shows that upwards to 80% of student pilots who start flight-training dropout before earning a certificate. Other than the commonly known issue of cost, most often cited are challenges with the flight instruction process as the reason to discontinue pursuit of a pilot’s certificate. Lack of structured training, consistency, professionalism, weak consideration for learning styles, a perceived lack of commitment to the student’s success and poor customer service can all be factors in discouraging individuals from learning to fly.

The National Association of Flight Instructors plays a vital role in the efforts of industry colleagues who tirelessly develop interest in flying by facilitating education and training programs for flight instructors that assure more people complete flight training. The NAFI Professional Development Program will develop CFIs that train more pilots and better pilots. With a 50-year track record, NAFI continues to reach CFIs across a wide spectrum with members who work in 30 countries; at flight schools, universities, FBOs, corporate flight departments, in the military and as independent instructors. 

Detailed Overview of the NAFI Professional Development Program

Flight instructors are on the front line of pilot development serving as the “distributer” of knowledge and service to students. To be proficient, CFIs need a unique set of skills. The NAFI Professional Development Program provides access for CFIs to the skills they need to enhance their instructional proficiency in multiple required skill sets - for initial certification, periodic review, and continuing education.

What is NAFI's view of a Professional CFI?: A professional flight instructor is a positive aviation role model and mentor; demonstrates an expert understanding of flight instruction; communicates through proven instructional methods; and conducts business in the highest of moral standards and safety.

The NAFI Professional Development Program is designed to develop and mentor a flight instructor's mastery of core concepts in aviation education and leadership.

Vision: The NAFI Professional Development Program seeks to provide the tools necessary for CFIs to excel as teachers and client service experts, improving the standards of professionalism in flight instruction.

Goals & Objectives: Engagement and completion of this program will signify a continuing commitment of the CFI’s personal advancement, and provide clients expert service in an ever-changing business environment.

This program will meet this objective by expanding on the business and training fundamentals in the following categories:

  • Instruction
  • Business/Communication
  • Leadership development
  • Human psychology/human factors/risk management
  • Elective Category (used for advancement of candidate in other aspects of aviation i.e., career change, would also include participation in the NAFI Mentor Program.
Additional training areas relevant to flight instruction include:
  • Safety Profile
  • Safety Mirror – personal safety attitude evaluation
  • Real life Human Factors
  • Decision making for high incident industries;
  • Observe - Critique – Evaluate
  • Establishing student – instructor expectations;
  • When to observe when to act
  • Written evaluations skills, formats, forms
  • Resume and Portfolio Preparation;
  • Motivation – Mentorship – Networking Skills
Other topics will develop as the NAFI PDP evolves, including suggestions from members and others in the aviation community.