Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors

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 Most recent MCFI's featured here, for comprehensive list, see alphabetical links below sorted by Last Name:

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Matthew Sawyer NAFI MCFIMatthew Sawyer, MCFI 9/2022-9/2024:

Like many pilots, Sawyer’s interest in aviation started at a young age. His grandmother would drive him and his sister to his parent’s business where they would pass a billboard every day advertising Air Force pilot careers. The billboard posed the question, “Why not you?” From that time, Sawyer knew he wanted to fly
airplanes.

Sawyer’s passion for aviation grew over the years and he was able to take his first flight in a Beechcraft Bonanza with a family friend when he was a teenager. Upon graduating from high school, Sawyer earned his private pilot certificate at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease in New Hampshire. His instructor introduced him to the Vermont Technical College (VTC) Professional Pilot Technology Program in Williston, Vermont. Sawyer enrolled in the spring of 2016 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in May of 2019. Along the way, Sawyer earned his CFI, CFII, MEI, and SES certificates and ratings.

Sawyer was offered full time employment at Vermont Flight Academy (VFA) after graduating from VTC. He has created custom training syllabi for the Part 61 and 141 training courses at VFA, helped re-write its standard operating procedures, and most recently, helped VFA purchase a new Tecnam P92. The P92 is the first new airplane VFA has owned, and is the most fuel efficient and training-oriented aircraft in VFA’s fleet.

Sawyer has held multiple positions at VFA including front office staff, flight instructor, and lead flight instructor. Currently he serves two roles — assistant chief flight instructor and director of operations. He intends to continue building on VFA’s operations and lead the path forward to better, more economical and environmentally friendly flight training. Sawyer’s passion for general aviation runs deep and he hopes to leave a positive impact on the industry throughout his career.

Click to Download Matthew's Press Release!

And Jones NAFI MCFIAndy Jones, MCFI 9/2022-9/2024:

Jones dreamed of flight from a young age. At five years old, he recalls waiting for the Air National Guard A-8s and F-111s to fly over his home, a small farm in eastern Kentucky. He spent childhood days reading books about aircraft design and the history of aviation, searching for information and firsthand accounts that would make him feel as if he were a part of it all.

Everything changed when he experienced his first flight at the age of eighteen. During his senior year of high school, his football coach and mentor, Mike Stanley, offered to take him for a flight in a Cessna 172. To say he was hooked was an understatement. After years of educating himself on what it would feel like to fly in an aircraft, it was everything he had dreamed it would be. Jones knew then that aviation would present him with the mental and physical challenges that he yearned for, and that he would do anything to become a pilot himself.

Another dozen years would pass before he was able to pursue his boyhood dreams of flight. In 2003, Jones earned his private pilot certificate and promptly put it to use chasing down $100 hamburgers. As his family grew, he stepped away from aviation for a few years before returning to the cockpit in 2011.

With a renewed passion for aviation, as well as the time and resources needed, he put a plan together of continuous learning. "If I was going to fly my family around, I needed to maintain as near as possible a professional program of regular flying and continuous improvement," Jones said. “Any pilot takes on the responsibility for the safety of those he is transporting so I knew I needed to be the best I could be. That’s where the idea of being a “perpetual student” came from. I wanted to keep learning and keep growing.”

Jones began his self-imposed program to become a "perpetual student” and placed an emphasis on cultivating new skills while simultaneously developing upon what he had already learned. Part of this program involved pursuing additional ratings. He holds ATP ratings for ASEL and AMEL, commercial ASES, CFI, CFII, MEI, Advanced Ground Instructor, FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor, and Remote Pilot (SUAS). He has shifted his focus to upgrading the ASES to an ATP, as well as adding a commercial helicopter rating in the near future.

Jones instructs advanced ratings, especially pilots seeking to add or upgrade to instrument and/or multiengine ratings. He finds great personal gratification collaborating with pilots who have similar mindsets to his own. "My desire to constantly learn new skills and knowledge carries directly over when I am sitting in the right seat,” he said. “We all should be perpetual students in aviation, after all, it is called a license to learn."

Outside the cockpit, Jones is deeply engaged in the aviation community. He actively participates and supports a myriad of organizations, from preserving the machines of aviation's greatest generation with the Commemorative Air Force, to supporting diversity and inclusion efforts by funding scholarships for his local chapter of Women in Aviation International. He serves as a board member for the Cleveland National Airshow, and participates as a volunteer pilot for Young Eagles and public benefit flights through PALS and Lifeline Pilots.

Beyond aviation, Jones serves as CEO of a cybersecurity organization headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. He has been married for 26 years to the love of his life with whom he shares three wonderful daughters. Jones is an active cyclist and a participant in annual charity bike rides supporting cancer patients and their families.

Click to Download Andy's Press Release!

Anderson Dowling, Associate MCFI 9/2022-9/2024:

Dowling’s career in aviation stemmed from a childhood passion for flight. As he approached age 30, Dowling decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. He began flight training in October 2019 and nine months later was a certificated flight instructor. Dowling instructed out of Orlando Executive Airport for more than a year and then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where he currently instructs at Lake Norman Airpark (14A).

Dowling said, “The success of my students is my greatest motivation, but the challenge of adapting to different learning styles is my favorite part of the job.” He said his plan is to eventually fly for the airlines but hopes to continue his instructing career either in simulators or the flight deck as a Line Check Airman.

Click to Download Anderson's Press Release!

Brandon gardner NAFI MCFIBrandon Gardner, MCFI 9/2022-9/2024:

Gardner developed a passion for aviation at the age of twelve after a flight in a Mooney as part of a program between the Boy Scouts of America and the EAA Young Eagles. Since then, his dream was to become a professional pilot.

Gardner is a graduate of The University of Central Florida College of Business Administration with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Gardner lives in Orlando and began flying at Orlando Executive Airport, where he obtained his pilot certificates and ratings. In 2019, he founded Premier Flight Solutions, which quickly developed into one of Orlando’s top flight training institutions and aircraft management companies.

Gardner is a three-time AOPA Distinguished Flight Instructor award winner, FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor, and Bahamas Private Flying Ambassador. He is an active member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Seaplane Pilots Association (SPA), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), American Bonanza Society (ABS), Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Malibu M-Class Owners & Pilots Association (MMOPA), Mercy Flight Southeast (part of the Air Charity Network), and the Central Florida Business Aviation Association (CFBAA).

Click to Download Brandon's Press Release!

Ty Corfield NAFI MCFITy Corfield, MCFI 7/2022-7/2024:

Corfield’s interest in aviation began while he was studying at Florida State University. One of his professors was a board member of a popular amphibious light-sport startup, and the thought of flying for a living began to sound exciting.

After graduating, Corfield decided to attend ATP Flight School in Jacksonville, Florida. Success in the program led to the offer of a CFI position at ATP. He has held various roles over the past few years — primary instructor, flight standards instructor, curriculum developer, and multi-engine instructor.

Corfield has enjoyed the challenges and excitement that ATP and the world of aviation has offered him so far. He is currently exploring future opportunities and said he can't wait to continue to learn and grow with the best office view in the world.

Click to Download Ty's Press Release!

 

Domenic LaFauci NAFI MGIDomenic LaFauci, MGI 6/2022-6/2024:

LaFauci has previously been accredited as both an Associate Master and a Master Flight Instructor. LaFauci is the assistant dean of aviation at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), where he oversees the Aviation Operations and Management program, as well as the Unmanned Aerial Systems certificate program. In addition to his assistant dean role, he teaches academic courses, including aerodynamics, aircraft operations, and aircraft systems, and is working with the university’s product team to operationalize innovative hybrid-academic models. Previous to his employment with SNHU, he flew with Wiggins Airways as PIC on the Beechcraft BE-99, was a staff member at Bridgewater State University, and was a flight instructor for East Coast Aero Club.

LaFauci is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Applied Educational Studies with a focus in Aviation and Space Education at Oklahoma State University, and is scheduled to graduate in the fall of 2023. He recently graduated from the Department of Transportation’s Basic Accident Investigator certificate program via the Transportation Safety Institute, as well as SNHU’s Unmanned Aerial Systems certificate program. An active FAASTeam Representative for the Portland and Boston FSDO region, he continues to educate others through his website www.TheCFIGuy.com, and will soon be making his return to flight instructing at CHI Aerospace. He says he hopes to someday teach in turbine aerobatic aircraft while continuing his career in higher education.


Click to Download Domenic's Press Release!

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