Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors

Master Logos


Shawn White NAFI MCFIShawn White, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

White’s says he became interested in flying when he was young, “it probably came from traveling between different countries with my parents.” His family lived overseas for several years, so as a child he enjoyed the long international flights back and forth every summer. After high school, White picked Western Michigan University to earn his degree, primarily because of its aviation summer camp and the scholarship opportunities offered. White credits much of his theoretical knowledge and passion for teaching to many of the outstanding professors and instructional staff at the College of Aviation. Once he graduated in 2018, White moved to Ann Arbor to begin teaching at the Michigan Flyers Club.

He says teaching in a club environment offered the best of both worlds: a relaxed and friendly training environment combined with regular phase checks from experienced chief instructors. In addition to flight instruction, White also earned a type rating for a CRJ-200 out of Detroit.

White’s goals include continuing to learn and progress in his airline career and to hopefully join the training department in some capacity. He looks forward to the challenge of training pilots in the airline environment and seeing some of the differences between Part 61 and 121 teaching methods.

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Robert Mitchell NAFI MCFIRobert Mitchell, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

Mitchell has dedicated most of his adult life to military and civilian flight instruction. He has been an active FAA Certified Flight Instructor for 34 straight years and has flown more than 8000 flight hours, including 500 combat flight hours.  He currently works for CAE, a Canadian manufacturer of simulation technologies and training services to airlines, as an Advanced Instructor Pilot (Upset Prevention and Recovery Training) in support of the U.S. Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training Program in Dothan, Alabama.  In addition, he owns and operates Strikehawk Aviation, a full-time flight training school in Enterprise, Alabama.  Mitchell volunteers much of his time to organizations such as the EAA Young Eagles program and the Troy University Air Force ROTC You Can Fly Scholarship program. 

Mitchell recently retired after serving 30 years in the United States Army. As a career Aeromedical Evacuation Officer, he served in numerous command and staff positions, including two combat tours. In 2004-2005, he served as a Medevac Battalion Commander in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired in 2014 at the rank of Colonel. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo where he was a starting wide receiver for the Rocket football team. He also holds master’s degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the U.S. Army War College. He is also a member of the Distinguished Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame at his high school as well as a member of the DUSTOFF Association Hall of Fame.

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ABIGAIL HARTMAN NAFI Master Flight Instructor MCFIAbigail Hartman, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

Hartman began her aviation career as a flight attendant for United Airlines in 2016. After over a year of enjoying the airline lifestyle, she quit her job, began flight training, and started working as a certified flight instructor in April 2019.

Specializing in instrument instruction for aircraft owners, Hartman has found a true passion for teaching and creating a safe future generation of pilots. Some of her favorite memories while instructing, outside of student solo and checkride accomplishments, include assisting a student in flying a Cessna 172 from California to Kentucky, mentoring new CFIs at her flight school, and helping grow the female pilot population by bringing students to her local Ninety-Nines’ chapter meetings. Along with instructing for two years, Hartman also earned her ATP and two PIC type ratings - CE-525 and EMB-505 - and says she enjoys bringing what she learns while flying the line to her students.

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MAHMOUD GHONIM NAFI Master Flight InstructorMahmoud Ghonim, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

Ghonim says he was drawn to aviation from an early age. He learned to fly at Universal Air Academy in El Monte, California in 2012 where he earned his Private and Commercial AMEL with an instrument rating. He then immediately started working on obtaining his CFI, CFII, and MEI airplane.

He continued at Universal Air Academy where he worked as an instructor and earned a Gold Seal on his flight instructor certificate. Later, he became a check instructor in addition to taking responsibility of supervising the operations of the flight academy. He also worked as a corporate pilot where he earned his ATP and flew various types of airplanes including Gulfstream 550, Citation Sovereign, and Pilatus 12.

In 2019, he decided to gain Part 121 experience by venturing into the airlines. He is currently a Chief Instructor for Universal Air Academy, a Part 141 school in Southern California. He has been working as a CFI for almost 7 years and, in addition to his passion for aviation, he says he enjoys the training aspect and mentoring of new pilots.

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Thomas Stehler NAFI MCFIThomas Stehler, MCFI 4/2021-4/2023

A native of the St. Paul area, Stehler attended Purdue University, where he acted as a corporate pilot and check instructor after graduation.  He also founded Purdue’s winning team for the newly formed collegiate class of the EAA’s AirVenture Cup Race in 2019.  Stehler is now a First Officer on the Boeing 737 at Sun Country Airlines, as well as the Chief Flight Instructor at Lake Elmo Aero in Lake Elmo, MN.  He has experience in a multitude of different single and multi-engine aircraft, with over 1000 hours of flight instruction given.



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Nick Schmall NAFI Master Instructor MCFINick Schmall, MCFI 3/2021-3/2023

While serving as a police officer in Memphis, Schmall began taking flight lessons for fun. The fun eventually morphed into a career change. After earning his commercial single and multi-engine land certificates, Schmall earned his CFI. He went on to earn his CFII, MEI, and AGI certificates. Schmall left the police department in February of 2019 and began working full time for a local flight school in Memphis.

As a full-time flight instructor Schmall has helped over 40 people earn certificates up to and including ATP. Schmall is a FAASTeam representative for the Memphis FSDO where he teaches safety related classes and aviation seminars. He also earned his Gold Seal Instructor from the FAA.

Schmall is active in the warbird community. He is a member of a Memphis based Fairchild PT-19 club where he flies the WWII basic trainer. He is also an active member of the Commemorative Air Force. Schmall flies a North American AT-6 and holds a formation wing card with the North American Training Association. He says he really enjoys taking people for rides in warbirds and flying formation with friends.

Schmall earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics with a minor in Aviation Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is currently working on a Master of Science in Aeronautics and expects to graduate in December of 2021. He holds an ATP multi-engine certificate and flies a Citation Excel for a Part 135 charter company. While flying jets is a new adventure, he says he still enjoys instructing and does so part time when he is home.

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Chris Anderson NAFI MCFIChristopher Anderson, MCFI 12/2000-1/2023

This is Anderson’s 11th NAFI Master Accreditation. Anderson was flying before he could walk.  Growing up in an aviation family around grass strips and Bell 47s, Anderson followed his dad into aviation.  He started flying professionally in 1986 at a charter operation. After pumping down the gear and a couple of engine failures, he quit that job and started Progressive Air and taught full-time until finding a job at a better charter company. Hanging around airports and flying at nearly every opportunity led to a job for a Fortune 100 company flying Falcons and Challengers, and teaching in a couple of area flying clubs. 

Somewhere in there, he says he met a wonderful woman who is mostly tolerant of his aviation addiction.  They have been married for 31 years they have three children.

Of course, he says, just as the fun began, the company downsized the flight department leading him to a small airline flying DC-9s and Boeing 717s.  After a stint bopping from right seat to left seat, the commercial operation became a victim of mergers in the late 2000s.  By this point Anderson had settled in southern Wisconsin with 20 years of CFI experience and a fresh DPE certificate.  He started restoring his Citabria in the home garage, in between work and teaching.  It only took 13 years to move the plane out of the garage.

After the airline gig, Anderson found himself back in the corporate wording flying Hawkers and Challengers. He was also teaching for a “non-profit” Part 61/141 flight school. He then revived Progressive Air, Inc. and started teaching and giving check rides independently. Working with two of his best A&P mechanics, Anderson helped restored a couple of Bell 47s.

He holds an ATP pilot certificate with airplane, helicopter, glider, seaplane and gyroplane rating.  As a DPE in airplanes and helicopters he has conducted over 2,100 check rides.

Anderson can be found at fly-in pancake breakfasts and every summer at EAA AirVenture.  Beyond work, his hobbies include flying, talking to sparkplugs and filling out IACRA paperwork.  His favorite passenger is his son’s dog, a mutt named Bendix King. 

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Karen Kalishek NAFI Master Instructor MCFIKaren A. Kalishek, MCFI 03/2017-03/2023:

This is Kalishek’s 3rd NAFI Master Accreditation. Kalishek was an aviation late bloomer. As happens to many pilots, after lessons at a younger age, life got in the way. She became a certified public accountant, licensed real estate broker, bank executive, taught finance courses in graduate school, and for 20 years ran her own firm providing international consulting services in 37 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Then the aviation bug bit once again and did not let go.

Kalishek is now a Designated Pilot Examiner and independent Master and Gold Seal Flight Instructor with ATP, CFI, CFII, CFIME, CFI-Glider, AGI and IGI certificates. She has a special fondness for antique and experimental aircraft and flies her own Van's RV-6. Kalishek is a Major in the Civil Air Patrol, serving as a CAP volunteer flight instructor, G1000 instructor, check pilot, examiner, safety officer, aerospace education officer, public affairs officer, special flight release officer, mission pilot and cadet orientation pilot.

Kalishek serves on the NAFI Board of Directors and six NAFI board committees. She is also a member of the Wings Industry Advisory Committee and FAA Surface Safety Group. In 2014, she founded the Green Bay IMC Club, and serves as its leader and club coordinator. For the past six years, she has served on the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center (PPC) organizing committee and as volunteer PPC CFI Manager during AirVenture. Since 2006, she has served as treasurer of EAA Chapter 651, and is an EAA Flight Advisor for the chapter. Kalishek is a member of Women in Aviation, The Ninety Nines and Women Soaring Pilots Association.

Kalishek has served as FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Milwaukee FSDO since 2015, as a FAASTeam Representative since 2013 and was named the 2019 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year.

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Jedediah Stone Associate NAFI MCFIJedediah Stone, Associate MCFI 3/2021-3/2023:

Stone was raised in North Pole, Alaska. It was there, working as a wildland firefighter where he says he discovered the joys and possibilities of aviation, specifically involved with flying helicopters. He then spent the next several years working in the summers to save up so he could fly in the winters and inch closer to his goals.

In the summer of 2018 Stone received his CFII rating and started his career as a flight instructor north of New Mexico and slightly south of Wyoming. He has thus far spent a year and a half teaching the newest crop of helicopter pilots the finer points of aviation, safety, and professionalism.

Stone says he enjoys helping the next generation learn to be safe, knowledgeable, and competent pilots because we all know we will someday somewhere share the airspace with them. He hopes that everyone achieves their dreams of flying because all of us understand just how amazing it really is. He adds that he is committed to continuing his learning and growth as a pilot, instructor, mentor, and person so that he may help as many of them as possible.

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Thomas Summers NAFI MCFIThomas Summers, MCFI 3/2021-3/2023:

In the spring of 2015, while working as a grocery store manager, Summers’ wife bought him an introductory flight in Maryland, setting him on the path of aviation. He and his family moved to the Louisville area, where he began flight school in October of 2017. As a student, he learned to fly at ATP, where he earned his private and commercial ASEL and AMEL with an instrument rating.  He also earned his CFI, CFI-I, and MEI.

After finishing the program, he continued with ATP as an instructor, where he earned a Gold Seal on his flight instructor certificate and was promoted to Standardization Instructor for his training center, flying the Piper Archer and Seminole.  There, he had the opportunity to work with a number of talented pilots training them from student pilots through MEI. While instructing, Summers also obtained his AGI and IGI. 

Summers then accepted a job with ATP as a CFI Academy Ground School Instructor, training initial CFI initial applicants to become instructors. He says tyhe fun part of that job is working with students not just from his local region, but with pilots from across the country who bring different experiences and perspectives to the classroom.

Summers is now in training for a Part 121 first officer position, and says he is loving the classroom experience again, but is excited to be able to get back to instructing when the time is right.  

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Eli Vilschick NAFI Master InstructorEli Vilschick, MCFI 3/2021-3/2023:

Vilschick is a flight instructor located in the Central Maryland area. He has 1,500 hours in a variety of light General Aviation aircraft. He completed his flight training in 2018 while attending college at Western Michigan University.

Vilschick offers flight instruction of all types, including private, instrument, commercial, instructor, and tailwheel. He hopes to begin teaching in different aircraft types as well as break into aerobatics and upset training in the near future.

His time teaching has led him to an interest in flight simulators, and he is pursuing ways to integrate flight simulation into traditional flight training. He also plans to teach courses on General Aviation Human Factors and Aviation Psychology soon.

Vilschick holds Commercial SEL, CFI, and CFII certificates, and said he hopes to add more certificates in the future, including MEL and SES this summer.

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Andrew Dow Master Flight Instructor Andrew Dow, MGI 2/2013-3/2023, MCFI 2/2011-3/2023:

This is Dow’s sixth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor Accreditation and fifth consecutive NAFI Master Ground Instructor Accreditation.

Dow started his career in aviation in 2003 working as a flight instructor for Great River Aviation in Quincy, IL.  It was during this job that he discovered his true passion of teaching others how to fly.  Dow worked his way through the roles of Assistant Chief Flight Instructor to Chief Flight Instructor in the flight schools FAA Part 141 Program and became the Chief Pilot and the Director of Operations for its Part 135 Charter certificate.  He also started working at Quincy University as an adjunct instructor of aviation in 2005 and eventually became an Assistant Professor of Aviation.

In 2017 Dow became a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the Springfield, IL FSDO, conducting pilot practical test examinations for various pilot certificates and ratings.  As of this writing he has administered over 600 practical tests and enjoys giving back to the aviation industry, which he says “has given me so much over the years.”

Dow earned his Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout of America several years ago, and is an Aviation Merit Badge Counselor, helping 87 Boy Scouts earn their Aviation merit badge to date.  He also is a FAASTeam Representative for the Springfield, IL District Office hosting and presenting aviation safety seminars throughout the region.  Dow belongs to several aviation organizations and currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Aviation Trades Association.

In 2014, Dow was awarded the “Brown Jacket Award” at the EAA AirVenture from the IMC Club.  He was also awarded the “Coach of the Year” award by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association for Region VIII during the 2014 and 2016 SAFECON competitions, and was recently honored as a “Distinguished Flight Instructor” through AOPA’s Flight Training Experience Award in both 2017 and 2018.

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Jay Seward NAFI Master CFIJay Seward, MCFI 2/2005-2/2023:

Jay Seward is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot with 3600 hours in the T-37, B-52, T-38 and FB-111A.  In the latter two, he served as an instructor pilot.  In 1983 he earned his CFI through the Andrews AFB Aero Club.  In 1992, he left the Strategic Air Command for duty as Chief of Safety and then Operational Support Squadron Commander in the newly reorganized Air Education and Training Command Flying Training Wing structure.  In these roles he became immersed in airfield operations, TRACON and Tower operations, and academic instruction. 

After a 15-year non-flying diversion into other Air Force command and staff jobs he rekindled his love of “slipping the surly bonds” while running an Air Force ROTC unit.  Upon 30-year retirement from active duty, he taught high school classes for nine years as an Air Force JROTC instructor in Irmo, SC.  In both these ROTC jobs he flew pro bono flights with his students and taught private pilot ground school.  In 2008 he added CFII to his ticket and began flight instructing on a more routine basis, becoming essentially a full-time independent contract instructor in 2018.  He has ratings in gliders and seaplanes in addition to his multiengine experience.  His GA instruction is in C-172’s, PA-28s, PA-38s, M-20s, and AA5s, several of which he has owned.  Before COVID he was flying with private pilot and advanced students and doing CFI/CFII training.

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Dick Rochfort NAFI MCFIRichard "Dick" Rochfort, MCFI 2/2005-2/2023:

This is Rochfort’s ninth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Rochfort provides training, pre-purchase consulting, aircraft relocation and expert witness services to owners, pilots and instructors of the Piper PA46 aircraft. He holds ATP, Commercial and Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificates with SEL, SES, MEL, CFII, MEI, and CE-525S ratings and has been a full-time flight instructor since 1992.
Rochfort has researched, written and published hundreds of articles and demonstration videos specific to the operation of the Piper PA46 aircraft. This body of work is available online at The PA46 Pilot Reference Library. It is the only collection of its kind anywhere in the world. These videos have been viewed over 2.5 million times and his YouTube channel has over 10,000 subscribers. He serves the PA46 community worldwide. His training programs are PA46 type-specific, insurance industry approved, FAA Industry Training Standards (FITS) approved, FAA Wings approved, and they are fully insured.

Rochfort is Director Emeritus of the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association (M/MOPA), and Instructor Emeritus of the M/MOPA Safety and Training Foundation. He is a member of EAA and NBAA. He is the Official Meridian Instructor for Red Bull air racer Kirby Chambliss and Team Chambliss.

Rochfort worked from 1976 until 1991 as an industrial engineer training manufacturing personnel for the production of communication and navigation equipment for the U.S. military. Before that he served as a “Green Beret” Staff Sergeant E6, B Company, 2nd Battalion, U.S. Army Special Forces Airborne as an “A team” radio operator, training indigenous personnel in field radio communications and other critical skills.

His education includes undergraduate degrees in Clinical Psychology and Engineering, and a master’s degree in Business Administration. Rochfort lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and has two daughters. He is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified Open Water Scuba Instructor; a DAN (Divers Alert Network) certified First Aid Instructor and an Eagle Scout.

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Joseph R. Bertapelle NAFI MCFIJoseph R. Bertapelle, MCFI 12/2020-12/2022:

Bertapelle owns the Augusta Flight Center, a flight school at August Municipal Airport in Augusta, Kansas. He arrived in Wichita in late 2006 as a KC-135 navigator for the United States Air Force, going on multiple TDYs and seven deployments. He became a USAF Instructor and Evaluator for the Navigator Schoolhouse, obtaining several squadron and group level awards. Bertapelle received Honorary Discharge from the air force in 2012 as captain for mission-planning software, working on base as an independent contractor for another 7 years to support both the KC-135 and the new KC-46.

He created Joe Bravo Aviation, LLC. to diversify his student base and offer flight instruction to the public. Teaching flight instruction at multiple airports in his spare time, his bolstered reputation afforded him the opportunity to teach at Beechcraft’s Cessna Flying Club; a rare exception to its employee-only stipulation. In 2019, Bertapelle was sought out to teach at Flight Safety International in the Caravan G1000 program until 2020 when downsizing from the COVID-19 pandemic furloughed him. Through this seemingly unfortunate circumstance, he has been able to focus his efforts entirely on Augusta Flight Center, becoming its owner in August 2020. It now has a current fleet of 11 planes, ranging from the Cessna 172 through the Beech Sierra. He is checked out in over 50 different models of GA aircraft and routinely travels to meet students, maintaining a competitive level of expertise, proficiency, and flexibility. He offers instruction of all levels on advanced avionics in aircraft, aerobatic maneuvers, commercial, IFR, tailwheel, and upset training. He has his CFI, CFII, MEII, AGI, Remote Pilot, Aircraft Dispatcher, Gold Seal Certificates, and is the Vice President of IAC 119 chapter, which recently awarded four Aerobatic Scholarships to AFC to help students pursue their dreams of aerobatic instruction.

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Jason Lorenzon NAFI MCFIJason Lorenzon, MCFI 1/2021-1/2023:

Lorenzon said that as a boy he loved to watch airplanes flying over his house in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and dreamed of one day learning to fly.  When he was old enough, he began flying lessons at the Windsor Flying Club and his love of flying grew. Since his parents were concerned for his safety and did not want him to pursue flying as a career, he would often sneak to the airport, and at the age of 18 he received his pilot’s certificate.

At the University of Western Ontario, Lorenzon pursued a degree in political science and music, and met his future wife Heather, who was also working on obtaining her pilot’s certificate. Knowing that it is rare to meet someone with the dream of flight they began flying together and have enjoyed many adventures, now with their three children and two pug dogs.

While Lorenzon came to Cleveland to pursue a Masters in Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music and went on to pursue his law degree at Cleveland Marshall School of Law, his love of flying and helping others achieve the dream of flight continued to grow. He became a CFI in 2003 and holds the CFI instrument and CFI multi-engine ratings.  Most recently he became an FAA certified Airline Transport Pilot (multi-engine).

Eventually Lorenzon was able to bring his love of flying and law together at Kent State University where he is the Aeronautics Coordinator while also teaching Aviation Law, Aviation Security and Policy, UAV Courses and instructing commercial and multi-engine students at the Kent State Airport (1G3).  Additionally, he also serves as FAA Safety Team Lead for the Cleveland FSDO, practices aviation law, serves as an AOPA panel attorney, serves as Chair of the Aviation Law Committee of the Ohio State Bar, serves on the Aviation Law Committee of the Florida Bar, and is a co-founder/owner of AeroTrek Flight Academy at the Wadsworth Municipal (3G3) airport.

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Sam Lindsay NAFI MCFISam Lindsay, MCFI 1/2021-1/2023:

Lindsay is a U.S. Air Force veteran and former airline first officer who began flying in the 1990s. He quickly progressed through his ratings and is currently a primary, instrument, and multi engine instructor. He specializes in Mooney and Comanche aircraft as well as high tech avionics, but he also instructs local tailwheel pilots at a nearby grass field, and mentors student pilots in his 1977 Cessna 150. He is an independent instructor and owns his own flight school, named "CourseAir Flight Training".

Lindsay has a Master of Science degree in Information Systems, and prior to becoming a full-time instructor, spent 38 years in the information technology field. He has been published numerous times in various periodicals, including NAFI Mentor, Mooney MAPA Log and IFR Refresher. 

He also produces online instructional videos for use by all students of aviation.

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Fred Gibbs NAFI Master CFIFred L. Gibbs, MCFI 12/2020-12/2022:

Gibbs’ actual aviation career started in 1971 when he was hired by the FAA, and started out in the flight service station in Williamsport, PA, the home of Lycoming Aircraft engines and right down the street from Lockhaven, the birthplace of Piper Aircraft. He put his flight service knowledge to work for the local FBO, trading knowledge (in ground school teaching) for flight time,  and as a student pilot, “hob-knobbing” with all the Piper test pilots and gaining experience flying all over the East coast with his instructors delivering Lycoming engine parts late at night. Gibbs actually worked with the local “GADO” offices back then, doing education programs with the same examiners he flew with for his ratings, and even flew within the FAA’s internal 4040.9 flight programs, one of the very few from within the Air Traffic organization actually allowed in!  Gibbs eventually qualified for the Airline Transport Pilot certificate under that internal FAA program.

Gibbs holds an ATP CFII ASMEL Gold Seal, with over 17,500 hours of flight time, and over 13,200 hours of instructor time. He has been an instrument flight instructor (CFII-SMEL) since 1976, as well as a certified Cirrus Factory-certified flight instructor since 2008.  After retiring from the FAA, Gibbs became the assistant chief pilot at the Freeway, MD airport, a very active Part 141 flight school in Maryland.  Upon relocating to Flagstaff, AZ,  he assumed the role of Director/Chief Flight Instructor at the local FBO there.  Gibbs has flown about every GA aircraft around, has extensive conventional gear experience, and is a very experienced instrument instructor.   Gibbs credits his FAA ATC and Flight Service Station experience and knowledge for much of the success and opportunities he has enjoyed through the years. He also owns and operates his own aircraft, a restored and meticulously maintained 1973 Bellanca Super Viking.  Gibbs has flown under the FAA’s internal flying program, and has been an FAA safety counselor at large for the past 44 years.  He is also a FAAST Team Lead Representative for the Scottsdale FSDO, active in the FAA’s “Wings” programs, serve on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Pilots Association, is the Safety and Education Director for the Arizona Pilots Association, and was a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol serving as the safety officer/check pilot for the local squadron in Flagstaff.

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Baron WesemanAndreas ‘Baron’ Wesemann, MGI 12/2020-12/2022:

Professor Wesemann is the Director of the Professional Pilot program at Utah State University, where he started a new online Master of Aviation Science Degree and drone program. He joined Civil Air Patrol in 1981, garnered a solo scholarship that encouraged his childhood dream of becoming a military pilot, and helped him toward an appointment and his eventual graduation from The United States Air Force Academy and earning his silver wings. Wesemann retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after a 27-year career flying the C-130 Hercules around the world as a combat rescue pilot and deployed combat commander, garnering distinguished graduate honors at aircraft commander’s school and exceptionally qualified on his instructor checkride. He was recently selected as the Teacher of the Year for Utah State University for 2020 and serves on the board for the international Alpha Eta Rho Aviation Fraternity. He has earned FAA WINGS validation at the basic, advanced, and masters levels on multiple occasions. As an instructor pilot for over 20 years, he has a CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, Remote Pilot, was an instructor pilot in the U.S.A.F. for 5 different aircraft, and is completing his PhD in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on eLearning.

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Anthony Cirincione, MCFI 2/2019-11/2022

Cirincione has over 39 years, and 11,000 hours of flight experience, flying almost every aircraft. His holds a Gold Seal CFI with airplane, helicopter, gyrocopter, glider, weight shift control, and powered parachute, FE – Turbojet, and A&P with Inspection Authorization. He began his aviation career as a crew chief in the U.S. Air Force. From there he became a F-111 Instructor and flight examiner, and later an instructor at the U.S.A.F. Fighter Weapons School flying the F-4 Phantom. He is type-rated in Cessna, Learjet, Dassault, and Boeing aircraft. Cirincione has a master's degree in aeronautical science and has published Advanced Flight Instruction – A teaching Guide for Aviators. Although he teaches in several light sport aircraft, he spends most of his time refining pilot’s skills for safe single pilot operation of Cessna Citation aircraft. For a closer look at his Citation work, go to


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Donald Kaye, MCFI 9/2002-9/2022:

This is Kaye’s 10th consecutive NAFI Master Flight Instructor award. Born in Canton, Ohio Kaye says he was interested in aviation from an early age. After getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, he went to work for Kaiser Aerospace and Electronics. Most everyone in his department had their pilot’s certificate and in early 1968 he became a Private Pilot. A year later he got his Commercial Certificate.

From 1970 until 1992, worked as a real estate broker selling apartment houses, as a real estate developer, and real estate investor. It took an issue of Flying Magazine with a Mooney TLS on the cover to direct his attention back to flying. He soon earned his Instrument Rating, and within a month purchased a Mooney TLS. Thereafter, he achieved his Instructor and Instrument Instructor Ratings, and started teaching full time, specializing in teaching all models of Mooneys. His ATP certification followed.

For many years he taught both the primary Mooney Pilot Proficiency Course and its corresponding Mountain Flying Course. After a student of one of his students bought a King Air C90, he earned his Multiengine and Multiengine Instructor Ratings and began teaching the Multiengine Rating. Shortly thereafter the same student bought a CJ1, and the Citation CE-525S ATP was added to his credentials.

With over 11,600 hours of total time, 6,600 hours have been devoted to teaching. He has been willing to travel, to Canada, Australia and even North Dakota in the middle of January to assist those interested in learning the art of flying.

Several years ago, he upgraded the panel of his airplane to the latest in technology. With the experience gained, he has been able to quickly guide students on both purchases of such technology and on how best to use it to provide for the safest flight possible.

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Braunschweig NAFI Master Instructor MCFIDaniel Katz-Braunschweig, Associate MCFI 11/2020-11/2022:

Katz-Braunschweig says he was “bitten” by the aviation bug early in life when his father, a former private pilot, scheduled his first flying lesson at the age of 12 at Cherry Ridge airport in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.  His interest in flying caused Katz-Braunschweig to join the Civil Air Patrol and during his tenure, he was regularly active in the cadet program, aerospace education and emergency services.  His skills were put to task a few days after September 11, 2001 when he, as a photo specialist, was tasked with his aircrew to take photos and video of the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center and immediately deliver them to New York State’s office of emergency management.  He said that experience caused him to really want to move to the left seat of the aircraft and he started flight training in December of that year towards his private pilot’s certificate.

With his family helping him study and supporting him in his goals, he received his certificate in June and his instrument rating in December of 2002.  Braunschweig’s full-time job is as a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at New York University’s Tandon school of Engineering, where he sometimes uses his aviation background to excite students on the complexities of both fields.  He has given his students insight into aviation by showing them the intricacies of ADS-B and building projects which rely on data processing and performance characteristics of both aircraft and ground systems.  Since it was the obvious combination of his vocation and avocation, Katz-Braunschweig obtained his CFI rating in 2006 and been teaching ever since.  He owns and flies a K35 Bonanza, which he uses to transport his wife and two children around the United States and to international destinations.  He says that his greatest thrill is when he sees a student who has had difficulty with understanding or performing a task finally “get it.”

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Sean Stephenson Associate NAFI MCFISean Stephenson, Associate MCFI 11/2020-11/2022:

Stephenson began his aviation career as a military flight student in the United States Marine Corps. Over the past 18 years he has flown aboard Navy vessels, served in combat, and instructed in multiple military and civilian aircraft. He has accumulated almost 1,800 flight hours in the T-34C Mentor, T-45C Goshawk, AV-8B Harrier, and numerous general aviation aircraft. He currently holds ATP, CFII, and MEI certificates with high-performance and tailwheel endorsements. In addition to his current active military duties, Stephenson works as flight instructor at Tradewind Flight Services in New Bern, North Carolina.


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Tim Mcswain NAFI Master Instructor MCFITim McSwain, MCFI 10/2020-10/2022:

McSwain began his aviation career by soloing Cessna 150 N7112S on August 8th, 1968 at Essex County Airport in Caldwell, New Jersey (KCDW). He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in September of 1969 in Ohio, where he had moved to attend college and law school. Soon after, McSwain moved up to a Cessna 172, then a Beech Musketeer, then to Citabrias and Grummans. Instrument, Commercial and CFI ratings and certificates followed. He flew for a Cessna Pilot Center, adding airplane demo/sales/delivery pilot to his duties, as well as adding MEL and MEL-CFI.

Over the next 6 years McSwain flew for several schools in and near Columbus, teaching private, commercial, instrument, single and multi- students at John Glenn Columbus International Airport (KCMH), Bolton Field, Columbus Southwest and Ohio State University Airport (KOSU). During that time, he flew 80-some different SEL and MEL types as a CFI or on demo/delivery flights for the dealership and added ATP-MEL to his certificate in 1980.

In 1983 McSwain moved to Memphis to practice aviation law and joined a flying club, teaching in types ranging from J3 Cubs to Piper Aztecs. He moved back to New Jersey in 1985, and while instructing at various locations added SES to his ratings, and was appointed a Designated Pilot Examiner with the Teterboro FSDO in 1990.

By 1994, time commitments to his legal career and a growing family led him to relinquish his DPE status but was able to continue instructing on a more relaxed pace. He flew company airplanes and his own aircraft on business trips around the United States and Canada until retiring in 2013.
Since then, McSwain has continued instructing, consulting, and flying his own airplanes, mostly to visit family and old friends. His current airplane is a Cessna 180A.

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Michael Johnson NAFI Master Instructor MCFIMichael Johnson, MCFI 10/2020-10/2022:

This is Johnson’s third NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Johnson has been flying since 1974 and has flown a multitude of airplanes and helicopters.  He is a former Chief Pilot and Director of Training for a U.S. airline.  He also has years of experience in Part 135 air carrier operations, including fixed and rotor-wing operations.  Starting his aviation life competing in aerobatics, Johnson performed at airshows across the southern United States.  At a young age, he won the 1979 Texas State Aerobatics competition, which he said in today’s terms equals a national championship in the Unlimited Class.  His first airline job was as a line pilot for Texas International Airlines (which became Continental Airlines).

Johnson left aviation to serve more than 11 years on active duty in U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance, most of which were in the Middle East.  He is a highly decorated combat veteran, having been awarded seven personal military decorations for valor, more than 15 other decorations, earning the coveted “dual cool” USMC Recon designation of being parachute and SCUBA qualified and having earned a seven-time expert rifle qualification and a six-time pistol expert qualification.

Leaving the Marine Corps, he returned to aviation and, as a professional pilot, worked in all facets of aviation including airlines, charters, flight instruction, banner towing, tour industry, EMS, ENG and much more.

Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), as well as a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Science (also from ERAU).   A published aviation author, Johnson has written 10 flight training books and multimedia software packages published commercially and sold through national chains, such as Barnes and Noble.  Johnson holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, and a FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor certificate.  He was one of the first Cessna Factory Authorized Instructors (CFAI) for the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit system.  He holds airplane single- and multi-engine, land and sea ratings, as well as rotorcraft helicopter.  His flight instructor credentials include airplane single and multi-engine, rotorcraft helicopter, as well as instrument instructor in airplanes and helicopters. Johnson also has both Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor certificates.

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Earnest Templeton NAFI MCFIEarnest Templeton, MCFI 10/2020-10/2022:

This is Templeton’s second consecutive NAFI Master Flight Instructor award. Templeton’s love for aviation started as a young dreamer watching U.S. Navy P-2V Neptune submarine hunters in Adak, Alaska. He began U.S. Navy flight training at VT-1 Pensacola, Florida in August 1973. Templeton flew the T-34B (Beechcraft Mentor), T-28C (North American Trojan) and the TS-2A (Grumman Tracker), a multiengine submarine hunter. He is now a retired U.S. Naval Reserve Captain.

For the past eight years Templeton has enjoyed working as a flight instructor at the Travis AFB Aero Club in Fairfield, California, where he provides assistance and instruction to many young enlisted USAF air crew personnel who desire to obtain a private certificate or more to enhance their ability to compete for selection to active duty USAF officer pilot training programs.

Templeton’s eldest son served in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Boatswain Mate onboard several aircraft carriers launching aircraft and his number two son recently left active duty after serving as a H-60 Sea Hawk helicopter pilot.

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emily locketz NAFI MCFIEmily Locketz, Associate MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Locketz got her start in aviation while in high school when she was 17, discovering her love for aviation through Aviation Explorers and the dedication of her first instructors. She said that helped her realize she wanted to make aviation her career and joined ATP Flight School in 2015, where she became a CFI/CFII/MEI at 19 years old.

She continued to grow as an instructor in Phoenix, Arizona, training students from a range of airline ab initio training programs including JetBlue and Japan Airlines, and eventually progressed to Lead Instructor of the Japan Airlines training program. She then decided to go back to where it all started at ATP, and help students obtain their CFI initial ratings.

While working at ATP, she earned the Distinguished Flight Instructor award from AOPA for 2019. She now works as the Lead of Ground School programs at ATP, and says she hopes to continue to grow her experience and dedicate herself to being a lifelong instructor and educator.

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Georgios “George” Michelogiannakis, Associate MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Michelogiannakis has been actively flight instructing for six years. Born in Greece, he pursued flight training at Reid-Hillview airport (RHV) in California where he flew a few of his first hundred hours mostly in a 180HP Cessna 172. Shortly after becoming a CFI, he focused on private and instrument pilot training while acquiring additional qualifications such as MEI, ATP MEL, and TAA training.

Michelogiannakis' latest focus is G1000 transition training, introductory flights, as well as re-currency of "rusty" pilots. Much of his flight instructing time is as an unpaid volunteer as an instructor and check pilot of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) where he provides not only transition training and evaluation, but also evaluation flights for search and rescue (SAR) pilot candidates. As part of CAP, Michelogiannakis has participated in numerous actual SAR and disaster relief missions. He is also an active FAASTeam representative who frequently delivers seminars on many safety topics. He says when he is not flying or thinking about flying, he is a research scientist at a national laboratory.

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Alaba Gabriel Idowu, MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Idowu’s dream of becoming a pilot came true in 2004. He did not know how to achieve his goal financially, but his passion for the industry inspired him to secure admission into an aviation business school to study travel agency management/air ticketing and reservation. In 2005 his first step into an aviation career officially began after finishing classes at the international school of aviation (ISA) in Lagos, Nigeria.

He then worked for three travel agencies as a travel agency manager, and while working as a ticketing officer, Idowu pursued a National Diploma (ND) in computer science at Lagos State Polytechnic.

In 2010, Idowu moved to the United States to start a piloting career. In 2015 he obtained multi-engine CPL from Delta Qualiflight at Forth-Meacham, Texas and proceeded to enroll in Aviator College in Florida for CFI/CFII/MEI.

Idowu then worked with Hillsboro Aero Academy in Hillsboro, Oregon as a flight instructor and also a progress check instructor. He then also worked for Kansas State University as an advanced flight instructor.

Idowu currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and is working towards a Master of Science in Aviation Safety from the same university.

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James Archer MCFIJames Archer, MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Archer is a certificated Airline Transport Pilot for both multi-engine and single-engine land aircraft. With over 14 years as an instructor, he holds training certificates in instrument, single and multi-engine aircraft as well as an instrument and advanced ground instructor. Archer specializes in instrument training, instrument proficiency checks, flight reviews, and advanced ratings and certificates. He says he enjoys teaching aeronautical decision making, safety, and professionalism.  His aviation experience includes cabin class aircraft, the Beechcraft King Air 90 and 200 models.  He has also received ground and flight training for Boeing 737.

In August 2020, Archer was approved as a FAASTeam Representative and assigned as a remedial CFI by the FAA ATL FAASTeam Program Manager. Other activities include his assistance with the Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia with advanced flight and ground training curriculum development as well as with Georgia Skills USA Conferences.

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kennedy mcfiKevin Kennedy, Associate MCFI 8/2020-8/2022:

Kennedy flew solo in an airplane at the age of 16 with  friends and family watching.  Like so many others, the sense of freedom during flight is what got him hooked.  He went on to acquire a Private Pilot’s Certificate and an applied economics degree from Florida State University.  After a brief but accomplished stint on the business side of aviation, he decided to make a beeline for his dreams and enrolled in flight school full time. 

After earning CFI/CFII/MEI, Kennedy began his flight instructor career in Austin, TX where he saw enough success to add an FAA Gold Seal to his flight instructor certificate.  In addition to primary instructor, he has held roles such as Multi-Engine Flight Standards Instructor and Lead Instructor.  He now works as an Indoctrination Instructor for ATP Flight School in Jacksonville, FL where his function is to assist newly certificated CFIs who are just beginning their aviation journey.  Plane and Pilot Magazine has also published some of Kennedy’s work. 

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Lubomir MCFILubomir Gueorguiev, MCFI 8/2016-8/2022:

This is Gueorguiev Third consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Born in Russia, Gueorguiev started flying when he was 16 years old after meeting the first astronaut in space, Yuri Gagarin. His passion followed him to the United States in 1991 when he immigrated and began instructing professionally. Gueorguiev is a Chief Flight Instructor at Yoanna Flight School (d.b.a. Beaver Aviation) at Page Field Airport Fort Myers Florida. He is an ATP pilot, a Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI and Seaplane Flight Instructor.

Educated with a doctoral degree in nuclear physics, he said his passion has always been aviation. With more than 5,500 hours total time, and over 4,500 of them dual given Gueorguiev said he believes that flight safety starts with education.

For many years Gueorguiev has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community. He is a member of AOPA, is an EAA Young Eagle pilot, a major in the Civil Air Patrol, a FAAST Team Representative for the Tampa FSDO, and member of the United States Parachute Association. He is an ATP pilot, a Gold Seal CFI, CFII, and MEI. He said his flight training methodology emphasis on building proper skills and flight control, procedural compliance and safety culture.

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Terrence Way MCFITerence Way, MCFI 08/2020-08/2022:

This is Way’s second consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Way's first solo was in a Cessna 172 in Goodland, Kansas, with Heather Pittman as endorsing instructor.  His flying career extends from Hawaii - as a check airman for "Ohana By Hawaiian" inter-island passenger airline - to Boeing 737s in Alaska, sometimes even landing them on gravel strips!  Way is currently instructing with the Civil Air Patrol.

"I vividly remember the encounter that set me on the path to becoming an instructor - 'You want to really learn how to fly?  Try teaching someone else!'  Well, the circle was completed when I repeated the exact same words to a recent initial CFI candidate, who passed his checkride on the first attempt."

Click to Download Terence's Press Release!


Ury BraunUry Braun, Associate MCFI 08/2020-08/2022:

Braun was 12 years old when he took his first introduction flight and he says he knew then aviation was going to be his chosen career path.  Braun holds an ATP with B767/757, DC-9, HS-125, CL-600, EMB-120 and EMB145 type ratings.  He received his initial CFI rating at Double Eagle Aviation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991.  Since that time, he has added a CFII and MEI, Ground Instructor: Advanced/Instrument and taught at Part 61 and 141 flight schools in the southwest and southeast.  He eventually transitioned to the airline world and is a second- generation pilot for a major U.S. airline.  Braun grew up in the general aviation world and has owned a Bonanza and Baron and looks forward to owning a tail dragger in the future.  He currently instructs in the standards department at his airline, providing mountainous airport and Atlantic, South American theater check outs.  Braun graduated with a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, specializing in aviation safety and also provides free-lance flight instruction with an emphasis on what he calls his passion, instrument instructing.
Click to Download Ury's Press Release!


Andreas ‘Baron’ Wesemann, MCFI 07/2020-07/2022:

Professor Wesemann is the Director of the Professional Pilot program at Utah State University, where he started a new online Master of Aviation Science Degree and drone program.  He joined Civil Air Patrol in 1981, garnered a solo scholarship that encouraged his childhood dream of becoming a military pilot, and helped him toward an appointment and his eventual graduation from The United States Air Force Academy and earning his silver wings. Wesemann retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after a 27-year career flying the C-130 Hercules around the world as a combat rescue pilot and deployed combat commander, garnering distinguished graduate honors at aircraft commander’s school and exceptionally qualified on his instructor checkride. He was recently selected as the Teacher of the Year for Utah State University for 2020 and serves on the board for the international Alpha Eta Rho Aviation Fraternity.  He has earned FAA WINGS validation at the basic, advanced, and masters levels on multiple occasions.  As an instructor pilot for over 20 years, he has a CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, Remote Pilot, was an instructor pilot in the U.S.A.F. for 5 different aircraft, and is completing his PhD in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on eLearning.

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John CooperJohn Cooper, MGI 04/2020-04/2022:

In 1956, Cooper was only 5 years old when his family flew from Albuquerque, NM to upstate New York on a DC-6 type airliner. The Captain asked if he wanted to come up to the cockpit. He put me on his lap as the turboprop cruised above the clouds. That was it... he was going to be a pilot.

It took Cooper a while to come back to that dream, but he bought a Cessna 150 in 1976 and earned his private license in Paris, TX. Cooper went on to Flight Safety in Vero Beach, FL to finish up Instrument, Commercial, and CFI. After that, he taught Private, Commercial, and, Instrument pilots while flying air freight in a Cherokee Six. With a MEI, he earned a job running the multi engine rating course for a company in Miami, FL in 1979 - 1980.

He was then able to serve in a PA 31 Navajo as Captain for Devoe Airlines, a Twin Otter as First Officer for Rocky Mountain Airways, and then a Metroliner for Pioneer Airlines out of Denver, CO. Unfortunately, Continental chose a competitor for their Continental Express, and the company went out of business.

Flash forward to 2018 when a friend approached him with a flying opportunity if he could get his medical and get current. The medical never came through, but Cooper was resolved to get back into aviation as a Ground Instructor. For the last year he has been the Ground Instructor for ATP CFI Academy in Arlington, TX.

Cooper has always had a great sense of fulfillment when seeing students come back from a check ride with a smile from ear to ear. Cooper says “watching them make it is what drives me to be the best Ground Instructor I can be.”

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Walter NewsomeWalter Newsome, MGI 03/2020-03/2022:











Stephen SancewichStephen Sancewich, MGI 03/2020-03/2022:

Stephen Sancewich began flying, while a finance professional, in 1999. He has years of operational and instructional experience in aircraft, ranging from the Piper Cub to the King Air 350i. Prior to instructing at the CFI Academy at ATP Flight School, he was the aviation instructor at a four-year aviation college where he developed and taught courses in aerodynamics, aviation meteorology, turbine operations, and crew-based instrument flying. When Sancewich is not flying, you’ll find him logging miles on a road or mountain bike, while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics.


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Zach HagelyZachary Hagely, MCFI 02/2020-02/2022:

Hagely said he first became interested in learning to fly in his early 20s when looking at career options. His stepdad suggested he talk to his brother about becoming a pilot. After some research, he quickly decided this was a career he would enjoy and began training at SIUC (Southern Illinois University Carbondale).

Hagely graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Management, and an Associate's Degree in Applied Science for Aviation Flight, and earning his commercial ASEL and CFI certificates. Coincidentally, the day he earned his CFI certificate, he received a call from a past instructor about an opportunity to interview at a new flight school he was managing, Elite Aviation at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. With help from senior instructors and management, Hagely quickly gained his footing, and took a lead role in developing training courses and procedures for the school. During his time there, Hagely achieved a CFII and a commercial AMEL certificate. He put instructing on hold for a short while to focus on airline training and earn an ATP.  He then began to work for a regional airline, where he is currently employed. Hagely says he still enjoys instructing part-time, and said that Flight instructing offers a special type of reward he hasn’t found elsewhere in passing knowledge forward, and helping pilots succeed in achieving their goals.

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William E. Dubois, MGI 01/2020-01/2022:

William E. Dubois is a CFI Academy ground instructor for Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) at the company’s KAPA location, where he helps to prepare new CFI candidates for their initial practical test. Dubois serves largely in a “teach the teacher” role, helping future instructors hone their classroom and cockpit education skills during ten-day intensive ground courses. He also travels the country for AOPA’s You Can Fly initiative, teaching Rusty Pilot seminars as one of the organization’s professional presenters.

Dubois, who’s been a FAA Certified Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor since 1984, also holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating, and has a degree in Aviation Technology.

In addition to instructing, Dubois is a prolific aviation writer whose credits include AOPA Pilot, CFI to CFI, EAA Sport Aviation, FAA Safety Briefing, Flight Training, Flying, Redbird Landing, Sun ‘n Fun Today, and The Pulse of Aviation. He pens Questions from the Cockpit, a monthly reader Q&A column for General Aviation News.

On the flying front, Dubois holds both a World and a National speed record; and is active with the Sport Air Racing League (SARL), where he’s a two-time national champion. An aviation history buff who has a fondness for old and antique airplanes, he recently chronicled his adventures re-flying one third of the transcontinental airmail route—using nothing but the 100-year-old written instructions—for Smithsonian Air & Space magazine.

In addition to NAFI, Dubois is a long-time AOPA member, and is a lifetime member of the Ercoupe Owners Club.

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Jennifer WatsonJennifer Watson, MCFI 01/2020-01/2022:

Watson began flying in August 2001 at Chandler Air Service in Arizona and was just about to solo when 9-11 happened. She earned her Private Certificate by December 2001 and headed off to finish her certificates and ratings with Mesa Air’s program in New Mexico. In February 2004, at the age of 23, with an associate’s degree in aviation and 300 hours of flight time, Watson became First Officer flying an 86-seat jet.

After four years at the airlines, when her oldest son was born, she realized it wasn’t her dream to be away from home all the time, so she took a break from flying but missed it every day. In 2011, Watson found a way to have both a flexible schedule and fly as much as she wanted by becoming a CFI. She said what I “didn’t anticipate is how much I would love teaching.”

The current owner of a flight school in San Jose, originally founded by Amelia Reid in 1960, took her under his wing, mentoring this new CFI with no real GA experience. With his support, Watson went on to earn tailwheel, CFII, MEI, ATP, and experience teaching aerobatics. When he decided to retire in 2014, he offered to sell the school. She and her husband, who is an IA mechanic, grown the school to three locations and half the fleet are still tailwheel. In June the school will celebrate 60 years.

As for flying goals, Watson desires to always be a student as well as teacher. In May she earned her Commercial ASES. This month she should complete Commercial Glider, followed later this year by CFI-G.

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Kyle JehnzenKyle Jehnzen, MCFI 03/2017-1/2022:

Jehnzen grew up near Mecosta, Michigan, and says he had an admiration for aviation at a very young age. He chose to attend Western Michigan University to turn admiration for aviation into a career, and began flying in 2007, and earned a private pilot’s license in the spring of 2008. Jehnzen then went on to graduate with cum laude honors in the winter of 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science, majoring in aviation flight science and minoring in geography.

After graduation Jehnzen was hired on as a part-time CFI at WMU and was quickly afforded the opportunity to obtain both a CFII and MEI. After obtaining full-time status in 2014 he was given the option of tuition reimbursement to pursue an MBA with aviation concentration, which he took full advantage of and completed in December of 2016.

Jehnzen now holds a faculty specialist position at WMU and instructs in its fleet of Cirrus and Piper aircraft, providing a wide array of flight training from initial training to end of course commercial pilot 141-stage checks. To date, he has over 1,500 hours of dual given in both aircraft and FTDs.

Along with flight instruction, Jehnzen teaches two sections of aviation meteorology for WMU’s aviation flight science and aviation management majors, as well as one section of the senior capstone class for aviation management students. He also holds ATP privileges for AMEL, commercial privileges for ASEL, and an FAA gold seal instructor with CFII, MEI, and IGI certificates. After having moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2007 Jehnzen decided he really liked the area and has lived there ever since. He lives with his fiancé, Jaclyn, only a few miles from the NAFI office. He said Living in the area led him to the opportunity to work at the NAFI booth at both Sun-n-Fun in 2014 and Oshkosh in 2015 and allowed him to meet many of the people that make this organization a great advocate for flight instruction.

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Aaron Dabney, MCFI 8/2013-12/2021:

This is Dabney’s fourth NAFI Master Accreditation. Dabney owns and operates Waco Flight Training in Waco, Texas.  A full-time flight instructor since 2009, he took the plunge and opened his own company in 2013 with plans to specialize in tailwheel transition training. 

Along the way, he’s grown and adapted his company to meet the growing demand for flight training and now mentors a team of full and part-time instructors who provide training for all single-engine certificates and ratings.  He said he strongly believes in integrating time-tested stick-and-rudder teaching with contemporary thinking about risk mitigation and decision making to produce pilots who are lifelong students of aviation.

Dabney holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration from Baylor University, where he has served since 2010 as an adjunct lecturer in the Aviation Science department.  Dabney and his wife Alisa love to travel and are passionate about their small businesses.

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Jay NaborsJay Nabors, MCFI 12/2019-12/2021:

Nabors has been flying since 1975. He holds a private pilot rotorcraft/helicopter; Commercial ASEL, ATP AMEL certificates and a SIC type rating in a Citation CE500. He has been a flight instructor since 2014 and holds CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and IGI instructor ratings.  He is an FAASTeam representative and has organized several ATC townhalls to connect the general aviation community with ATC controllers. Nabors has served aviation in a variety of roles including aviation flying club board of directors member, mentoring to newly minted CFIs, and conducted Children’s Flight of Hope and Pilot’s and Paws flights.  He is an FAA designated pilot examiner with over 200 checkrides conducted in the last year. He holds examining authority for private, commercial and instrument ASEL as well as flight instructor initial, renewal and reinstatement ASEL.  His other flying passions include corporate flying in a Diamond DA-42 and DA-62, Pilatus PC-12, Kingair 250 and a Citation V.



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Ron TimmermansRon Timmermans, MCFI/MGI 11/2019-11/2021:

This is Timmermans’ second Master Flight as well as his second Master Ground Instructor Accreditation.

Timmermans earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 1972 and went on to add Commercial, Instrument, CFI/MEI, ATP, and Remote Pilot to his credentials.

Shortly after he became a CFI-IA/MEI-IA, he began working with the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program providing ground and flight instruction to owners of Beech Bonanzas and Barons. He also began a part-time independent flight instruction practice in the North Texas area. Now established in central Florida, Timmermans has a sizable following of Beechcraft clients who seek his professional ground and flight training services for recurrent training, transition to high-performance aircraft, instrument training and IPCs, multiengine and other specialized training.

Selected by AOPA to become one of a select group of professional ground instructors for the AOPA Rusty Pilots program, Timmermans is now making presentations around the United States as an ambassador to encourage and re-train inactive pilots in an attempt to help them experience the thrill of flying once again. Timmermans continues his aviation education and self-development through online and in person training opportunities like the NAFI Professional Development Center. He has earned FAA WINGS validation at the Basic, Advanced, and Masters levels on multiple occasions. He is a FAASTeam Lead Representative and frequently makes presentations at WINGS seminars.

In his pro bono work for the Florida Aviation Network, he has helped disseminate the knowledge and experience of his fellow aviation professionals through YouTube and other channels. Over the years at Sun ‘n Fun, Timmermans has conducted many live interviews, more than 20 in 2019 alone. He has interviewed NAFI Board Chairman Bob Meder several times.

Timmermans has also hosted several NAFI MentorLIVE broadcasts.  Timmermans is a dedicated leader in the WINGS Industry Advisory Committee—a coalition of NAFI and other industry members as well as FAA personnel dedicated to improving the WINGS program and encouraging more pilots and CFIs to earn a phase of WINGS and improve aviation safety.

Timmermans was selected as the 2017 CFI of the Year for the Orlando, Florida FAA Flight Standards District Office and also for the FAA Southern Region. In addition, he was the recipient of the first Larry D. Enlow Award for his contributions to aviation safety and training in the Orlando FSDO.

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John "Mike" Hardin, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Hardin grew up spending time at Terrell Texas Municipal Airport (KTRL). He says his earliest memory of aviation was flying with his dad at the age of 6. He started flight training at 13 in 1999, and earned his Instrument, Commercial, and CFI in 2008 while working at his family FBO, Terrell Aviation. He then earned his MEI in 2010, and started his own flight school; Mike’s Flying Service a year later, specializing in accelerated Multi Engine training in a Piper Apache. In 2012, Hardin earned his CFII and in 2014 obtained A&P certification.

In 2018, he celebrated hitting 10,000 hours by getting his seaplane ratings in a Piper Super Cruiser and a Grumman Widgeon. With over 11,000 hours and 6,000 dual given, Hardin has flown over 60 types of aircraft, and has served as the Region 11 director of the Ercoupe owners club since 2013. He has ferried planes, flown pipeline aerial patrol all over the country in Cessna Cardinals, and flown for local clients but says most of his time is spent instructing in everything from Ercoupes to King Airs.

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Mark Overman, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Overman is serving in the U.S. Air Force as an Instructor Mission Crew Commander on the E-3 AWACS, where he has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve. As an adjunct instructor, Overman teaches collegiate courses in CRM and aircraft performance. Working as a freelance flight instructor in the Oklahoma City area, Overman says he “finds instructing in general aviation incredibly rewarding and truly enjoys it.” He serves in the Civil Air Patrol as assistant Wing Standards and Evaluation Officer, Check Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Glider Orientation Pilot, Tow Pilot and Mission Pilot.  Every summer Overman volunteers as an instructor pilot in the CAP Southwest Region Powered Flight Academy.  He is also a FAASTeam Representative with the Will Rogers FSDO.  In his spare time he enjoy spending time with his wife, son, two dogs and even the cat!

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Dr. Peter Dittmer, MCFI 10/1998-10/2002, 05/2014-11/2021:

This is Dittmer’s fifth NAFI Master CFI Accreditation. Dittmer works at Central Washington University as the “Chair” of a very busy CFR 141 flight department.  He says he has always enjoyed flight training, and particularly enjoys working with students in their journey to become professional aviators.  Dittmer is developing research on assessment modeling for private pilot students in CFR 141 programs.  A CFI for over 30 years, he has a CFI, CFII, MEI, “Gold Seal” ATP, and Ed.D.

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Eric Hineman, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Hineman started his initial flight training in Iowa at the age of 17 and went for his Private Pilot Certificate on September 11, 2001. After completion of his Private Certificate, Hineman Enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and started his aircraft maintenance career on the B-1B in Rapid City, SD.  While in maintenance, his passion for aviation blossomed and he went on to earn his initial CFI rating in 2005 and subsequently earned his CFII, MEI, and CFI-G as well.  Simultaneously, he went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (World Wide) to complete his Bachelors Degree in Professional Aeronautics and subsequently earned his Commission in the Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer.

Hineman has instructed in many parts of the United States. and says he enjoys all aspects of aviation.  He continues to serve in the U.S. Air Force in aircraft maintenance while flight instructing part time.  In addition to his flight ratings, he is also an A&P, and says he enjoys working on and maintaining airplanes.  Hineman is also a member of EAA and enjoys giving Young Eagle flights in addition to being a Civil Air Patrol member who actively participates in National Flight Academy activities as well as being a Check Pilot. He says one of his favorite part about being in aviation is helping others reach their aviation goals.

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Mark Cook, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Cook says he knew he wanted to be a pilot since high school and his first airplane ride in Boeing 707.  After obtaining his private pilot certificate becoming an airport rat, Larry Diffley, the owner of Bemidji Aviation Services, Inc. encouraged Cook to obtaining his commercial rating and switch careers and go to work for him.

Cook started his professional pilot career as night “freight dog” flying Beech Queen Airs.  He sought his initial CFI because Cook he the ability to provide flight instruction to his friends.  Cook is currently working as contract pilot for three construction companies and as an independent flight instructor.  He has remained an active CFI who has a special fondness for tail wheel, skis and float plane instruction.

While working at Bemidji Aviation Cook developed a Part 61 flight training program that continues successfully today.  As a Minneapolis FSDO FAA Safety Team Representative, Cook has hosted and presented aviation safety seminars throughout northern Minnesota, on topics ranging from winter operations to airplane performance.  The highlight of his instructional career was signing the endorsements for his wife Dawn's initial CFI ride (she passed).

He currently holds Commercial, Multi-Engine, Instrument as well as CFI-CFII-IGI and is commercial drone operator.  Cook has flown over 7400 hours with 1800 hours of instruction given, and flown over 50 different types of airplanes.  He enjoys flying his Champion 7GCB on his free days.


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Goetz MCFISteven Goetz, MCFI 8/2011-10/2021:

This is Goetz’s fifth NAFI Master Accreditation. Goetz says he has been interested in flying since he was a kid. In his decade as a CFI, he’s earned an ATP, Remote Pilot – SUAS, gold seal CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI, and A&P. In 2008, he began flight instructing for Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), where he is currently an Assistant Professor and Assistant Chief Flight Instructor under their Part 141 certificate providing both flight training and student evaluation for the university. In addition to his work for SIUC, Goetz is a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) as well as a FAA Safety Team Representative. Goetz also serves with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as a check pilot, mission pilot, and deputy commander for his local unit.


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Sarah RovnerSarah Rovner, MCFI 9/2017-9/2021:

This is Rovner’s second NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Rovner is currently a FAA Safety Team Lead Representative and 757/767 pilot for a major U.S. airline. She holds an ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI and has flown over 5300 hours with 1500 hours of instruction given. Rovner has flown over 124 different types of airplanes in 15 different countries including oceanic crossings in small aircraft.

She is the owner and chief pilot of FullThrottle Aviation; which was launched in 2013 as a small flight school and grew to an international business with over 20 pilots moving airplanes around the world today. She continues to stay involved in general aviation through her leadership roles and volunteering for different aviation organizations. Although much of her flying is now in jetliners, she enjoys flying and instructing in her Super Cub, Patches, on her days off. As a regular fly-in attendee of Oshkosh, she says she enjoys the company and camaraderie that General Aviation brings.

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Jerrold Seckler, MGI 8/2015-10/2021:

This is Seckler’s third consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Seckler has been flying for 53 years.  During that time he has amassed over 7,000 hours in a variety of General Aviation aircraft. Seckler holds an ATP certificate as well as CFII, AGI and IGI certificates.

Seckler is a former Board Member of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association and currently serves as the Dean of the College of Flight Operations of COPA University, the training and education arm of that organization. He regularly teaches at the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Programs and presents classes on aviation weather, preflight briefings, instrument procedures, regulations, and aeronautical decision-making.

He has also flown over 100 flights for Angel Flight Central and serves on AFC’s Safety Committee.

Two years ago he was honored to receive the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying.

In a previous life Seckler was a surgeon specializing in urology, as well as a FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. Seckler owns a 2001 Cirrus SR22, which he has flown for over 3,000 hours.

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Christopher Rothe, MCFI 9/2019-9/2021:

Rothe started flying gliders with the Civil Air Patrol, earning his glider instructor rating at 16. A graduate of Metro State University in Denver, he joined the Air Force Reserve as a C-130 Aircraft Commander and instructor at Peterson AFB, transferring to the academy in 2014 as a soaring instructor. He currently flies Airbus A-319/320s for a major airline, and is a USAF Reserve evaluator and instructor for the Air Force Academy soaring-racing team.


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John "Mike" Kehoe, MCFI 6/2015-8/2021:

This is Kehoe’s third consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Kehoe has held the CFI designation for almost 35 years. He currently holds Commercial, Multi-Engine, Instrument as well as CFI-CFII-MEI-AGI-AGII. He has been a Senior Instructor, Chief Flight Instructor and Director of Aviation, Stage Check Airman & End of Course Check Ride Examiner for Part 141 schools.
Kehoe says one of the most satisfying moments in aviation is watching a student’s “first solo flight.” A close second would be your student passing a checkride the first time.

Kehoe served in Vietnam with F Company, 51st Infantry (LRRP) as well as the 82nd AB. He has four children and four grandchildren. He still enjoys flight instructing and he has also taught sky-diving, scuba diving and snow skiing.

When asked to sum up life as a professional flight instructor, Kehoe said: “What a great career, being a flight instructor, where else can you experience the thrill and joy of “first time experiences” over and over again.”

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Wallace Moran, MCFI 6/2001-8/2021:

This is Moran’s tenth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Moran was recently honored as the 2017 Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductee, and as a 2013 recipient of NAFI’s Jack J. Eggspuehler Service Award, among other accolades.

Moran started his aviation career as a General Aviation flight instructor and later worked in the airline industry as a pilot and training instructor. He was an FAA check airman on many airline aircraft, including the Boeing 747, which he flew for 12 years, and the Boeing 767. He also spent many years in airline management as training supervisor, chief pilot and VP of safety and engineering. He has also been active in general aviation as an airplane owner and flight instructor and has given more than 4,000 hours of flight instruction in GA airplanes and gliders.

He is currently working as an FAA designated pilot examiner, independent flight instructor and FAA FAASTeam member. Wallace lives in Summerville, South Carolina.

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Michael L. Kloch, MCFI 6/2017-9/2021:

This is Kloch’s second NAFI Master Accreditation. Kloch said he knew he wanted to be a pilot before he ever flew. He learned to fly at U.S. Navy  flight school and became a Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot. He served a combat tour flying over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch. Kloch later attended the Aviation Safety Officer’s course at the Naval Postgraduate School and served as a safety officer and F/A-18 standardization officer for all Marine Corps reserve F/A-18 squadrons.

After the Marine Corps Kloch attended Central Oregon Community College (COCC) in Bend, Oregon to earn his CFI, CFII and MEI ratings as well as Commercial and Instrument helicopter ratings along with night vision goggle (NVG) qualification. He worked as a full-time CFI for Leading Edge Aviation (LEA) and eventually became the Chief Airplane Flight instructor. He also became a part-time instructor at COCC teaching Technically Advanced Aircraft and Airport Management classes.

Kloch went on to develop an Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) program as the Chief Instructor Pilot for Advanced Flight Dynamics (AFD) of Redmond, Oregon, which became the UPRT provider for COCC. At AFD he taught UPRT, aerobatics and tailwheel in the Super Decathlon. Kloch also taught in AFD’s Fouga Magisters, a first-generation military jet trainer. He also has worked as a contract pilot for Elite Pilot Services, flying Evolution airplanes. Kloch also flew a Fouga Magister in the Airshow of the Cascades for the past two years.

After a brief time working as an EMS pilot in the C90 King Air, Kloch went to work At Epic Aircraft in 2017 as a factory test pilot and instructor. He is part of Epic’s E1000 flight test team working on FAA certification as well as instructing current Epic LT aircraft owners.
When not working as a test pilot Kloch stays busy conducting spin endorsement training at LEA with a specialized course he designed and he also teaches independently.

Kloch 's education includes a BS in Exercise and Sports Science from Oregon State University and two AAS degrees in aviation from COCC. He also enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, shooting, boating and generally anything outdoors. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do that he earned while stationed in Iraq.

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Ed Pataky, MCFI 6/2017-7/2021:

Ed Pataky says he has been interested in aviation since he was a kid. He began flying in 1968, soloing on his 16th birthday in 1972 and earning his private certificate a year later.  Pataky obtained his basic and advanced ground instructor certificates in 1975 and taught for several years in that capacity. He returned to actively flying in 2002, earning his seaplane rating and instrument ground Instructor certificate in 2003. His instrument rating and commercial and glider ratings soon followed.  In 2006, he earned an aircraft dispatcher certificate, and served as a dispatcher at Express Jet airlines for over five years.  Pataky has been an active flight instructor since 2006, and has over 1200 hours in that capacity.  He hopes to continue to expand his role as an instructor and earn additional instructor ratings in the near future.

Pataky's education consists of two bachelor degrees from the University of Houston, in geography and economics, a master of science degree from Texas A&M, and master degree from the University of Houston in International Relations, as well as an MBA. He has worked a full spectrum of jobs, including 25 years as a broadcast engineer and on-air personality in the Houston market, along with several potions totaling over 10 years with Continental Airlines' operations, and as an aircraft dispatcher again.  He teaches political science and economics at Lone Star College, where he has worked for over 30 years. Over the past 4 years, Pataky has formulated and taught ground school classes at several airports and flight schools.

He has owned a 1977 Cessna 150 “M” model since 2004.

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Matthew P.R. McDaniel, MCFI 7/2003-7/2021:

This is McDaniel’s ninth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.
McDaniel has been an active CFI for 27 years and has specialized in Cirrus and other Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) instruction for the past 18 years. In that capacity, he is a Platinum Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP). He also enjoys teaching in antique taildraggers, such as the Globe/Temco Swift, has flown nearly 100 aircraft types, and holds eight turbine aircraft type ratings. As a freelance aviation author, McDaniel has published over 100 articles in a dozen aviation magazines and online. He currently flies as an Airbus A-320-Series captain for a major U.S. airline. As the founder and owner of Progressive Aviation Services, LLC, he operates out of his home area of Milwaukee, WI, where he lives with his wife and two children.

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Tarike Delisser, MCFI 06/2019-06/2021:

Delisser is from the Caribbean island of Jamaica, and says that as a young boy visiting the Normal Manley International Airport in Kingston seeing local pilots around planes inspired him to want to fly. Delisser has traveled and lived in many countries. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the University of the West Indies and shortly afterward decided to pursue a professional pilot's training course in Canada where he obtained his commercial certificate.

After moving to the United States, Delisser achieved his Gold Seal Flight Instructor rating and CFI, CFII, MEI , IGI, AGI, ATP. In addition to instructing Delisser flies as an airline pilot at regional airline, is a captain in the Civil Air Patrol, and volunteers with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) where he conducts aerospace education and works to inspire disadvantaged youth to pursue flight. Click to Download Tarike's Press Release!


Dan Meyer, MCFI 03/2019-03/2021:

Meyer was born in 1965 and raised in Granger, Iowa and is the youngest of 9 children. He attended Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines and received a basketball scholarship at Simpson College. He says he always had a burning desire to fly. He dropped out of college at age 19 in 1985 and joined the U.S. Army as a Warrant Officer Candidate to attend the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Aviation Course in Ft. Rucker, AL. Meyer became a WO1 and began to fly the UH1H, flying medevac missions in the United States with a short stint in Honduras.

Meyer says he quickly realized he loved all things about aviation and worked to obtain all the fixed wing ratings from private to MEI while working to finish a bachelor’s degree. HE began his CFI career at Haps Air Service in Ames, Iowa and quickly moved up to the Charter Department flying a very diverse collection of airplanes. Meyer also flew night freight in Cessna twins and Corporate King Airs. He accepted a job with Rocky Mountain Airways in Denver to fly BE1900s and ATR 42s. In early 1992, he accepted a job as a flight engineer on the B727 at American Airlines at the age of 26. At American Meyer flew the B727, MD80, F100, MD11, B757, B767, B777 and finally his current duty, the B787 from Amrican's hub in LAX to points across the Pacific Ocean. Meyer also flies part time for Billings Flying Service as a helicopter and airplane Instructor.

Meyer was U.S. Forest Service carded and type-rated in the Bell 205 and Sikorsky 61 and has served on fire fighting missions throughout the western states when needed. He has remained a current and very active CFI who enjoys meeting and flying with pilots young and old. Meyer lives in Billings, Montana with his wife of 25 years and his four children.

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Benjamin Porch, MCFI 04/2019-04/2021:


Porch says he has been fascinated by aviation and airplanes since he was young. Upon graduating high school, he attended LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, completing a degree in aviation with a concentration in mission aviation. Porch has instructed in Texas and Minnesota across a range of types including single-engine, multi-engine, tailwheel, high performance, and technically advanced aircraft. He is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot, FAA Gold Seal Instructor, and has over 3,000 hours, with over 2,500 hours of flight instruction given.
In addition to a relaxed and joyful approach to being a flight instructor, Porch is a certificated airframe & powerplant aircraft mechanic who enjoys working on aircraft as well.

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David Yost, MCFI 03/2017-03/2021:

This is Yost’s second NAFI Master Accreditation.

Yost as always been an active volunteer in one organization or another, and shortly after receiving his Private Pilot certificate, he joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He received his  initial CFI 31/2 years later and became a CAP flight instructor, and later a CAP check pilot. Yost flies almost exclusively through the Civil Air Patrol, and serves as a mission pilot, instructor pilot, orientation pilot, and check pilot examiner. He has endorsed three students for the Private Pilot certificate and one for the Instrument Rating – all successful on their first attempt. In addition to the CAP, Yost serves the Minneapolis FSDO as a FAA Safety Team representative, and has given numerous flight safety briefings and presentations in various venues. Yost is also looking forward to adding a glider rating to his commercial certificate this summer.

Outside of flying, he works in the computer IT industry for a major computer manufacturer. He is married to Shawn, his wife of 39 years. They have two sons and a three-year-old granddaughter. In his "spare time," Yost enjoys the occasional round of golf. Fortunately, he says, he flies better than he plays golf!

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Domenic Lafauci, Associate MCFI 02/2017-02/2021:

This is Lafauci's second consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

On his 20th birthday, LaFauci fulfilled a childhood dream and took to the skies for the first time. The seemingly innocuous discovery flight changed everything; he was hooked. In a matter of months, he found himself driving an over-packed Jeep from Massachusetts to Daytona Beach, Florida; home of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. It was there, that LaFauci would earn a Commercial Pilot certificate, an Aircraft Dispatcher certificate and his AGI and IGI ratings.

While at ERAU, LaFauci purchased an unfinished Bede BD-5 from a local EAA Chapter. He housed it in his living room, which was not easy to explain to his newlywed wife. However, with her help, he was able to convince the school's legal board to take the aircraft on as an educational endeavor for the benefit of the students. This project would eventually lead him to rub elbows with NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott, as well as some of the top mechanics in the country. He used this project as a way to get students involved with airplane design. Students from the pilot, aerospace engineering and mechanics disciplines all participated in building the BD-5.

Post-graduation, LaFauci instructed for Bridgewater State University's Part 141 Aviation Science Program. He worked his way up to the position of Staff Assistant for Records and Compliance. LaFauci managed the university's aviation outreach programs and hosted BSU flight program annual open house, career expo, and FAASTeam safety events. LaFauci also served as advisor of the Bridgewater State University Aviation Flight Team and lead the team into the NIFA Safecon 2018 National Competition.

During this time, LaFauci earned his Instrument and Multi-engine Instructor certificates and worked part-time at East Coast Aero Club, where he says he satisfies his passion for vintage tailwheel, multi-engine, and high-performance airplane instruction. 

LaFauci is pursuing a masters degree in education and is scheduled to graduate in May of 2019. He recently begun working with Wiggins Airways as a PIC on the Beechcraft BE-99, and continues to educate others through his website He says he hopes to someday teach out of turbine-driven aerobatic aircraft.

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Gary Reeves, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Reeves has over 7,500 hours in over 50 different aircraft including turbo-prop, and turbo-fan most of which is instruction given. In the last two years, he’s taught in over 30 states and is a popular public speaker on aviation safety. Reeves says his goal is to reduce General Aviation accidents through free FAA Safety Classes, video training, and articles. He is chief safety officer and owner of and chief flight instructor and owner of Master Flight Training. He was awarded 2016 FAA Instructor of the year for the Western Pacific Region, as well as 2014 Flight Instructor and FAA Safety Team Member of the Year Long Beach District. To learn more about Gary please visit


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Gabriel Johnson, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Johnson hails from a small town called Ejigbo in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to flying, he attended the University of Lagos, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. After graduation, Johnson became a web designer, but had always dreampt of becoming a professional pilot. He moved to the United States to commence flight training in a Cessna 172 in 2011.  Johnson has since earned a bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance science at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. He has also earned his CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI, ATP and mechanic licenses. Johnson has worked in the flight training industry for over 5 years and is currently a flight instructor at ERAU, Daytona Beach.

Johnson has a passion for both flight and aviation safety. He is currently a team safety leader at the ERAU flight department. From investigating ASAP reports to delivering safety related presentations, he strives to promote aviation safety at every opportunity. Johnson also works with the OBAP ACE academy to promote aviation to high school students who dream of becoming pilots.

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Gene Peterson, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Peterson became a CFI, CFII and MEI in 1974.  In 1977 he went to work for Braniff Airways. He moved to Northwest Airlines in 1982, and went along when it merged with Delta in 2006.  All the while he kept on teaching.  Some days it would be in a Cessna 172 and the next day checking out a new pilot on the 747.  In his 35,000 hours total time, Peterson has flown anything from the Ercoupe to F-16s and 747s. When asked to comment on 45 years of teaching Peterson said, "Each airplane is a little bit different, but the fundamentals of flying never change.  It's the fundamentals that will always bring you home safe. Always try and instill that in your students."

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James "Steve" Rutland, MCFI 9/2000-1/2021:

This is Rutland’s 10th consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Rutland is a professional pilot and flight instructor with 45 years of aviation experience beginning in 1973 in Murray, Kentucky. He completed his first FAA flight instructor certificate in 1978 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  He attended U.S. Army flight training in 1975 and is a Master Army Aviator. He is also a U.S. Coast Guard Aviator, having served as a search and rescue pilot for the Guard.  Rutland has 37 years experience as a government civilian flight instructor for the U.S. Army Aviation School of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alabama.  He holds three Airline Transport Pilot ratings (ASEL, AMEL, Helicopter), five FAA flight instructor ratings (CFI -ASEL, AMEL, Helicopter, CFII - Airplane and Helicopter), two type ratings, and is a graduate of 10 different military instructor pilot courses.  He has flown 20,600 accident-free flight hours in 11 different helicopters and 13 different airplanes.  He has given 17,000 hours of dual instruction in flight with thousands more in flight simulators. While working part-time with Title 14 CFR 141 and 61 flight schools he has trained airplane single and multiengine land student pilots for the Private, Commercial, Instrument, Airline Transport Pilot, and Flight Instructor certificates.  He is a Gold Seal flight instructor and FAASTeam representative for the Birmingham FSDO.  He was selected for the FAA Flight Instructor of the Year for Alabama and NW Florida in 2001, 2002, and 2014.

As a civilian flight instructor at Fort Rucker, he has trained military officers from every branch of the U.S. armed forces and every rank from warrant officer candidate to colonel. At the Army Aviation School he has provided ground and flight training in a broad range of programs of flight instruction including; primary, instruments, combat skills, aero scout, night vision goggles, advanced aircraft qualification, and the UH60 Instructor Pilot Course.   He has served as an UH60 Standardization Instructor Pilot/Instrument Flight Examiner to provide continuity and mentor newly assigned instructor pilots. He was selected as the Department of the Army Civilian of the Year by the Aviation Center Chapter of the Army Aviation Association of America, and revived the Superior Civilian Service Award from the Department of the Army.

Rutland has been employed by the Safety Research Corporation of America to edit the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook and has taught as an adjunct instructor for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  He completed his master’s degree from Embry Riddle in aeronautical science in 1988.  In 2014 he was selected for the Alumni Achievement Award from Embry Riddle for an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the aviation and aerospace industry through their personal and professional success.

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Maureen Garrow, MCFI 02/2017-02/2021:

Garrow began her flight training and received her private pilot certification as a Christmas gift in 1995. Since flying is her passion, she continued her training to earn her instrument, and commercial ratings shortly afterward at United Flight Systems.

Garrow achieved her CFI rating on her 66th birthday in 2014 and her CFII followed shortly. She says her love of teaching combined with flying provides a great deal of satisfaction, especially for the “a-ha” moments when students achieve understanding. She was affiliated with a flight school and served as assistant chief instructor until August of 2016. Garrow is now an independent flight instructor and has been a FAASTeam representative since 2014. She was awarded her FAA Gold Seal instructor in July of 2016.

If you ask Garrow she’ll say, “Any day I can fly is a good day and any day teaching is a great day.” Garrow enjoys attending Wings meeting and promoting pilot and student participation. Her goal as a flight instructor is to produce safe, professional pilots. "I hope to continue instructing and being a mentor for years to come," she said.

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Richard Whittemore, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Whittemore is from Chattanooga, TN. He says he fell in love with aviation at the age of 14. He worked two jobs in landscaping and as a construction hand in order to pay for flight training as a 16-year-old student. At the same time, he also began studying aviation at the local community college. Later that year he soloed and, just a year after beginning flight training, earned his private pilot certificate at the age of 17.

Whittemore eventually completed a degree in aviation management and began managing the small airport/FBO and flight school where he learned to fly. While there, Whittemore completed advanced flight training and began instructing for the school. He then began flying a Beechcraft Baron for a corporation.

Whittemore holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with Airplane Single and Multi Engine Land and Commercial privileges for Airplane Single Engine Sea and Helicopter. He also holds a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate for Airplane Single and Multi Engine and Instrument - Airplane as well as Rotorcraft-Helicopter. He is also an Instrument Ground Instructor and Commercial Drone Operator. He currently holds SIC type ratings for the Beechcraft PremierJet and the Cessna Citation XLS+. He is also the current FAA Safety Team (FAAST) representative with the San Antonio FSDO for the Laredo area. He is co-owner/manager/chief flight instructor for the only dual rated flight school in south Texas and owns/operates an aviation business that provides professional aircraft management and services. All of this is in addition to his full-time job as a Helicopter and Airplane pilot for a Part 91 operator.

Whittemore’s says his goal is to "continue his personal aviation education and pass that on to aspiring and current pilots in order to promote a safer environment in the industry."

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Jeremy Hand, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Hand grew up along the final approach corridor for Phoenix Sky Harbor watching airliners fly over his house. He enrolled in ASU’s Aviation Management Technology Bachelor’s Degree program in the fall of 2001, chasing a childhood dream of being an airline pilot.  Hand attained his Private Pilot certificate in 2002 and proceeded to log his first couple hundred hours over the course of about two years.

Due to a downturn in the industry after 2001 Hand began a decade in various lines of work, but his passion for flying never disappeared, and he re-entered the field. He then worked to achieve his instrument, multi, and commercial training with ATP Flight School’s Airline Career Pilot Program.  His CFI, CFII, and MEI ratings soon followed. He has been instructing for ATP ever since, helping to train students from zero time all the way through commercial and CFI certificates.  Hand is now quickly approaching his 1,000th hour of dual given and says he “loves every minute of it!”

For the last year he has been a lead instructor at ATP and conducts many of the stage checks and mock check rides for students as they progress through their training syllabus.  During that time, he added AGI and IGI ratings, as well as attaining FAA Gold Seal instructor status.  In his spare time, he also pursues volunteer work with Angel Flight and the Boy Scouts of America.

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