Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Award Program

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Click here for the Hall of Fame nomination form

Congratulations 2022 Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductees Catherine Cavagnaro and Ron Timmermans! Induction will take place at EAA AirVenture 2022 (More Details Coming)

Read more and download press release.

Catherine Cavagnaro2022 Catherine Cavagnaro:

Catherine Cavagnaro was already a PhD mathematician when she learned to fly at the Sewanee- Franklin County Airport. As luck would have it, that was where her mentor William K. (“Bill”) Kershner operated an aerobatic school. He inspired her to apply her interests and abilities in mathematics to aviation. Immediately after she earned her private pilot certificate, she studied aerobatics with and assisted Bill with the mathematics and aerodynamics for his flight manuals. Soon after earning her flight instructor certificate, she began teaching aerobatics will Bill and continued to do so for the last few years of his life.

Catherine worked the Aviation Systems group at the University of Tennessee Space Institute on the icing project where the team set up a variable-stability Navion to share the same stability characteristics as an airplane covered in ice. She served there as a test pilot for that program and a spin demonstration pilot for courses on stability and control.

Catherine has published in both aviation and mathematics periodicals. She writes the “Flying Smart” column for AOPA Pilot Magazine and, in doing so, reaches many thousands of aviators each month. Catherine takes the opportunity to share her technical knowledge and safety message as a regular on Max Trescott’s Aviation News Talk podcast. She also works as an expert on Pilot Workshops on their VFR and IFR scenarios as well as their airmanship courses. Catherine is also a designated examiner with the Nashville FSDO.

Catherine serves as lead rep and DPE for the Nashville FSDO. She is an ATP-SEL, COM-MEL, COM-SES and glider. She holds CFI,SEL/MEL and Instrument ratings. Catherine is Professor of Mathematics and was Chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of the South. She developed courses in aerodynamics, differential equations, and mathematical modeling using aviation examples.

Catherine owns the Ace Aerobatic School in Sewanee, TN, where she is a widely known expert on spin training, recovery, and avoidance. During 2004-2008, She served as a test pilot, spin demonstration pilot, researcher, and visiting professor of aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Catherine is the first woman to achieve both the 2018 National FAASTeam Rep of the year and the 2020 National CFI of the year.

Ron Timmermans2022 Ron Timmermans:

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.


What is the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame (HOF)? Its purpose is to recognizes those individuals who have made significant  contributions to aviation education and flight instruction while reflecting credit upon themselves and their profession. It highlights the important role flight instructors play as a foundation for the safety of the entire national air transportation system. Each year (with limited exceptions), one or more inductees are selected and honored.

View complete historical list of inductees

NAFI sponsors and administers the HOF: NAFI recruits applicant inductees each year, organizes the independent judging panel, administers the results of the judging selection, covers costs of administering the award, and provides the venue for the induction ceremony each year the award takes place.

Selection Process:

HOF nomination packets will be accepted in NAFI's executive office any time. Upon receipt, each packet is checked for required components, credentials are verified and references will be contacted. The selection committee will review all eligible packets and a decision will be made. The inductee will be named and publicly announced and a formal award presentation will take place. All eligible candidates not selected will remain in a pool for consideration the following year. NAFI DOES NOT TAKE PART IN JUDGING, ONLY OVERSEES THE PROCESS.

Inductee Eligibility:

  • Flight Instructor Hall of Fame nominees must have worked in the field of aviation education under 14 CFR parts 61, 121, 141 or 142 for a minimum of twenty (20) years prior to nomination and have been considered to have provided active flight instruction for at least 10 years (i.e. flight instruction in ANY category of aircraft or FAA approved training device/simulator)

  • Nominees must have held a valid FAA flight instructor certificate during that time.

  • Nominees may have worked as flight instructors, pilot examiners, technical support developers, instructional innovators, academicians, publication, and/or textbook authors.

  • Nominees must be of good moral character [i.e., FAR 61.153(c)] and must be respected within the aviation industry for their integrity, professionalism, and diligence.

  • Prior suspension or revocation of any airman certificate or assessment of a civil penalty for pilot or flight violations may disqualify the nominee.

  • Accident history will be considered and may be disqualifying.

  • Special provisions and accommodations will be made for posthumous nominations and awards.

Selection Criteria:

Candidates will be judged on their contributions to aviation and their sustained accomplishments towards  aviation education. For example:

  • Enhancement of aviation safety
  • Development of effective / innovative teaching techniques
  • Advancement of professional standards
  • Development of significant technical support
  • Achievement of professional excellence
  • Creation of innovative instructional materials
  • Partnership on projects with the FAA and/or industry
  • Being a role model for and a mentor to other aviation educators.

Selection Process and Inductee Notification:

  • Applications will be accepted between January 1st and April 30th for in year consideration. Submissions can be made via email to [email protected] Attn: John Niehaus, Chief Administrator
  • Nomination submissions will receive confirmation of receipt by NAFI.
  • Beginning May 1st, NAFI will review each application for completeness and eligibility. Applications will then be sent to the judging panel to be rated confidentially.
  • The NAFI HOF Administrator will compile the results and identify inductees by June 1st.
  • By June 10th, the inductee(s) will be personally notified by NAFI’s Chairman and HOF Administrator.

Hall of Fame Presentation:

  • Inductees will be expected to provide biographical information and appropriate multimedia for the presentation.

  • NAFI will cover the cost of travel accommodations to the presentation venue.

  • If an inductee is unable to attend the ceremony, NAFI will make arrangements to present the inductee with the recognition and traveling trophy.

  • NAFI will present each inductee with a recognition trophy and the Hall of Fame traveling trophy to remain in their possession for the duration of the year, or a fraction of the year if there is more than one inductee.

  • HOF Induction will be made in a prominent public presentation hosted by NAFI.

View complete historical list of inductees

Someone you want to nominate? Click here for the Hall of Fame nomination form
Please send any questions regarding the HOF nomination process to [email protected].

Meet the Selection Committee:

Greg Brown is a retired US Marine Corps aviator who flew Sikorsky CH-53D and CH-53E helicopters and was an instructor pilot for both. Greg is the director of Education and Training Services at Helicopter Association International, where he creates continuing education resources for members and other aviation professionals. A pilot for over 35 years, Greg holds FAA commercial SEL and rotorcraft helicopter certificates, as well as a CFII rotorcraft helicopter rating and a remote pilot certificate. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner) and has a master’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

 Col. Juile Tizard U.S. Air Force (retired), has been a professional pilot for over 40 years. She was one of the earliest women to graduate from Air Force pilot training and she served in several leadership positions in her 25 years of active duty and Air Force Reserve service. She was an Instructor Pilot flying the T-37 primary jet trainer, Flight Commander, and Chief, Pilot Upgrade. She then flew the KC-10 air refueling tanker as an Aircraft Commander, Flight Commander, and Chief, KC-10 Flight Safety. In the Air Force Reserve, she was a Director, Contingency Operations at Headquarters, Air Mobility Command. She was the founding commander of the 96th Flying Training Squadron where she supervised 110 instructor pilots flying the T-37, T-38, and T-1 training aircraft. She recently retired from flying as a Captain at a major airline flying the Airbus 320. She has also flown the DC-10, Boeing 737, 757, 767 and was an instructor pilot and Line Check Airman on the Boeing 737 fleet for over nine years.

Thomas P. Turner holds an ATP certificate with flight instructor, CFII and MEI ratings and a Masters Degree in Aviation Safety. A 2015 Flight Instructor Hall of Fame inductee, Tom was the 2010 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year and 2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year. He has been Lead Instructor for Bonanza pilot training program at the Beechcraft factory; production test pilot for engine modifications; aviation insurance underwriter; corporate pilot and safety expert; Captain in the United States Air Force; and contract course developer for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  He now directs the education and the safety arm of a 10,000+ member American Bonanza Society and writes FLYING LESSONS Weekly at his www.mastery-flight-training.com.  With over 4800 hours logged, including more than 2900 as an instructor, Tom writes, lectures and instructs extensively from his home at THE AIR CAPITAL--Wichita, Kansas.

Brittney Tough is a passionate advocate for general aviation and the future of flight. She currently works for CloudAhoy, a company that builds flight debriefing products for pilots, as head of marketing and training. Previously, she was employed by Kitty Hawk of Mountain View, California, as chief pilot/training and safety manager working daily to develop the world's first eVTOL (electrical vertical takeoff and lift) service. Before moving to Austin,Texas, in 2015 to join Redbird Flight Simulations, Brittney held several positions within AOPA spanning nearly eight years.

She graduated with honors from the University of Illinois with a degree in aviation human factors. Brittney is a CFI and holds commercial pilot and remote pilot certificates.

Barry Schiff holds 13 type ratings, 7 flight instructor ratings, and every category and class rating except airship. He is a retired TWA captain and his 28,000 hours have been accrued in 363 different types of aircraft. He has been an FAA-designated check airman on the Boeing 767 as well as in general aviation.

He has written more than 1,800 magazine articles—most notably in AOPA Pilot. These plus his 13 books have earned him 11 journalism awards. In addition to holding 5 world aviation speed records, Barry is the recipient of a Congressional Commendation, the Louis Bleriot Air Medal, Switzerland’s gold Proficiency Medal, and an honorary doctorate in aeronautical science. He also has been inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation.