Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors (H-N by Last Name)

Master Logos


John "Mike" Hardin, MCFI 11/2019-12/2023:

This is Hardin’s second consecutive NAFI Master Accreditation. 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’s FBO, Terrell Aviation. He 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 with Inspection Authorization, and his Gold Seal CFI.

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 in Cessna Cardinals, and flown for local clients, but says most of his time is spent instructing in everything from Ercoupes to King Airs.

Click to Download Mike's Press Release!

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.

Click to Download Abigail's Press Release!

Gabrial Johnson NAFI MCFIGabriel Johnson, MCFI 1/2019-9/2023:

Born in Lagos, Nigeria Johnson says he always dreamt of becoming a professional pilot from a young age. After getting his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer engineering from University of Lagos, Johnson moved to the United States to commence flight training at Phoenix East Aviation, Daytona Beach. This is where he fell in love with the sense of freedom that flying offers.

After earning his CFI, CFII, MEI licenses, he enrolled as a student and part-time flight instructor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona beach. Here he earned his FAA Mechanic licenses (A&P) and post-graduate degree. Gabriel has been an active flight instructor for 8 years and is currently a First Officer at Republic Airways.

Johnson not only has a passion for flight but also aviation safety and mentorship. He strives to contribute to the advancement of aviation safety, and he volunteers to promote aviation to students that dream of becoming pilots someday. When he isn’t flying, you can find him on a golf course or on some hiking trail looking for the best views of sunset.

Click to Download Gabriel's Press Release!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to Download Andy's Press Release!

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.

Click to Download Karen's Press Release!

Mike Kehoe NAFI MCFIJohn "Mike" Kehoe, MCFI 6/2015-1/2024:

This is Kehoe’s fourth 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-IGI. 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 a student passing a checkride the first time.

Kehoe served in Vietnam with F Company, 51st Infantry (LRRP) as well as the 82nd Airborne. He has four children and four grandchildren. He says he still enjoys flight instructing and 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.”

Click to Download Mike's Press Release!

Tzu-Cheng Kuo NAFI MCFITzu-Cheng Kuo, MCFI 11/2021-11/2023:

Tzu-Cheng is from Taipei, Taiwan. He says the reason he became a pilot is because, one day, a captain invited him to visit the flight deck, and it was fascinating! From then on, he embarked on his professional pilot journey. He did his flight training at Epic Flight Academy, New Smyrna Beach, Fla. and earned the CFI, CFII, and MEI in South Florida.

He has been flying and working as a flight instructor for a few years. In addition, he has maintained strong pass rate and achieved the FAA Goal Seal Certificate. Tzu-Cheng is specializing in instructing international students, focusing on a strong connection with his students during and after achieving their goals.

He continues to promote the aviation industry, whether in service with Young Eagle in his free time or as a friend to others who dream of becoming a pilot. He is also a volunteer Command Pilot for Angel Flight West. He holds a bachelor’s degree and is now studying for his second degree in Arizona at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to improve his aviation knowledge.

Click to Download Tzu-Cheng Kuo Press Release!

Domenic LaFauci NAFI MGIDomenic LaFauci, Associate MCFI 02/2017-02/2021

MGI 6/2022-6/2024:

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

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


Click to Download Domenic's Press Release!

Gordon Landale NAFI Master Flight InstructorGordon Landale, MCFI 4/2022-4/2024:

Landale was first introduced to flying by his dad in the early 1980s. He said his father’s passion for history and airplanes stuck with him, but it wasn’t until 2013 when he finally had the time and money to learn to fly. As an active-duty soldier, Landale traveled around quite a bit, earning his PPL in North Carolina, Instrument and Commercial in California, CFI in Texas and CFII in Virginia.
Initially, he had no plan to move past his private pilot to simply enjoy the art of flying. With the encouragement from other pilots, Landale soon began to pursue additional. When he retired from the Army in 2017, Landale started to think of making aviation his second career with the initial goal of getting all instructor ratings, then building the time required to move to the airlines. Once he began working as an instructor, he soon realized how much he enjoyed flight instructing and working through the tough times with students while helping them pursue their dreams.

Landale credits a few people who helped him along the way: To his students, “I learned just as much from you”; To his dad, “thanks for giving me the bug”; To some great mentors, Yusuke Kusajima, Dave Gildart, Jen Watson, Anton Salemeh, Erik Box, Doug Yurovich and Bob Hepp; and to the great friends, colleagues and fellow instructors, “thanks for always pushing me to be better!” Lastly to his wife and kids, “thank you for putting up with me always looking up!”

Click to Download Gordon's Press Release!

James Martin NAFI MCFIJames Martin, MCFI 9/2021-9/2023:

Martin says he truly believes that flying is his first passion, one that has stuck with him all his life. When he was in elementary school he collected and studied every book on flight and jets he could get his hands on. He even had a vast collection of small metal jets. This led him to become fascinated with the history of aviation, and his very first science fair project was on the science of flight; specifically studying the aerodynamics of paper airplanes.

After graduating cum laude from the University of Florida in computer science, Martin decided to move to Hawaii where he regularly saw helicopters in the sky and the idea of piloting came back to him. Martin decided to try an intro flight at Mauna Loa Helicopters and immediately knew he found the career he was meant for.

After completing training, Martin moved back to Florida to begin his career as a professional pilot, employed as a helicopter flight instructor with Palm Beach Helicopters. He now operates as an Instructor Pilot for Amentum, training pilots for the U.S. Army at Fort Rucker. 

“Flying helicopters is my passion, and is second only to my family with respect to the most important things in my life," Martin says.

Click to Download James's Press Release!

Sebastian "Vince" Massimini, MCFI 11/2021-11/2023:

Massimini started flying as a military pilot in 1969 and retired in 1990 as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps, where he flew the A4 Skyhawk and other jet aircraft, including a tour as a military flight instructor and several hundred combat missions in Vietnam. He has been a civil airplane and instrument instructor since 2005 and currently instructs at Chesapeake Sport Pilot on the Maryland Eastern Shore.

Since retiring from the Marine Corps, Massimini has worked with the FAA and foreign governments on GPS for civil aviation (including WAAS and Performance Based Navigation), advanced surveillance technologies, parallel instrument approaches, and airport safety.  His latest project was the FAA Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative.

He volunteers as a docent (i.e., tour guide) at the National Air and Space Museum locations in Washington D.C. and near Dulles Airport, Virginia. He lives at Kentmorr Airpark (3W3) in Maryland and flies his Maule and Champ aircraft from the grass runway.

Click to Download Vince's Press Release!

Tom McChesney NAFI MCFIThomas McChesney, MCFI 11/2022-11/2024:

McChesney is a flight instructor located in Johnson County, KS, in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He has over 3,000 hours in a variety of general aviation aircraft and has amassed nearly 2,100 hours of flight instruction. He earned his private pilot certificate in 2005 and began instructing full time in 2021.

McChesney offers flight instruction of all types, including private, instrument, commercial, instructor, and multiengine. As a Part 61 instructor, he works with FBOs, flying clubs and aircraft owners, primarily at New Century Air Center and Johnson County Executive Airport.

He was not one who dreamed of flying as a child, finding his love for aviation in his 40s.  After years in the business world, he discovered a penchant for instruction.  He has worked with learners from 16 to 88 and enjoys the challenges involved with working with people of different ages, experience levels and aspirations.

McChesney holds Commercial SEL, Commercial MEL, CFI, CFII and MEI certificates.  He plans to add AGI and IGI certificates in the near future.

Click to Download Thomas' Press Release!

Matthew McDaniel NAFI Master Flight Instructor MCFIMatthew P.R. McDaniel, MCFI 7/2003-7/2023:

This is McDaniel’s 10th consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. McDaniel has been an active CFI for almost 30 years and has specialized in Cirrus and other Technically Advanced Aircraft instruction for the past 20 years. In that capacity, he is a Platinum Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot. He also enjoys teaching in antique taildraggers, such as the Globe/Temco Swift, has flown over 100 aircraft types, and holds eight turbine aircraft type ratings. As a freelance aviation author, McDaniel has published well over 100 articles in a dozen or so 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, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Click to Download Matthew's Press Release!

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.

Click to Download Mitchell's Press Release!

Wallace Moran NAFI MCFIWallace Moran, MCFI 6/2001-9/2023:

This is Moran’s eleventh consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Moran was 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.

Click to Download Wallace's Press Release!

Jay Nabors NAFI MCFIJay Nabors, MCFI 12/2019-12/2023:

This is Nabors’ second NAFI Master Accreditation. 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.

Click to Download Jay's Press Release!

To View Previous NAFI Master Instructor Profiles and Press Releases, Click Here!