Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors (O-U By Last Name)

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Alex Reed NAFI MCFIAlex Reed, MCFI 05/2023-05/2025:

Reed’s aviation career started in Novi, Michigan in 2016. As a child, Reed had always been interested in airplanes. He is a first-generation pilot in his family. He began flight training in the Civil Air Patrol with several volunteer instructors who were willing to mentor him into the industry. A number of these instructors were also NAFI members who possessed a Master Instructor Accreditation or Associate Master Instructor Accreditation.

Reed continued flight training through high school and achieved his private pilot certificate in early 2019. Following high school, Reed moved down to Daytona Beach, Florida to attend ATP flight school. During his time at ATP, Reed earned his instrument rating, and commercial, commercial-multi engine, and CFI certificates. He ended his ATP journey to move back to Michigan and instruct at Solo Aviation, a local flight school.

One of his goals as an instructor is to make a difference. He said his biggest desire is to be the instructor students look at for an example. Reed wants to share his love of aviation and has donated numerous instructional hours in Civil Air Patrol to help pilots knock off the rust or help a student pilot see what instruction is all about. He loves to help deserving pilots reach their goals, no matter what it takes. Earlier this year, Reed finished the requirements to earn the FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor certificate.

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Killian Ribeiro NAFI MCFIKillian Ribeiro 03/2022-03/2024:

It all began on Ribeiro’s roundtrip commercial flight in 2006 from his hometown Paris, France to Lisbon, Portugal when he was fortunate to be invited to visit the flight deck both directions. Since that day Ribeiro’s passion for aviation had continued to grow. He says that as a child, he used to fall asleep counting the airplanes passing in front of his window in the direction of Charles de Gaulle Airport on the outskirts of Paris. His dream of becoming a pilot materialized when he was accepted into Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. Ribeiro’s passion for both the United States and aviation made Embry-Riddle an ideal choice. From Paris to Daytona Beach was the first step of a long journey.

Ribeiro had his first training flight on April 11th, 2017, his first solo on June 5th, 2017, and completed his private pilot certificate on July 11th, 2017. He then obtained his instrument rating on October 26th, 2017 and his commercial certificate on May 9th, 2018. Ribeiro was then fortunate to join the Embry-Riddle Fast Track summer program, where he completed both his CFI and CFII instructor certifications and in August 2018 became an ERAU flight instructor. Beginning part-time, Ribeiro transitioned to a full-time instructor position in May 2019. He then obtained his AGI in November 2020 and became an FAA Gold Seal flight instructor. Ribeiro became a flight standards check pilot at Embry-Riddle in February 2020, completed his MEI at Spruce Creek on June 11th, 2020, and transitioned to a full-time check pilot status in June 2021. Ribeiro was granted the position of Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at Embry-Riddle in November 2021.

Ribeiro obtained his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science in two years and one semester as a Summa Cum Laude graduate from ERAU Daytona in May 2019, and received a Master of Business Administration in Aviation with an International Business specialization with Distinction at ERAU Worldwide in March 2021.  

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Jeanne Rieck, MCFI 01/2022-01/2024:

Rieck has been an active flight instructor since 2013 and owner of Airplane Rental Ventures in Mesa, Arizona. Her mission is to build confidence and a high skill level in her clients. She says what brings her joy is seeing a student solo successfully in the challenging, busy airport environment where she teaches. It is also rewarding when one of her former clients is able to conduct a flight review for her.

Rieck is a former special education teacher and administrator, she has a master’s degree in Special Education.  After 20 years in the classroom and leadership roles, she decided to take off on a new chapter and fell in love with flying at the first rotation. She says she loves an adventure, and the combination of flying and leading others to accomplish their aviation goals was a natural place for her to land.

Rieck has Commercial Single, Multi-Engine, Instrument, Seaplane, Tailwheel ratings; is a CFI, CFII, AGI; and participant in the Ninety-Nines Professional Pilot Leadership Initiative (PPLI) program. She owns two aircraft at Falcon Field in Mesa, a beautiful and demanding place to fly. When not flying, Rieck is exploring near the Grand Canyon with her husband at their off-grid cabin.

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Dick Rochfort NAFI MCFIRichard "Dick" Rochfort, MCFI 2/2005-2/2025:

This is Rochfort’s tenth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation earning him Silver Legacy Master status.

Rochfort provides training, pre-purchase consulting, aircraft relocation, and expert witness services to owners, pilots, and instructors of the Piper PA-46 aircraft. He holds ATP, commercial, and Gold Seal flight instructor certificates with SEL, SES, MEL, CFII, MEI, and CE-525S ratings. He 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 PA-46 aircraft. This body of work is available online at the PA-46 Pilot reference library and is the only collection of its kind in the world. These videos have been viewed more than 2.5 million times and Rochfort’s YouTube channel has over 10,000 subscribers. He serves the PA-46 community worldwide and his training programs are PA-46 type-specific, insurance industry approved, FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) approved, FAA Wings approved, and 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 to produce communication and navigation equipment for the United States military. Before that, he served as a Green Beret staff sergeant E-6, 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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Matthew Sawyer NAFI MCFIMatthew Sawyer, MCFI 9/2022-9/2024:

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

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

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

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

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Jorge Sierra Rodriguez MCFIJorge Sierra Rodriguez, MGI 5/2022-5/2024:

Sierra's dream of flying began at a very young age. He had a mentor who instilled a taste for aviation as a job and lifestyle. At 18, he started his career as a student pilot in Colombia. In 2011, he won a scholarship to an aviation school in Kissimmee, Florida. He completed his FAA Commercial Pilot multi-engine license and returned to Colombia, where he was hired at 21 years old as a First Officer for Avianca Airlines. He flew the Airbus 320 and 330 and started flying the Boeing 787 in early 2015. By 2018, he was chosen as a B-787 Instructor for Flight Training Device and Ground School. Working closely with flight standards and training, Sierra has been participating in developing recurrent training programs, evaluations, and courses designed for B-787 pilots. He is currently a Subject Matter Expert in aircraft and special operations for the airline. During the Covid-19 crisis, Sierra led the training and instruction of the flight crew members selected to do the first flight in the airline's history from Colombia to China to transport medical supplies. He was also one of the members of the flight crew.

Sierra holds an FAA ATP license with an A-320 type rating, FAA Advanced and Instrument ground instructor, and remote pilot certificate. Additionally, he has an ICAO ATP License and ICAO Instructor License for Full Flight Simulator, Aircraft Systems and Operations, Aerodynamics, Aviation Weather, Navigation, and Human Factors.

He continued his academic education while working as a pilot instructor. In 2020, he obtained a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and was admitted to the Master of Business Administration in Aviation program at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; he expects to graduate by October 2022. Sierra also graduated from U.S. DOT as an Advanced Safety Officer and Advanced Air Accident Investigator.

In 2022, the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators chose him to represent over 700 pilots of Colombia as Delegated Pilot Instructor at the U.S. World Aviation Training Summit. He was also hired by the worldwide provider of simulation-based training, CAE, as a B-787 Full Flight Simulator Instructor.

He said he is proud to have joined the FAA Safety Team, Latino Pilot Association, Professional Pilots of Tomorrow, MRAeS of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and a new member of the National Association of Flight Instructors.

Sierra is passionate about flight training, education, training systems design, aviation curriculum development, learning management systems, and adult learning. He sees himself in the future as a pilot and instructor for a U.S. Legacy carrier, and actively participating in the industry as a CBTA/EBT expert.

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Nick Schillen NAFI MCFINicholas Schillen, MCFI 02/2020-02/2025:

Schillen currently lives in the state of Florida where he has resided after 24 years of military service in the U.S. Air force. During his time in the USAF Schillen served as a B-52 radar navigator for four years and then subsequently earned his Air Force pilot wings after 52 weeks of the best flight training in the world. He soon graduated with the equivalent of a commercial pilot certificate with instrument and multiengine ratings along with formation and acrobatic endorsements.  

Flight school was followed by the ubiquitous Vietnam tour as a special operations pilot. During which time, Schillen flew the military version of the venerable workhorse of aviation, none other than the DC-3, a.k.a. “Gooney Bird.” After several years as a flight instructor, he was assigned as a military advisor and air attaché in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Salvador. After this assignment in Central America, he completed the balance of his military career working in Washington DC in various staff positions.

After retiring from the Air Force, Schillen went into commercial aviation and initially worked as a B-727 ground instructor at Eastern Airlines, until it went out of business in 1991. Shortly after, he was hired to start and operate an Air Force Junior ROTC program at a high school in South Florida.

After ten years with ROTC, Schillen moved on to open and operate his own flight school (NS Aviation). Since then, he has worked as the Chief Instructor at Atlantis Flight Academy located in North Perry Airport (KHWO) and SkyBlue Jet Aviation at Whitham Field (KSUA).

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Jerrold Seckler NAFI MGIJerrold Seckler, MGI 8/2015-12/2023:

This is Seckler’s fourth consecutive NAFI Master 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 PIlot's Association and served as Dean of the College of Flight Operations of COPA University, the training and education arm of that organization, for 5 years. Currently he is the President of the Board of Trustees of the COPA Safety and Education Foundation which supports COPA University and sponsors multiple training events for pilots of Technologically Advanced Aircraft. 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 urologic surgeon 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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Wesley Spier NAFI A-MCFIWesley Spier, Associate MCFI 05/2023-05/2025:

Growing up in Central Oregon, Spier developed a passion for aviation as a child and was fortunate enough to obtain his private pilot certification just after high school. Aviation introduced Spier to a newfound passion as he discovered the possibilities of being an aviator are virtually endless. The experiences, views, and unique opportunities are afforded only to a small population of the world, and he was ecstatic to be a part of it. Unfortunately, the expense of flying barred his ability to continue into the field. Spier instead shifted gears and became a paramedic until such a time that pilot demand grew, and financial programs allowed for a clear pathway into the field.

Spier finished his certifications from ATP flight school in Las Vegas, Nevada earning his instrument, commercial multi, CFI, CFII, and MEI. After graduation he began working as a flight instructor for a local flight school where he had the privilege to share his passion of aviation with students. Watching their careers develop with each checkride pass is the ultimate privilege and he couldn’t be prouder to be a part of a community with such opportunities.

Spier said being selected for the Associate Master CFI program by NAFI is an ultimate dream. His first DPE was a Master CFI who consistently encouraged him to be the best he could be, while also lifting up those around him to their dreams and goals.

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Thomas Stehler NAFI MCFITom Stehler, MCFI 04/2021-04/2025:

This is Stehler’s second NAFI Master Accreditation.

A native of the St. Paul, Minnesota area, Stehler attended Purdue University where he worked as a corporate pilot and check instructor after graduation. He founded Purdue’s winning team for the newly formed collegiate class of EAA’s AirVenture Cup Race in 2019. Stehler is now a captain on the Boeing 737 at Sun Country Airlines, as well as the chief flight instructor at Lake Elmo Aero in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He has experience in many different single and multi-engine aircraft, with more than 1,200 hours of flight instruction provided. He recently purchased a 1950 Cessna 140A to go on even more flying adventures.

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Steve Tupper NAFI MCFISteve Tupper, MCFI 04/2023-04/2025:

Tupper is a CFI in gliders and single engine airplanes with an instrument airplane rating. He is a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) lieutenant colonel and serves as check pilot examiner and mission check pilot examiner, training and evaluating CAP pilots and other aircrew in search and rescue and other related missions. Tupper was director of the CAP glider program in Michigan Wing for several years before passing the reins, but he continues to fly and instruct in CAP gliders. He has served as cadre for CAP's Mission Aircrew School at the National Emergency Services Academy. He also serves as a judge advocate and on CAP's national headquarters operations staff as an aviation advisor and is one of CAP's primary aviation counsel.

Tupper is an FAA letter of operation-holding Recognized Air Boss/Single Venue. He is the originator of the Tuskegee Airmen Detroit River Days Airshow, a surface-waivered air show over the Detroit River abeam downtown Detroit. This event includes aerobatics, formation demonstrations, and military participation in some of the most complex airshow airspace in North America. He also consults and/or is the air boss for other air shows in the region. He is a Red Star Pilots Association Formation and Safety Team (F.A.S.T) formation lead, and trains and performs with the world's only formation glider team.

Tupper serves as a director and instructor and has served as chief pilot of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit, as well flying the museum's WWII warbird aircraft. He assists with the museum's program that trains underrepresented youth to become career pilots. He specializes in self-launch glider operations and in tailwheel transition training.

Tupper holds AMEL and ASES ratings and a second-in-command type rating in the DC-3/C-47.

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