Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors (V-Z By Last Name)

Master Logos

Orlando VillaverdeOrlando Villaverde, MCFI 4/2018-11/2024:

Villaverde background in a academia includes a Doctoral Degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and International Management from Nova Southeastern University. He also holds Masters degree in Aeronautical Science and Business Administration in Aviation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. His experience in aviation included working previously as a pilot and a supervisor for the City of Miami Police Department’s Aviation Detail. He possesses FAA dual flight instructor certificates in airplanes and helicopters with thousands of hours of teaching experience.

He has provided initial and advance training to students seeking a Private, Commercial, Instrument and Flight Instructor certificates and ratings. During his tenure with Miami Dade College's School of Aviation, he was nominated as a General Aviation Flight Instructor of the year, Southern Region for 2005 and 2014 by the Federal Aviation Administration and currently serves as a member of the FAASTeam /Aviation Safety Program. Villaverde says he has great faith in education, which is displayed in the classroom with his students who he believes are the greatest asset.

Click to Download Orlando's Press Release!

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.

Click to Download Eli's Press Release!

Jennifer WatsonJennifer Watson, MCFI 01/2020-01/2024:

This is Watson’s Second consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.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.

Click to Download Jennifer's Press Release!

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.

Click to Download White's Press Release!

Richard Whittemore, MCFI 07/2021-07/2023:

This is Whittemore’s second NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Whittemore is from Chattanooga. 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, gained his Private Pilot certificate at the age of 17.  Not long after completing it, he attended language school in Argentina. It was there that he studied the Amazon jungle in South America. After becoming fluent in Spanish, Whittemore returned to Chattanooga and 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. Shortly thereafter, Richard began flying a Beechcraft Baron corporately.

In 2012, Whittemore earned his helicopter rating and later that year moved his family to Brazil, where his youngest daughter was born. There he flew a float plane on the Amazon River for a short time. After the government shut down the aviation program, Whittemore and his family adopted a young child and also started an orphanage. In search of a way to remain involved in aviation, he moved his family across the border to Colombia. After two years of persistently trying to get an air ambulance established, it became clear that the local political atmosphere would keep that from happening. So, after starting a local, fair labor company in Colombia he moved his family to Laredo, Texas.

There Whittemore started an aviation service company while working for a Part 91 operator. He also co-founded and acted as the chief instructor for the only dual rated flight school on the Texas/Mexico border. While he was acting as chief instructor the school operated with a 100 percent pass rate and safety record. During the beginning of 2020 Whittemore and his family moved back closer to his roots in Birmingham, Alabama where he remains involved with the non-profit organization by serving on the board and managing the various entities his family started in the Amazon. His full-time job is working as an Emergency Medical Helicopter pilot in the Southeast and on his off days he continues to instruct and hold safety seminars. He has completed the DPE training courses and looks forward to one day serving as a DPE.

Whittemore holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with Airplane Single and Multi-Engine Land and Rotorcraft-Helicopter as well as Commercial privileges for Airplane Single Engine Sea. He also holds a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate for Airplane Single and Multi-Engine, Rotorcraft-Helicopter and Instrument – Airplane/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 Birmingham FSDO.

Whittemore‘s 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.

Click to Download Richard's Press Release!

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