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The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) takes pride in announcing a significant aviation accomplishment on the part of these very special aviation educators.  Recently, they were all designated Master Instructors by NAFI, their professional aviation organization.

To help put this achievement in its proper perspective, there are approximately 81,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than four hundred of them have earned the Master designation thus far. As a measure of the prestige conferred by this title, the last eight FAA National Flight Instructors of the Year were Master CFIs.  In addition, the FAA recently approved the designation as an alternate means for CFIs to renew their flight instructor certificates.

The Master Instructor designation is a national accreditation recognized by the FAA that is earned by a candidate through a rigorous process of continuing education and peer review.  Much like a flight instructor's certificate, it must be renewed biennially.  This process parallels continuing education regimens used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism. Simply put, the Master Instructor designation is a means by which to identify those outstanding aviation educators, those "Teachers of Flight," who are demonstrating an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community. 

Through their dedication to excellence, Master Instructors have earned their "black belts" in aviation education. They truly represent the crème de la crème of the aviation industry!

Aviation educators who earned the "Master" title during August are:


Donna Forsyth WILT, Master CFI 
Williamsburg  VA
E-mail:   [email protected]

Donna Wilt recently renewed her Master Instructor designation.  Donna is a flight instructor with Jamestown Flight Center at the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (JGG).  She is active in the Ninety-Nines and works with AOPA's Airport Support Network.

Traci Michelle WHITE, Master CFI   
Orlando  FL
E-mail:   [email protected]

Traci White recently renewed her Master Instructor designation.  Traci is serving as an instructor pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach.  She is an ERAU graduate and is presently working toward a masters degree in aeronautical science.

Raymond Lee "Ray" MEADE, Master CFI    
Chester  VA
E-mail:    [email protected]

Raymond Meade recently renewed his Master Instructor designation.  Ray works as an independent flight instructor at the Dinwiddie County (PTB) and Chesterfield County Airports (FCI).  He also works with AOPA's Airport Support Network and serves as a pilot examiner for the Richmond FSDO.

Bernard Francis "Barney" KING, Master CFI      
Salina  KS
E-mail:    [email protected]

Bernard King recently renewed his Master Instructor designation.  Barney works in the Department of Aviation at Kansas State University specializing in CFI ground training and Part 141 progress checks.  He also serves in the Civil Air Patrol and is a retired Army aviator.

Hal Raymond ELLIS, Master CFI  
Centerville  VA
E-mail:    [email protected]

Hal Ellis recently renewed his Master Instructor designation.  Hal specializes primary and advanced instruction at the Quantico Flying Club, a Part 141 school at Marine Corps Base Quantico (NYG).  He also serves as an Air Force officer with the Defense Information Systems Agency in Falls Church.

Michael Walter "Mike" BROWN, Master CFI      
Frederick MD  
E-mail:   [email protected]

Michael Brown recently renewed his Master CFI designation.  Mike is a former AOPA employee and is now an aviation safety analyst with the FAA's AFS-840 in Washington.  FAA Administrator Marion Blakey presented him with his Master CFI renewal credentials during the AirVenture 2003 "Meet the Masters" breakfast.


Richard Scott "Rich" KAPLAN, Master CFI       
Uniontown  PA
E-mail:    [email protected]

Richard Kaplan recently earned his Master Instructor designation.  Rich is the owner of Flight Level Aviation at Greene County Airport (WAY) in Waynesburg and specializes in instrument and simulator training.  He also serves as an Aviation Safety Counselor and medical examiner for the Allegheny FSDO.

Emmett James HOOLIHAN, Master CFI    
La Verne  CA
E-mail:    [email protected]

Emmett Hoolihan recently earned his Master Instructor designation.  Emmett is a staff flight instructor with the Runway 3-7 Flight School at La Verne's Brackett Field Airport (POC).  He also serves as an Aviation Safety Counselor for the Los Angeles FSDO.

Amanda Jean GRUDEN, Master CFI  
Milan  MI
E-mail:    [email protected]

Amanda Gruden recently earned her Master Instructor designation.  Amanda is a lead flight instructor and Part 141 check pilot for Western Michigan University's College of Aviation at Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek (BTL).  She also serves as an Aviation Safety Counselor for the Grand Rapids FSDO.

Mark James BOYD, Master CFI            
Santa Cruz  CA
E-mail:    [email protected]

Mark Boyd recently earned his Master Instructor designation.  Mark is a flight instructor with the Santa Cruz Flying Club at Watsonville Municipal Airport (WVI) specializing in instrument and commercial training.  He is also an active Young Eagles pilot and mentors new CFIs.