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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 February are:


Sean Eric ELLIOTT, Master CFI    
Oshkosh  WI
E-mail:   [email protected]

Sean Elliott recently renewed his Master Instructor designation.  Sean is a 1990 graduate of ERAU in Daytona Beach and has served as CEO of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) since 1996.  He is now director of flight operations for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). 

Henry Kim "Hank" HOLEVINSKY, Master CFI     
Lowell  IN
E-mail:   [email protected]

Henry Holevinsky recently renewed his Master Instructor designation.  Hank is a faculty member and aviation instructor in the Department of Engineering and Technology at South Surban College.  He also instructs for Associated Air Activities at Lansing Municipal Airport (IGQ).

Margaret Crenshaw RIDDLE, Master CFI         
Raleigh  NC
E-mail:   [email protected]

Margaret Riddle recently renewed her Master CFI designation.  Margaret is an independent flight and ground instructor specializing in instrument and CFI training in the Raleigh-Durham area.  She is also active in The 99s and serves as an Aviation Safety Counselor for the Greensboro FSDO.

Stewart Douglas "Doug" STEWART, Master CFI     
North Egremont  MA
E-mail:   [email protected]

Douglas Stewart recently renewed his Master Instructor designation.  Doug is owner of DSFI (www.DSFlight.com), a flight school located at Kline Kill Airport (NY1) in Ghent, NY.  He also serves as a designated pilot examiner and safety counselor for FSDOs in Windsor Locks and Albany. 

Vaclav George "Jim" UJCIK, Master CFI     
Dayton  OH
E-mail:   [email protected]

Jim Ujcik recently earned his Master Instructor designation for the fourth time.  Jim is the owner of Soaring Eagles Flying Services.  Soaring Eagles (www.SoaringEagles.FlightBrothers.com) is an independent flight instruction company operating at Dayton's Greene County Airport (I19).


Peter Michael "Pete" KRPATA, Master CFI           
Bonita Springs  FL
E-mail:    [email protected]

Peter Krpata recently earned his Master Instructor designation.  Pete worked as a CFI and Part 135 charter pilot for Express Flight at Missouri's Rosecrans Airport (STJ) in St Joseph.  He is now instructing and flying charters with London Aviation Group at Florida's Naples Airport (APF).

Laurie Ann PUCKETT, Master CFI       
Laurel  MT    
E-mail:   [email protected]

Laurie Puckett recently earned her Master Instructor designation.  Laurie is assistant chief flight instructor and a ground instructor with Northern Skies Aviation at Laurel Municipal Airport (6S8).  She also works with local high school students interested in aviation careers.