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NAFI Holds Sport Pilot Symposium in Louisville

Mark Aldridge, of the FAA Light Sport
Aviation Branch, explains details of
powered parachute controls to CFI
Ron Fulkerson of Evansville, Illinois.

September 14, 2005 - Flight instructors gathered in Louisville, Kentucky, September 10 for a NAFI Sport Pilot Symposium at Aero-Tech on Bowman Field. The symposium, conducted by the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), provided experienced flight instructors with an introduction to the new world of light-sport aircraft. They heard expert advice on how to build their business by catering to the new pilot certificate and aircraft category.

“Attendees were very enthusiastic about the symposium,” said NAFI executive director Rusty Sachs. “The feedback was positive, and I think we opened a lot of eyes as to the potential of this emerging market.” Motivated by the symposium, one participant has since obtained a light-sport aircraft for use in a flight school, and is already negotiating a second, Sachs reported.

Featured presenters included Jack Vandeventer, seasoned CFI and independent educator; Mark Aldridge from the FAA’s Light-Sport Aviation Branch in Oklahoma City; and Bob Perkins, aviation marketing specialist.

Each attendee received NAFI’s “Trade-A-Flight” opportunity, which provides a free NAFI membership in exchange for providing a demonstration flight to a flight instructor. “Light-sport aviation is a renewal of the flying I knew in the 1970s,” said one CFI. “With this we can create communities of pilots that can enjoy safe flying at a more affordable rate.”

Another added, “I arrived here with a blurry understanding of the new rule, but now I have a pretty good handle on things, and I look forward to sharing this knowledge.”

The Louisville symposium sets the stage for the 2nd Annual US Sport Aviation Expo, October 27-30, at Florida’s Sebring Regional Airport. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better with an expanded exhibit area, more certificated aircraft, informational forums, and much more. Visit the website for more information.