The NAFI Professional Development Program (PDP) is a means of providing all CFIs with invaluable education and tools to enhance their technical and teaching skills, including improving their ability to interact with their students so that more reach their goal to become a pilot. It is designed to develop and mentor a flight instructor's mastery of core concepts in aviation education and leadership.

Educational programs offered in the PDP will come from NAFI members, staff, board members and industry leaders assuring quality and actionable information for all CFIs. Content covers a vast array of curricula that span basic communication skills, human factors, risk management and advanced training for both general aviation and commercial aviation instructors. These efforts will substantially contribute to increasing and maintaining a professional and informed community of flight instructors.

ANNOUNCEMENT: First 10 PDP Courses to be Unveiled at Airventure 2018!


What is it REALLY?

The NAFI Professional Development Program (PDP) is a brand new concept and the culmination of years of brainstorming on creating our version of an online “graduate degree” for flight instructors. In plain English, the PDP is a curriculum with two purposes in mind.

First, the PDP is an educational program intended to improve knowledge in subject matter areas important to CFIs that are not generally covered in training for the checkride. This not just increases an instructors’ ability to better serve their students, but also gives them extra tools in business and leadership for financial and future industry growth. We surveyed hundreds of flight instructors and student pilots asking "What would you have liked to have known day one; or what skill, if improved in your instructor, would have made your training easier and more fulfilling?”

The PDP is a cooperative industry effort, headed by subject matter experts, and designed as a direct reflection of the responses to these surveys.

A few course examples include; student record keeping, leadership skills, managing student stress, and understanding NEXRAD/in-flight weather.

Second, we know that career progression is a fundamental aim in life, so the PDP asks participants to think to the future regarding their life goals. Do you want to be a flight school owner, a Chief Flight Instructor, an airline pilot, or work as an independent instructor? Regardless, the PDP will provide direction and education in the skills that would most benefit whichever path to success you chose; while educating you to be a more rounded professional instructor now. For example, we have industry information on where new hire candidates struggle during ground school for 121 airlines and/or type ratings and the PDP will provide optional courses to help you succeed if that is your path. Want to start your own flight school? The PDP will cover topics on flight school record keeping and tips on business book keeping. You can tailor your education to what is important to you!

Detailed Overview of the NAFI Professional Development Program

Flight instructors are on the front line of pilot development serving as the “distributor” of knowledge and service to students. To be proficient, CFIs need a unique set of skills. The NAFI Professional Development Program provides access for CFIs to the skills they need to enhance their instructional proficiency in multiple required skill sets - for initial certification, periodic review, and continuing education.

What is NAFI's view of a Professional CFI?:

A professional flight instructor is a positive aviation role model and mentor; demonstrates an expert understanding of flight instruction; communicates through proven instructional methods; and conducts business in the highest of moral standards and safety.

Mission: The NAFI Professional Development Program is designed to develop and mentor a flight instructor's mastery of core concepts in aviation education and leadership.

Vision: The NAFI Professional Development Program seeks to provide the tools necessary for CFIs to excel as teachers and client service experts, improving the standards of professionalism in flight instruction.

Goals & Objectives: Engagement and completion of this program will signify a continuing commitment of the CFI’s personal advancement, and provide clients expert service in an ever-changing business environment.

Start to finish, we intend the PDP to be a 40 hour program with courses divided in 5 categories:

  • Instruction
  • Business/Communication
  • Leadership development
  • Human psychology/human factors/risk management
  • Elective Category (used for advancement of candidate in other aspects of aviation i.e., career change, would also include participation in the NAFI Mentor Program.

The courses will be online and optimized for both computer and mobile viewing, and will average between one hour to one and a half hours, and will be NETFLIX style, meaning as they are released, members will have access to all available courses at once to complete at their convince. Eventually, as the program grows, there will be course selection options in each category allowing participants to “Choose their Own Adventure” on what topics towards completion suit best.

Engagement and completion of the PDP will signify a continuing commitment to a CFI’s personal advancement, and provide clients expert service in an ever-changing business environment.