Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors

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 Most recent MCFI's featured here, for comprehensive list, see alphabetical links below sorted by Last Name:






David Yost, MCFI 03/2017-07/2023:

This is Yost’s third NAFI Master Accreditation.

From a young age, Yost had a keen interest in airplanes, building many models as a kid growing up, primarily WW II warbirds. However, this love of airplanes didn't translate into actual flying until later in life. On the advice of a fellow Boy Scout leader who was also a private pilot, Yost took his first flying lesson at age 47 and never looked back. In the 18 years since then, he has become a CFII and accumulated just over 2800 hours of flight time, all ASEL.
Yost as always been an active volunteer in one organization or another, and shortly after receiving his Private Pilot certificate, he joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. 3½ years later he received his initial CFI and became a CAP flight instructor, and later a CAP Check Pilot. Yost flies almost exclusively through the Civil Air Patrol, and serves as a Mission Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Orientation Pilot, and Check Pilot Examiner. He has endorsed 5 students for the Private Pilot certificate and 2 for the Instrument Rating – all successful on the first attempt. There are several more Private, Instrument, and Commercial students currently training with him. Beyond the CAP, Yost serves the Minneapolis FSDO as a FAA Safety Team representative, and has given numerous flight safety briefings and presentations in various venues. He has also added a glider rating to his Commercial certificate.

Outside of flying, Dave works as a database administrator for a major insurance company. He is married to Shawn, his wife of 41 years. They have two sons, a 7-year- old granddaughter, and a 2-year-old grandson. In his "spare time", Yost enjoys the occasional round of golf. Fortunately, he flies better than he plays golf!

Click to Download David's Press Release!

Matthew McDaniel NAFI Master Flight Instructor MCFIMatthew P.R. McDaniel, MCFI 7/2003-7/2023:

This is McDaniel’s 10th consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. McDaniel has been an active CFI for almost 30 years and has specialized in Cirrus and other Technically Advanced Aircraft instruction for the past 20 years. In that capacity, he is a Platinum Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot. He also enjoys teaching in antique taildraggers, such as the Globe/Temco Swift, has flown over 100 aircraft types, and holds eight turbine aircraft type ratings. As a freelance aviation author, McDaniel has published well over 100 articles in a dozen or so aviation magazines and online. He currently flies as an Airbus A-320-Series Captain for a major U.S. airline. As the founder and owner of Progressive Aviation Services, LLC, he operates out of his home area of Milwaukee, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Click to Download Matthew's Press Release!

Leo Burke NAFI Master InstructorLeo Burke, MCFI 6/2021-6/2023

Burke has pursued aviation since joining the Civil Air Patrol as a teenager. His first solo was in an airplane in July 1986. He earned his private pilot certificate in January 1987.   He has honed his skills and continued to add experiences and ratings. He has been a flight instructor since 2008 and added his CFII on January 1, 2021. His most recent solo was in June 2021, in a Schweizer TG-7A motor glider – he is currently pursuing his commercial glider and glider CFI ratings.

Burke volunteers as a CAP check pilot, instructor pilot and mission pilot. He conducts primary flight training for 15-to 20-Year-old cadets; as well as G1000 transitions and mission pilot skills to adult members.  He is a colonel in the CAP, having commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels. He has amassed nearly 1800 flight hours volunteering with CAP – including almost 650 hours of dual instruction given.  
In 2006, Burke was the aircraft commander of the first CAP aircrew to be awarded the 1st Air Force/AFNORTH Commander’s Award for the CAP Mission of Distinction. In 2019, he was named Michigan Wing’s Distinguished Aviator. 

A good deal of his 3100+ hours of flying are unusual. He has flown hundreds of Search and Rescue, Homeland Security and Disaster Relief Missions.

As a reserve deputy sheriff in Macomb County, MI, he has also volunteered as an instructor, chief of training and safety for the Sheriff’s Aviation Reserve Unit since 2008.  
Burke also specializes in providing instruction in all models of Navion aircraft.  
As soon as they are tall enough to reach the pedals, he intends to teach both of his grandsons how to fly.   

Click to Download Burke'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!

Robert Mitchell NAFI MCFIRobert Mitchell, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

Mitchell has dedicated most of his adult life to military and civilian flight instruction. He has been an active FAA Certified Flight Instructor for 34 straight years and has flown more than 8000 flight hours, including 500 combat flight hours.  He currently works for CAE, a Canadian manufacturer of simulation technologies and training services to airlines, as an Advanced Instructor Pilot (Upset Prevention and Recovery Training) in support of the U.S. Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training Program in Dothan, Alabama.  In addition, he owns and operates Strikehawk Aviation, a full-time flight training school in Enterprise, Alabama.  Mitchell volunteers much of his time to organizations such as the EAA Young Eagles program and the Troy University Air Force ROTC You Can Fly Scholarship program. 

Mitchell recently retired after serving 30 years in the United States Army. As a career Aeromedical Evacuation Officer, he served in numerous command and staff positions, including two combat tours. In 2004-2005, he served as a Medevac Battalion Commander in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired in 2014 at the rank of Colonel. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo where he was a starting wide receiver for the Rocket football team. He also holds master’s degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the U.S. Army War College. He is also a member of the Distinguished Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame at his high school as well as a member of the DUSTOFF Association Hall of Fame.

Click to Download Mitchell's Press Release!

ABIGAIL HARTMAN NAFI Master Flight Instructor MCFIAbigail Hartman, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

Hartman began her aviation career as a flight attendant for United Airlines in 2016. After over a year of enjoying the airline lifestyle, she quit her job, began flight training, and started working as a certified flight instructor in April 2019.

Specializing in instrument instruction for aircraft owners, Hartman has found a true passion for teaching and creating a safe future generation of pilots. Some of her favorite memories while instructing, outside of student solo and checkride accomplishments, include assisting a student in flying a Cessna 172 from California to Kentucky, mentoring new CFIs at her flight school, and helping grow the female pilot population by bringing students to her local Ninety-Nines’ chapter meetings. Along with instructing for two years, Hartman also earned her ATP and two PIC type ratings - CE-525 and EMB-505 - and says she enjoys bringing what she learns while flying the line to her students.

Click to Download Abigail's Press Release!

MAHMOUD GHONIM NAFI Master Flight InstructorMahmoud Ghonim, MCFI 5/2021-5/2023

Ghonim says he was drawn to aviation from an early age. He learned to fly at Universal Air Academy in El Monte, California in 2012 where he earned his Private and Commercial AMEL with an instrument rating. He then immediately started working on obtaining his CFI, CFII, and MEI airplane.

He continued at Universal Air Academy where he worked as an instructor and earned a Gold Seal on his flight instructor certificate. Later, he became a check instructor in addition to taking responsibility of supervising the operations of the flight academy. He also worked as a corporate pilot where he earned his ATP and flew various types of airplanes including Gulfstream 550, Citation Sovereign, and Pilatus 12.

In 2019, he decided to gain Part 121 experience by venturing into the airlines. He is currently a Chief Instructor for Universal Air Academy, a Part 141 school in Southern California. He has been working as a CFI for almost 7 years and, in addition to his passion for aviation, he says he enjoys the training aspect and mentoring of new pilots.

 Click to Download Mahmoud's Press Release!


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