Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors

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emily locketz NAFI MCFIEmily Locketz, Associate MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Locketz got her start in aviation while in high school when she was 17, discovering her love for aviation through Aviation Explorers and the dedication of her first instructors. She said that helped her realize she wanted to make aviation her career and joined ATP Flight School in 2015, where she became a CFI/CFII/MEI at 19 years old.

She continued to grow as an instructor in Phoenix, Arizona, training students from a range of airline ab initio training programs including JetBlue and Japan Airlines, and eventually progressed to Lead Instructor of the Japan Airlines training program. She then decided to go back to where it all started at ATP, and help students obtain their CFI initial ratings.

While working at ATP, she earned the Distinguished Flight Instructor award from AOPA for 2019. She now works as the Lead of Ground School programs at ATP, and says she hopes to continue to grow her experience and dedicate herself to being a lifelong instructor and educator.

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Georgios “George” Michelogiannakis, Associate MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Michelogiannakis has been actively flight instructing for six years. Born in Greece, he pursued flight training at Reid-Hillview airport (RHV) in California where he flew a few of his first hundred hours mostly in a 180HP Cessna 172. Shortly after becoming a CFI, he focused on private and instrument pilot training while acquiring additional qualifications such as MEI, ATP MEL, and TAA training.

Michelogiannakis' latest focus is G1000 transition training, introductory flights, as well as re-currency of "rusty" pilots. Much of his flight instructing time is as an unpaid volunteer as an instructor and check pilot of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) where he provides not only transition training and evaluation, but also evaluation flights for search and rescue (SAR) pilot candidates. As part of CAP, Michelogiannakis has participated in numerous actual SAR and disaster relief missions. He is also an active FAASTeam representative who frequently delivers seminars on many safety topics. He says when he is not flying or thinking about flying, he is a research scientist at a national laboratory.

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Alaba Gabriel Idowu, MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Idowu’s dream of becoming a pilot came true in 2004. He did not know how to achieve his goal financially, but his passion for the industry inspired him to secure admission into an aviation business school to study travel agency management/air ticketing and reservation. In 2005 his first step into an aviation career officially began after finishing classes at the international school of aviation (ISA) in Lagos, Nigeria.

He then worked for three travel agencies as a travel agency manager, and while working as a ticketing officer, Idowu pursued a National Diploma (ND) in computer science at Lagos State Polytechnic.

In 2010, Idowu moved to the United States to start a piloting career. In 2015 he obtained multi-engine CPL from Delta Qualiflight at Forth-Meacham, Texas and proceeded to enroll in Aviator College in Florida for CFI/CFII/MEI.

Idowu then worked with Hillsboro Aero Academy in Hillsboro, Oregon as a flight instructor and also a progress check instructor. He then also worked for Kansas State University as an advanced flight instructor.

Idowu currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and is working towards a Master of Science in Aviation Safety from the same university.

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James Archer MCFIJames Archer, MCFI 9/2020-9/2022:

Archer is a certificated Airline Transport Pilot for both multi-engine and single-engine land aircraft. With over 14 years as an instructor, he holds training certificates in instrument, single and multi-engine aircraft as well as an instrument and advanced ground instructor. Archer specializes in instrument training, instrument proficiency checks, flight reviews, and advanced ratings and certificates. He says he enjoys teaching aeronautical decision making, safety, and professionalism.  His aviation experience includes cabin class aircraft, the Beechcraft King Air 90 and 200 models.  He has also received ground and flight training for Boeing 737.

In August 2020, Archer was approved as a FAASTeam Representative and assigned as a remedial CFI by the FAA ATL FAASTeam Program Manager. Other activities include his assistance with the Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia with advanced flight and ground training curriculum development as well as with Georgia Skills USA Conferences.

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kennedy mcfiKevin Kennedy, Associate MCFI 8/2020-8/2022:

Kennedy flew solo in an airplane at the age of 16 with  friends and family watching.  Like so many others, the sense of freedom during flight is what got him hooked.  He went on to acquire a Private Pilot’s Certificate and an applied economics degree from Florida State University.  After a brief but accomplished stint on the business side of aviation, he decided to make a beeline for his dreams and enrolled in flight school full time. 

After earning CFI/CFII/MEI, Kennedy began his flight instructor career in Austin, TX where he saw enough success to add an FAA Gold Seal to his flight instructor certificate.  In addition to primary instructor, he has held roles such as Multi-Engine Flight Standards Instructor and Lead Instructor.  He now works as an Indoctrination Instructor for ATP Flight School in Jacksonville, FL where his function is to assist newly certificated CFIs who are just beginning their aviation journey.  Plane and Pilot Magazine has also published some of Kennedy’s work. 

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Lubomir MCFILubomir Gueorguiev, MCFI 8/2016-8/2022:

This is Gueorguiev Third consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Born in Russia, Gueorguiev started flying when he was 16 years old after meeting the first astronaut in space, Yuri Gagarin. His passion followed him to the United States in 1991 when he immigrated and began instructing professionally. Gueorguiev is a Chief Flight Instructor at Yoanna Flight School (d.b.a. Beaver Aviation) at Page Field Airport Fort Myers Florida. He is an ATP pilot, a Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI and Seaplane Flight Instructor.

Educated with a doctoral degree in nuclear physics, he said his passion has always been aviation. With more than 5,500 hours total time, and over 4,500 of them dual given Gueorguiev said he believes that flight safety starts with education.

For many years Gueorguiev has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community. He is a member of AOPA, is an EAA Young Eagle pilot, a major in the Civil Air Patrol, a FAAST Team Representative for the Tampa FSDO, and member of the United States Parachute Association. He is an ATP pilot, a Gold Seal CFI, CFII, and MEI. He said his flight training methodology emphasis on building proper skills and flight control, procedural compliance and safety culture.

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Terrence Way MCFITerence Way, MCFI 08/2020-08/2022:

This is Way’s second consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Way's first solo was in a Cessna 172 in Goodland, Kansas, with Heather Pittman as endorsing instructor.  His flying career extends from Hawaii - as a check airman for "Ohana By Hawaiian" inter-island passenger airline - to Boeing 737s in Alaska, sometimes even landing them on gravel strips!  Way is currently instructing with the Civil Air Patrol.

"I vividly remember the encounter that set me on the path to becoming an instructor - 'You want to really learn how to fly?  Try teaching someone else!'  Well, the circle was completed when I repeated the exact same words to a recent initial CFI candidate, who passed his checkride on the first attempt."

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Ury BraunUry Braun, Associate MCFI 08/2020-08/2022:

Braun was 12 years old when he took his first introduction flight and he says he knew then aviation was going to be his chosen career path.  Braun holds an ATP with B767/757, DC-9, HS-125, CL-600, EMB-120 and EMB145 type ratings.  He received his initial CFI rating at Double Eagle Aviation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991.  Since that time, he has added a CFII and MEI, Ground Instructor: Advanced/Instrument and taught at Part 61 and 141 flight schools in the southwest and southeast.  He eventually transitioned to the airline world and is a second- generation pilot for a major U.S. airline.  Braun grew up in the general aviation world and has owned a Bonanza and Baron and looks forward to owning a tail dragger in the future.  He currently instructs in the standards department at his airline, providing mountainous airport and Atlantic, South American theater check outs.  Braun graduated with a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, specializing in aviation safety and also provides free-lance flight instruction with an emphasis on what he calls his passion, instrument instructing.
Click to Download Ury's Press Release!


Baron WesemanAndreas ‘Baron’ Wesemann, MCFI 07/2020-07/2022:

Professor Wesemann is the Director of the Professional Pilot program at Utah State University, where he started a new online Master of Aviation Science Degree and drone program.  He joined Civil Air Patrol in 1981, garnered a solo scholarship that encouraged his childhood dream of becoming a military pilot, and helped him toward an appointment and his eventual graduation from The United States Air Force Academy and earning his silver wings.  Wesemann retired as a lieutenant colonel after a 27-year career flying the C-130 Hercules around the world as a combat rescue pilot and deployed combat commander, garnering distinguished graduate honors at aircraft commander’s school and exceptionally qualified on his instructor checkride.  He was recently selected as the Teacher of the Year for Utah State University for 2020 and serves on the board for the international Alpha Eta Rho Aviation Fraternity.  He has earned FAA WINGS validation at the basic, advanced, and masters levels on multiple occasions.  As an instructor pilot for over 20 years, he has a CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, Remote Pilot, was an instructor pilot in the U.S.A.F. for 5 different aircraft, and is completing his PhD in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on eLearning.

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John CooperJohn Cooper, MGI 04/2020-04/2022:

In 1956, Cooper was only 5 years old when his family flew from Albuquerque, NM to upstate New York on a DC-6 type airliner. The Captain asked if he wanted to come up to the cockpit. He put me on his lap as the turboprop cruised above the clouds. That was it... he was going to be a pilot.

It took Cooper a while to come back to that dream, but he bought a Cessna 150 in 1976 and earned his private license in Paris, TX. Cooper went on to Flight Safety in Vero Beach, FL to finish up Instrument, Commercial, and CFI. After that, he taught Private, Commercial, and, Instrument pilots while flying air freight in a Cherokee Six. With a MEI, he earned a job running the multi engine rating course for a company in Miami, FL in 1979 - 1980.

He was then able to serve in a PA 31 Navajo as Captain for Devoe Airlines, a Twin Otter as First Officer for Rocky Mountain Airways, and then a Metroliner for Pioneer Airlines out of Denver, CO. Unfortunately, Continental chose a competitor for their Continental Express, and the company went out of business.

Flash forward to 2018 when a friend approached him with a flying opportunity if he could get his medical and get current. The medical never came through, but Cooper was resolved to get back into aviation as a Ground Instructor. For the last year he has been the Ground Instructor for ATP CFI Academy in Arlington, TX.

Cooper has always had a great sense of fulfillment when seeing students come back from a check ride with a smile from ear to ear. Cooper says “watching them make it is what drives me to be the best Ground Instructor I can be.”

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Walter NewsomeWalter Newsome, MGI 03/2020-03/2022:











Stephen SancewichStephen Sancewich, MGI 03/2020-03/2022:

Stephen Sancewich began flying, while a finance professional, in 1999. He has years of operational and instructional experience in aircraft, ranging from the Piper Cub to the King Air 350i. Prior to instructing at the CFI Academy at ATP Flight School, he was the aviation instructor at a four-year aviation college where he developed and taught courses in aerodynamics, aviation meteorology, turbine operations, and crew-based instrument flying. When Sancewich is not flying, you’ll find him logging miles on a road or mountain bike, while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics.


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Zach HagelyZachary Hagely, MCFI 02/2020-02/2022:

Hagely said he first became interested in learning to fly in his early 20s when looking at career options. His stepdad suggested he talk to his brother about becoming a pilot. After some research, he quickly decided this was a career he would enjoy and began training at SIUC (Southern Illinois University Carbondale).

Hagely graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Management, and an Associate's Degree in Applied Science for Aviation Flight, and earning his commercial ASEL and CFI certificates. Coincidentally, the day he earned his CFI certificate, he received a call from a past instructor about an opportunity to interview at a new flight school he was managing, Elite Aviation at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. With help from senior instructors and management, Hagely quickly gained his footing, and took a lead role in developing training courses and procedures for the school. During his time there, Hagely achieved a CFII and a commercial AMEL certificate. He put instructing on hold for a short while to focus on airline training and earn an ATP.  He then began to work for a regional airline, where he is currently employed. Hagely says he still enjoys instructing part-time, and said that Flight instructing offers a special type of reward he hasn’t found elsewhere in passing knowledge forward, and helping pilots succeed in achieving their goals.

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William E. Dubois, MGI 01/2020-01/2022:

William E. Dubois is a CFI Academy ground instructor for Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) at the company’s KAPA location, where he helps to prepare new CFI candidates for their initial practical test. Dubois serves largely in a “teach the teacher” role, helping future instructors hone their classroom and cockpit education skills during ten-day intensive ground courses. He also travels the country for AOPA’s You Can Fly initiative, teaching Rusty Pilot seminars as one of the organization’s professional presenters.

Dubois, who’s been a FAA Certified Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor since 1984, also holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating, and has a degree in Aviation Technology.

In addition to instructing, Dubois is a prolific aviation writer whose credits include AOPA Pilot, CFI to CFI, EAA Sport Aviation, FAA Safety Briefing, Flight Training, Flying, Redbird Landing, Sun ‘n Fun Today, and The Pulse of Aviation. He pens Questions from the Cockpit, a monthly reader Q&A column for General Aviation News.

On the flying front, Dubois holds both a World and a National speed record; and is active with the Sport Air Racing League (SARL), where he’s a two-time national champion. An aviation history buff who has a fondness for old and antique airplanes, he recently chronicled his adventures re-flying one third of the transcontinental airmail route—using nothing but the 100-year-old written instructions—for Smithsonian Air & Space magazine.

In addition to NAFI, Dubois is a long-time AOPA member, and is a lifetime member of the Ercoupe Owners Club.

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Jennifer WatsonJennifer Watson, MCFI 01/2020-01/2022:

Watson began flying in August 2001 at Chandler Air Service in Arizona and was just about to solo when 9-11 happened. She earned her Private Certificate by December 2001 and headed off to finish her certificates and ratings with Mesa Air’s program in New Mexico. In February 2004, at the age of 23, with an associate’s degree in aviation and 300 hours of flight time, Watson became First Officer flying an 86-seat jet.

After four years at the airlines, when her oldest son was born, she realized it wasn’t her dream to be away from home all the time, so she took a break from flying but missed it every day. In 2011, Watson found a way to have both a flexible schedule and fly as much as she wanted by becoming a CFI. She said what I “didn’t anticipate is how much I would love teaching.”

The current owner of a flight school in San Jose, originally founded by Amelia Reid in 1960, took her under his wing, mentoring this new CFI with no real GA experience. With his support, Watson went on to earn tailwheel, CFII, MEI, ATP, and experience teaching aerobatics. When he decided to retire in 2014, he offered to sell the school. She and her husband, who is an IA mechanic, grown the school to three locations and half the fleet are still tailwheel. In June the school will celebrate 60 years.

As for flying goals, Watson desires to always be a student as well as teacher. In May she earned her Commercial ASES. This month she should complete Commercial Glider, followed later this year by CFI-G.

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Kyle JehnzenKyle Jehnzen, MCFI 03/2017-1/2022:

Jehnzen grew up near Mecosta, Michigan, and says he had an admiration for aviation at a very young age. He chose to attend Western Michigan University to turn admiration for aviation into a career, and began flying in 2007, and earned a private pilot’s license in the spring of 2008. Jehnzen then went on to graduate with cum laude honors in the winter of 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science, majoring in aviation flight science and minoring in geography.

After graduation Jehnzen was hired on as a part-time CFI at WMU and was quickly afforded the opportunity to obtain both a CFII and MEI. After obtaining full-time status in 2014 he was given the option of tuition reimbursement to pursue an MBA with aviation concentration, which he took full advantage of and completed in December of 2016.

Jehnzen now holds a faculty specialist position at WMU and instructs in its fleet of Cirrus and Piper aircraft, providing a wide array of flight training from initial training to end of course commercial pilot 141-stage checks. To date, he has over 1,500 hours of dual given in both aircraft and FTDs.

Along with flight instruction, Jehnzen teaches two sections of aviation meteorology for WMU’s aviation flight science and aviation management majors, as well as one section of the senior capstone class for aviation management students. He also holds ATP privileges for AMEL, commercial privileges for ASEL, and an FAA gold seal instructor with CFII, MEI, and IGI certificates. After having moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2007 Jehnzen decided he really liked the area and has lived there ever since. He lives with his fiancé, Jaclyn, only a few miles from the NAFI office. He said Living in the area led him to the opportunity to work at the NAFI booth at both Sun-n-Fun in 2014 and Oshkosh in 2015 and allowed him to meet many of the people that make this organization a great advocate for flight instruction.

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Aaron Dabney, MCFI 8/2013-12/2021:

This is Dabney’s fourth NAFI Master Accreditation. Dabney owns and operates Waco Flight Training in Waco, Texas.  A full-time flight instructor since 2009, he took the plunge and opened his own company in 2013 with plans to specialize in tailwheel transition training. 

Along the way, he’s grown and adapted his company to meet the growing demand for flight training and now mentors a team of full and part-time instructors who provide training for all single-engine certificates and ratings.  He said he strongly believes in integrating time-tested stick-and-rudder teaching with contemporary thinking about risk mitigation and decision making to produce pilots who are lifelong students of aviation.

Dabney holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration from Baylor University, where he has served since 2010 as an adjunct lecturer in the Aviation Science department.  Dabney and his wife Alisa love to travel and are passionate about their small businesses.

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Jay NaborsJay Nabors, MCFI 12/2019-12/2021:

Nabors has been flying since 1975. He holds a private pilot rotorcraft/helicopter; Commercial ASEL, ATP AMEL certificates and a SIC type rating in a Citation CE500. He has been a flight instructor since 2014 and holds CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and IGI instructor ratings.  He is an FAASTeam representative and has organized several ATC townhalls to connect the general aviation community with ATC controllers. Nabors has served aviation in a variety of roles including aviation flying club board of directors member, mentoring to newly minted CFIs, and conducted Children’s Flight of Hope and Pilot’s and Paws flights.  He is an FAA designated pilot examiner with over 200 checkrides conducted in the last year. He holds examining authority for private, commercial and instrument ASEL as well as flight instructor initial, renewal and reinstatement ASEL.  His other flying passions include corporate flying in a Diamond DA-42 and DA-62, Pilatus PC-12, Kingair 250 and a Citation V.



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Ron TimmermansRon Timmermans, MCFI/MGI 11/2019-11/2021:

This is Timmermans’ second Master Flight as well as his second Master Ground Instructor Accreditation.

Timmermans earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 1972 and went on to add Commercial, Instrument, CFI/MEI, ATP, and Remote Pilot to his credentials.

Shortly after he became a CFI-IA/MEI-IA, he began working with the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program providing ground and flight instruction to owners of Beech Bonanzas and Barons. He also began a part-time independent flight instruction practice in the North Texas area. Now established in central Florida, Timmermans has a sizable following of Beechcraft clients who seek his professional ground and flight training services for recurrent training, transition to high-performance aircraft, instrument training and IPCs, multiengine and other specialized training.

Selected by AOPA to become one of a select group of professional ground instructors for the AOPA Rusty Pilots program, Timmermans is now making presentations around the United States as an ambassador to encourage and re-train inactive pilots in an attempt to help them experience the thrill of flying once again. Timmermans continues his aviation education and self-development through online and in person training opportunities like the NAFI Professional Development Center. He has earned FAA WINGS validation at the Basic, Advanced, and Masters levels on multiple occasions. He is a FAASTeam Lead Representative and frequently makes presentations at WINGS seminars.

In his pro bono work for the Florida Aviation Network, he has helped disseminate the knowledge and experience of his fellow aviation professionals through YouTube and other channels. Over the years at Sun ‘n Fun, Timmermans has conducted many live interviews, more than 20 in 2019 alone. He has interviewed NAFI Board Chairman Bob Meder several times.

Timmermans has also hosted several NAFI MentorLIVE broadcasts.  Timmermans is a dedicated leader in the WINGS Industry Advisory Committee—a coalition of NAFI and other industry members as well as FAA personnel dedicated to improving the WINGS program and encouraging more pilots and CFIs to earn a phase of WINGS and improve aviation safety.

Timmermans was selected as the 2017 CFI of the Year for the Orlando, Florida FAA Flight Standards District Office and also for the FAA Southern Region. In addition, he was the recipient of the first Larry D. Enlow Award for his contributions to aviation safety and training in the Orlando FSDO.

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John "Mike" Hardin, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Hardin grew up spending time at Terrell Texas Municipal Airport (KTRL). He says his earliest memory of aviation was flying with his dad at the age of 6. He started flight training at 13 in 1999, and earned his Instrument, Commercial, and CFI in 2008 while working at his family FBO, Terrell Aviation. He then earned his MEI in 2010, and started his own flight school; Mike’s Flying Service a year later, specializing in accelerated Multi Engine training in a Piper Apache. In 2012, Hardin earned his CFII and in 2014 obtained A&P certification.

In 2018, he celebrated hitting 10,000 hours by getting his seaplane ratings in a Piper Super Cruiser and a Grumman Widgeon. With over 11,000 hours and 6,000 dual given, Hardin has flown over 60 types of aircraft, and has served as the Region 11 director of the Ercoupe owners club since 2013. He has ferried planes, flown pipeline aerial patrol all over the country in Cessna Cardinals, and flown for local clients but says most of his time is spent instructing in everything from Ercoupes to King Airs.

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Mark Overman, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Overman is serving in the U.S. Air Force as an Instructor Mission Crew Commander on the E-3 AWACS, where he has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve. As an adjunct instructor, Overman teaches collegiate courses in CRM and aircraft performance. Working as a freelance flight instructor in the Oklahoma City area, Overman says he “finds instructing in general aviation incredibly rewarding and truly enjoys it.” He serves in the Civil Air Patrol as assistant Wing Standards and Evaluation Officer, Check Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Glider Orientation Pilot, Tow Pilot and Mission Pilot.  Every summer Overman volunteers as an instructor pilot in the CAP Southwest Region Powered Flight Academy.  He is also a FAASTeam Representative with the Will Rogers FSDO.  In his spare time he enjoy spending time with his wife, son, two dogs and even the cat!

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Dr. Peter Dittmer, MCFI 10/1998-10/2002, 05/2014-11/2021:

This is Dittmer’s fifth NAFI Master CFI Accreditation. Dittmer works at Central Washington University as the “Chair” of a very busy CFR 141 flight department.  He says he has always enjoyed flight training, and particularly enjoys working with students in their journey to become professional aviators.  Dittmer is developing research on assessment modeling for private pilot students in CFR 141 programs.  A CFI for over 30 years, he has a CFI, CFII, MEI, “Gold Seal” ATP, and Ed.D.

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Eric Hineman, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Hineman started his initial flight training in Iowa at the age of 17 and went for his Private Pilot Certificate on September 11, 2001. After completion of his Private Certificate, Hineman Enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and started his aircraft maintenance career on the B-1B in Rapid City, SD.  While in maintenance, his passion for aviation blossomed and he went on to earn his initial CFI rating in 2005 and subsequently earned his CFII, MEI, and CFI-G as well.  Simultaneously, he went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (World Wide) to complete his Bachelors Degree in Professional Aeronautics and subsequently earned his Commission in the Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer.

Hineman has instructed in many parts of the United States. and says he enjoys all aspects of aviation.  He continues to serve in the U.S. Air Force in aircraft maintenance while flight instructing part time.  In addition to his flight ratings, he is also an A&P, and says he enjoys working on and maintaining airplanes.  Hineman is also a member of EAA and enjoys giving Young Eagle flights in addition to being a Civil Air Patrol member who actively participates in National Flight Academy activities as well as being a Check Pilot. He says one of his favorite part about being in aviation is helping others reach their aviation goals.

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Mark Cook, MCFI 11/2019-11/2021:

Cook says he knew he wanted to be a pilot since high school and his first airplane ride in Boeing 707.  After obtaining his private pilot certificate becoming an airport rat, Larry Diffley, the owner of Bemidji Aviation Services, Inc. encouraged Cook to obtaining his commercial rating and switch careers and go to work for him.

Cook started his professional pilot career as night “freight dog” flying Beech Queen Airs.  He sought his initial CFI because Cook he the ability to provide flight instruction to his friends.  Cook is currently working as contract pilot for three construction companies and as an independent flight instructor.  He has remained an active CFI who has a special fondness for tail wheel, skis and float plane instruction.

While working at Bemidji Aviation Cook developed a Part 61 flight training program that continues successfully today.  As a Minneapolis FSDO FAA Safety Team Representative, Cook has hosted and presented aviation safety seminars throughout northern Minnesota, on topics ranging from winter operations to airplane performance.  The highlight of his instructional career was signing the endorsements for his wife Dawn's initial CFI ride (she passed).

He currently holds Commercial, Multi-Engine, Instrument as well as CFI-CFII-IGI and is commercial drone operator.  Cook has flown over 7400 hours with 1800 hours of instruction given, and flown over 50 different types of airplanes.  He enjoys flying his Champion 7GCB on his free days.


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Goetz MCFISteven Goetz, MCFI 8/2011-10/2021:

This is Goetz’s fifth NAFI Master Accreditation. Goetz says he has been interested in flying since he was a kid. In his decade as a CFI, he’s earned an ATP, Remote Pilot – SUAS, gold seal CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI, and A&P. In 2008, he began flight instructing for Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), where he is currently an Assistant Professor and Assistant Chief Flight Instructor under their Part 141 certificate providing both flight training and student evaluation for the university. In addition to his work for SIUC, Goetz is a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) as well as a FAA Safety Team Representative. Goetz also serves with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as a check pilot, mission pilot, and deputy commander for his local unit.


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Sarah RovnerSarah Rovner, MCFI 9/2017-9/2021:

This is Rovner’s second NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Rovner is currently a FAA Safety Team Lead Representative and 757/767 pilot for a major U.S. airline. She holds an ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI and has flown over 5300 hours with 1500 hours of instruction given. Rovner has flown over 124 different types of airplanes in 15 different countries including oceanic crossings in small aircraft.

She is the owner and chief pilot of FullThrottle Aviation; which was launched in 2013 as a small flight school and grew to an international business with over 20 pilots moving airplanes around the world today. She continues to stay involved in general aviation through her leadership roles and volunteering for different aviation organizations. Although much of her flying is now in jetliners, she enjoys flying and instructing in her Super Cub, Patches, on her days off. As a regular fly-in attendee of Oshkosh, she says she enjoys the company and camaraderie that General Aviation brings.

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Jerrold Seckler, MGI 8/2015-10/2021:

This is Seckler’s third consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Seckler has been flying for 53 years.  During that time he has amassed over 7,000 hours in a variety of General Aviation aircraft. Seckler holds an ATP certificate as well as CFII, AGI and IGI certificates.

Seckler is a former Board Member of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association and currently serves as the Dean of the College of Flight Operations of COPA University, the training and education arm of that organization. He regularly teaches at the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Programs and presents classes on aviation weather, preflight briefings, instrument procedures, regulations, and aeronautical decision-making.

He has also flown over 100 flights for Angel Flight Central and serves on AFC’s Safety Committee.

Two years ago he was honored to receive the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying.

In a previous life Seckler was a surgeon specializing in urology, as well as a FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. Seckler owns a 2001 Cirrus SR22, which he has flown for over 3,000 hours.

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Christopher Rothe, MCFI 9/2019-9/2021:

Rothe started flying gliders with the Civil Air Patrol, earning his glider instructor rating at 16. A graduate of Metro State University in Denver, he joined the Air Force Reserve as a C-130 Aircraft Commander and instructor at Peterson AFB, transferring to the academy in 2014 as a soaring instructor. He currently flies Airbus A-319/320s for a major airline, and is a USAF Reserve evaluator and instructor for the Air Force Academy soaring-racing team.


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John "Mike" Kehoe, MCFI 6/2015-8/2021:

This is Kehoe’s third consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Kehoe has held the CFI designation for almost 35 years. He currently holds Commercial, Multi-Engine, Instrument as well as CFI-CFII-MEI-AGI-AGII. He has been a Senior Instructor, Chief Flight Instructor and Director of Aviation, Stage Check Airman & End of Course Check Ride Examiner for Part 141 schools.
Kehoe says one of the most satisfying moments in aviation is watching a student’s “first solo flight.” A close second would be your student passing a checkride the first time.

Kehoe served in Vietnam with F Company, 51st Infantry (LRRP) as well as the 82nd AB. He has four children and four grandchildren. He still enjoys flight instructing and he has also taught sky-diving, scuba diving and snow skiing.

When asked to sum up life as a professional flight instructor, Kehoe said: “What a great career, being a flight instructor, where else can you experience the thrill and joy of “first time experiences” over and over again.”

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Wallace Moran, MCFI 6/2001-8/2021:

This is Moran’s tenth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Moran was recently honored as the 2017 Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductee, and as a 2013 recipient of NAFI’s Jack J. Eggspuehler Service Award, among other accolades.

Moran started his aviation career as a General Aviation flight instructor and later worked in the airline industry as a pilot and training instructor. He was an FAA check airman on many airline aircraft, including the Boeing 747, which he flew for 12 years, and the Boeing 767. He also spent many years in airline management as training supervisor, chief pilot and VP of safety and engineering. He has also been active in general aviation as an airplane owner and flight instructor and has given more than 4,000 hours of flight instruction in GA airplanes and gliders.

He is currently working as an FAA designated pilot examiner, independent flight instructor and FAA FAASTeam member. Wallace lives in Summerville, South Carolina.

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Michael L. Kloch, MCFI 6/2017-9/2021:

This is Kloch’s second NAFI Master Accreditation. Kloch said he knew he wanted to be a pilot before he ever flew. He learned to fly at U.S. Navy  flight school and became a Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot. He served a combat tour flying over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch. Kloch later attended the Aviation Safety Officer’s course at the Naval Postgraduate School and served as a safety officer and F/A-18 standardization officer for all Marine Corps reserve F/A-18 squadrons.

After the Marine Corps Kloch attended Central Oregon Community College (COCC) in Bend, Oregon to earn his CFI, CFII and MEI ratings as well as Commercial and Instrument helicopter ratings along with night vision goggle (NVG) qualification. He worked as a full-time CFI for Leading Edge Aviation (LEA) and eventually became the Chief Airplane Flight instructor. He also became a part-time instructor at COCC teaching Technically Advanced Aircraft and Airport Management classes.

Kloch went on to develop an Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) program as the Chief Instructor Pilot for Advanced Flight Dynamics (AFD) of Redmond, Oregon, which became the UPRT provider for COCC. At AFD he taught UPRT, aerobatics and tailwheel in the Super Decathlon. Kloch also taught in AFD’s Fouga Magisters, a first-generation military jet trainer. He also has worked as a contract pilot for Elite Pilot Services, flying Evolution airplanes. Kloch also flew a Fouga Magister in the Airshow of the Cascades for the past two years.

After a brief time working as an EMS pilot in the C90 King Air, Kloch went to work At Epic Aircraft in 2017 as a factory test pilot and instructor. He is part of Epic’s E1000 flight test team working on FAA certification as well as instructing current Epic LT aircraft owners.
When not working as a test pilot Kloch stays busy conducting spin endorsement training at LEA with a specialized course he designed and he also teaches independently.

Kloch 's education includes a BS in Exercise and Sports Science from Oregon State University and two AAS degrees in aviation from COCC. He also enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, shooting, boating and generally anything outdoors. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do that he earned while stationed in Iraq.

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Ed Pataky, MCFI 6/2017-7/2021:

Ed Pataky says he has been interested in aviation since he was a kid. He began flying in 1968, soloing on his 16th birthday in 1972 and earning his private certificate a year later.  Pataky obtained his basic and advanced ground instructor certificates in 1975 and taught for several years in that capacity. He returned to actively flying in 2002, earning his seaplane rating and instrument ground Instructor certificate in 2003. His instrument rating and commercial and glider ratings soon followed.  In 2006, he earned an aircraft dispatcher certificate, and served as a dispatcher at Express Jet airlines for over five years.  Pataky has been an active flight instructor since 2006, and has over 1200 hours in that capacity.  He hopes to continue to expand his role as an instructor and earn additional instructor ratings in the near future.

Pataky's education consists of two bachelor degrees from the University of Houston, in geography and economics, a master of science degree from Texas A&M, and master degree from the University of Houston in International Relations, as well as an MBA. He has worked a full spectrum of jobs, including 25 years as a broadcast engineer and on-air personality in the Houston market, along with several potions totaling over 10 years with Continental Airlines' operations, and as an aircraft dispatcher again.  He teaches political science and economics at Lone Star College, where he has worked for over 30 years. Over the past 4 years, Pataky has formulated and taught ground school classes at several airports and flight schools.

He has owned a 1977 Cessna 150 “M” model since 2004.

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Matthew P.R. McDaniel, MCFI 7/2003-7/2021:

This is McDaniel’s ninth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.
McDaniel has been an active CFI for 27 years and has specialized in Cirrus and other Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) instruction for the past 18 years. In that capacity, he is a Platinum Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP). He also enjoys teaching in antique taildraggers, such as the Globe/Temco Swift, has flown nearly 100 aircraft types, and holds eight turbine aircraft type ratings. As a freelance aviation author, McDaniel has published over 100 articles in a dozen 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, WI, where he lives with his wife and two children.

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Tarike Delisser, MCFI 06/2019-06/2021:

Delisser is from the Caribbean island of Jamaica, and says that as a young boy visiting the Normal Manley International Airport in Kingston seeing local pilots around planes inspired him to want to fly. Delisser has traveled and lived in many countries. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the University of the West Indies and shortly afterward decided to pursue a professional pilot's training course in Canada where he obtained his commercial certificate.

After moving to the United States, Delisser achieved his Gold Seal Flight Instructor rating and CFI, CFII, MEI , IGI, AGI, ATP. In addition to instructing Delisser flies as an airline pilot at regional airline, is a captain in the Civil Air Patrol, and volunteers with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) where he conducts aerospace education and works to inspire disadvantaged youth to pursue flight. Click to Download Tarike's Press Release!

Dan Meyer, MCFI 03/2019-03/2021:

Meyer was born in 1965 and raised in Granger, Iowa and is the youngest of 9 children. He attended Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines and received a basketball scholarship at Simpson College. He says he always had a burning desire to fly. He dropped out of college at age 19 in 1985 and joined the U.S. Army as a Warrant Officer Candidate to attend the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Aviation Course in Ft. Rucker, AL. Meyer became a WO1 and began to fly the UH1H, flying medevac missions in the United States with a short stint in Honduras.

Meyer says he quickly realized he loved all things about aviation and worked to obtain all the fixed wing ratings from private to MEI while working to finish a bachelor’s degree. HE began his CFI career at Haps Air Service in Ames, Iowa and quickly moved up to the Charter Department flying a very diverse collection of airplanes. Meyer also flew night freight in Cessna twins and Corporate King Airs. He accepted a job with Rocky Mountain Airways in Denver to fly BE1900s and ATR 42s. In early 1992, he accepted a job as a flight engineer on the B727 at American Airlines at the age of 26. At American Meyer flew the B727, MD80, F100, MD11, B757, B767, B777 and finally his current duty, the B787 from Amrican's hub in LAX to points across the Pacific Ocean. Meyer also flies part time for Billings Flying Service as a helicopter and airplane Instructor.

Meyer was U.S. Forest Service carded and type-rated in the Bell 205 and Sikorsky 61 and has served on fire fighting missions throughout the western states when needed. He has remained a current and very active CFI who enjoys meeting and flying with pilots young and old. Meyer lives in Billings, Montana with his wife of 25 years and his four children.

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Karen A. Kalishek, MCFI 03/2017-03/2021:

This is Kalishek’s second NAFI Master Instructor Accreditation.
Karen Ann Kalishek was an aviation late bloomer. As happens to many pilots, after lessons at a younger age, life got in the way for decades.  She became a certified public accountant, licensed real estate broker, bank executive, taught finance courses in graduate school, and for 20 years ran her own firm providing international consulting services in 37 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Then the aviation bug bit once again and did not let go.

Kalishek is now an independent Master and Gold Seal Flight Instructor with ATP, CFI, CFII, CFIME, CFI-Glider, AGI and IGI certificates. She has a special fondness for antique and experimental aircraft, and flies her own Van's RV-6. She is also a Cirrus Training Center Instructor. Kalishek is a captain in the Civil Air Patrol, serving as a CAP volunteer flight instructor, G1000 instructor, check pilot, safety officer, aerospace education officer, public affairs officer, special flight release officer, mission pilot and cadet orientation pilot.
Kalishek serves on the NAFI board of directors and is a member of the Wings Industry Advisory Committee. In 2014, she founded the Green Bay IMC Club, and serves as its leader and club coordinator. For the past five years, she has served as volunteer CFI Manager at the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center during AirVenture. Since 2006, she has served as treasurer of EAA Chapter 651, and is an EAA Flight Advisor for the chapter. Kalishek is a member of Women in Aviation, The Ninety Nines and Women Soaring Pilots Association.

Kalishek has served as FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Milwaukee FSDO since 2015, as a FAASTeam Representative since 2013 and was recently named the 2019 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year.

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Andrew Dow, MGI 2/2013-3/2021, MCFI 2/2011-3/2021:

This is Dow’s fifth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor Accreditation and fourth consecutive NAFI Master Ground Instructor Accreditation.

Dow was about 12 years old traveling to Washington D.C. when he could remember one of his first flight on an airline. He said he remembers being pushed back in his seat when the airliner lined up on the runway and applied full takeoff power to the engines. He also remembers taking road trips with his mom and she made sure to always point out the airports they drove by and the airplanes that flew overhead. It was when he enrolled in an Explorer’s Post for Aviation through the Boy Scouts of America that becoming a pilot became a career focus.

Dow enrolled in the Aviation Program at Iowa Central Community College, where he earned an Associates Degree in Aviation along with earning Commercial and Flight Instructor certificates. He started his career in aviation in 2003 working as a flight instructor for Great River Aviation in Quincy, IL.  It was during this job that he discovered a passion of teaching others how to fly.  Dow worked up through the roles of assistant chief flight instructor to chief flight instructor in the flight school's FAA Part 141 Program and became the chief pilot and director of operations for its Part 135 Charter certificate.  Dow also started teaching at Quincy University as an adjunct instructor of aviation in 2005 and eventually became an assistant professor of aviation and the aviation program coordinator, which helped him start a career as an educator and full-time flight instructor.

Dow recently started working as an independent flight instructor training students in the Quincy, IL and surrounding airports and as contract pilot for a corporate aviation department.  Dow also became a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the Springfield, IL FSDO in 2017, conducting pilot practical test examinations for various pilot certificates and ratings.  He currently has administered over 200 practical tests and said he enjoys giving back to the aviation industry, which has given me so much over the years.

Dow, who earned his Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout of America several years ago, now has the privilege of being an aviation merit badge counselor and has helped 87 Boy Scouts earn their aviation merit badge to date.  He also is a Federal Aviation Administration FAASTeam Representative for the Springfield, IL District Office hosting and presenting aviation safety seminars throughout the region.  He belongs to several aviation organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Aviation Trades Association.

In 2014, he was awarded the “Brown Jacket Award” at the EAA AirVenture from the IMC Club, and was awarded “Coach of the Year” award by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association for Region VIII during the 2014 and 2016 SAFECON competitions. Dow was also recently honored as a “Distinguished Flight Instructor” through AOPA’s Flight Training Experience Award in both 2017 and 2018.

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Benjamin Porch, MCFI 04/2019-04/2021:


Porch says he has been fascinated by aviation and airplanes since he was young. Upon graduating high school, he attended LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, completing a degree in aviation with a concentration in mission aviation. Porch has instructed in Texas and Minnesota across a range of types including single-engine, multi-engine, tailwheel, high performance, and technically advanced aircraft. He is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot, FAA Gold Seal Instructor, and has over 3,000 hours, with over 2,500 hours of flight instruction given.
In addition to a relaxed and joyful approach to being a flight instructor, Porch is a certificated airframe & powerplant aircraft mechanic who enjoys working on aircraft as well.

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David Yost, MCFI 03/2017-03/2021:

This is Yost’s second NAFI Master Accreditation.

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. He received his  initial CFI 31/2 years later 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 three students for the Private Pilot certificate and one for the Instrument Rating – all successful on their first attempt. In addition to 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. Yost is also looking forward to adding a glider rating to his commercial certificate this summer.

Outside of flying, he works in the computer IT industry for a major computer manufacturer. He is married to Shawn, his wife of 39 years. They have two sons and a three-year-old granddaughter. In his "spare time," Yost enjoys the occasional round of golf. Fortunately, he says, he flies better than he plays golf!

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Domenic Lafauci, Associate MCFI 02/2017-02/2021:

This is Lafauci's second consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

On his 20th birthday, LaFauci fulfilled a childhood dream and took to the skies for the first time. The seemingly innocuous discovery flight changed everything; he was hooked. In a matter of months, he found himself driving an over-packed Jeep from Massachusetts to Daytona Beach, Florida; home of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. It was there, that LaFauci would earn a Commercial Pilot certificate, an Aircraft Dispatcher certificate and his AGI and IGI ratings.

While at ERAU, LaFauci purchased an unfinished Bede BD-5 from a local EAA Chapter. He housed it in his living room, which was not easy to explain to his newlywed wife. However, with her help, he was able to convince the school's legal board to take the aircraft on as an educational endeavor for the benefit of the students. This project would eventually lead him to rub elbows with NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott, as well as some of the top mechanics in the country. He used this project as a way to get students involved with airplane design. Students from the pilot, aerospace engineering and mechanics disciplines all participated in building the BD-5.

Post-graduation, LaFauci instructed for Bridgewater State University's Part 141 Aviation Science Program. He worked his way up to the position of Staff Assistant for Records and Compliance. LaFauci managed the university's aviation outreach programs and hosted BSU flight program annual open house, career expo, and FAASTeam safety events. LaFauci also served as advisor of the Bridgewater State University Aviation Flight Team and lead the team into the NIFA Safecon 2018 National Competition.

During this time, LaFauci earned his Instrument and Multi-engine Instructor certificates and worked part-time at East Coast Aero Club, where he says he satisfies his passion for vintage tailwheel, multi-engine, and high-performance airplane instruction. 

LaFauci is pursuing a masters degree in education and is scheduled to graduate in May of 2019. He recently begun working with Wiggins Airways as a PIC on the Beechcraft BE-99, and continues to educate others through his website He says he hopes to someday teach out of turbine-driven aerobatic aircraft.

Click to Download Domenic's Press Release!

Richard "Dick" Rochfort, MCFI 2/2005-2/2021:

This is Rochfort’s eighth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Rochfort is an Airline Transport Pilot and Master Instructor providing training, consulting, aircraft relocation and expert witness services worldwide to owners, pilots and instructors of the Piper PA-46 aircraft through his company, RWR Pilot Training and The Professional Association of Pilot Instructors (PAPI) of which he is a founding member.

He holds ATP, Commercial and Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificates with SEL, SES, MEL, CFII, MEI, and CE-525S ratings. He has been actively involved in flight training as an instructor since 1992.

Rochfort has researched, written and published hundreds of articles and demonstration videos specific to the operation of Piper PA-46 aircraft. This body of work comprises the PA46 Pilot Reference Library, which is the single largest on-line collection of its kind. Additionally, he creates and manages more than 6,500 personal training videos and documents on over 100 private on-line reference libraries each year for his training customers.

Rochfort’s training programs are PA-46 type-specific, insurance industry approved, FAA Industry Training Standards (FITS) approved, FAA Wings approved and they are fully insured.

Rochfort is an FAA FAASTeam volunteer for the Baltimore FSDO, a National Industry Member of the FAA Safety Team, a member of the national FAA Wings Industry Advisory Committee, Director Emeritus of the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association (M/MOPA), and Instructor Emeritus of the M/MOPA Safety and Training Foundation. He is a member of EAA and NBAA. He is also the Official Meridian Instructor for Red Bull Air Racer Kirby Chambliss and Team Chambliss.

Rochfort served as a “Green Beret” staff sergeant E6 in the U.S. Army Special Forces from 1970 until 1976 as an “A team” radio operator, training indigenous personnel in field radio communications. He worked from 1976 until 1991 as an industrial engineer training manufacturing personnel for the production of communication and navigation equipment for the U.S. military.

His education includes undergraduate degrees in clinical psychology and engineering, and a master’s degree in business administration. Rochfort lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and has two daughters. He is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified open water scuba instructor, a DAN (Divers Alert Network) certified first aid instructor and an Eagle Scout.

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Anthony Cirincione, MCFI 2/2019-2/2021

Cirincione has over 39 years, and 11,000 hours of flight experience, flying almost every aircraft. His holds a Gold Seal CFI with airplane, helicopter, gyrocopter, glider, weight shift control, and powered parachute, FE – Turbojet, and A&P with Inspection Authorization. He began his aviation career as a crew chief in the U.S. Air Force. From there he became a F-111 Instructor and flight examiner, and later an instructor at the U.S.A.F. Fighter Weapons School flying the F-4 Phantom. He is type-rated in Cessna, Learjet, Dassault, and Boeing aircraft. Cirincione has a master's degree in aeronautical science and has published Advanced Flight Instruction – A teaching Guide for Aviators. Although he teaches in several light sport aircraft, he spends most of his time refining pilot’s skills for safe single pilot operation of Cessna Citation aircraft. For a closer look at his Citation work, go to

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Christopher Anderson, MCFI 12/2000-1/2021

This is Anderson’s 10th NAFI Master Accreditation. Anderson began his aviation career in 1983 in Janesville, Wisconsin. After flying for a local charter operation, he moved to the Chicago area where he became a corporate pilot for a Fortune 100 company. Anderson moved back to Wisconsin in 1999 to work for Midwest Airlines and became a Master CFI and Designated Pilot Examiner with the Milwaukee FSDO.  After the closure of Midwest Express, he is now once again, working in corporate aviation. Since earning his flight instructor certificate in 1986, Anderson has expanded it to include six of the seven ratings.

With over 20,000 hours of flight experience in a wide variety aircraft, he provides training and check rides for multiple certificates and ratings. Currently based out of the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport, Anderson is willing to travel to meet his customers' needs. He has written several articles and has published The Multi Engine Flight Training Guide.

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Gary Reeves, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Reeves has over 7,500 hours in over 50 different aircraft including turbo-prop, and turbo-fan most of which is instruction given. In the last two years, he’s taught in over 30 states and is a popular public speaker on aviation safety. Reeves says his goal is to reduce General Aviation accidents through free FAA Safety Classes, video training, and articles. He is chief safety officer and owner of and chief flight instructor and owner of Master Flight Training. He was awarded 2016 FAA Instructor of the year for the Western Pacific Region, as well as 2014 Flight Instructor and FAA Safety Team Member of the Year Long Beach District. To learn more about Gary please visit


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Gabriel Johnson, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Johnson hails from a small town called Ejigbo in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to flying, he attended the University of Lagos, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. After graduation, Johnson became a web designer, but had always dreampt of becoming a professional pilot. He moved to the United States to commence flight training in a Cessna 172 in 2011.  Johnson has since earned a bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance science at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. He has also earned his CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, IGI, ATP and mechanic licenses. Johnson has worked in the flight training industry for over 5 years and is currently a flight instructor at ERAU, Daytona Beach.

Johnson has a passion for both flight and aviation safety. He is currently a team safety leader at the ERAU flight department. From investigating ASAP reports to delivering safety related presentations, he strives to promote aviation safety at every opportunity. Johnson also works with the OBAP ACE academy to promote aviation to high school students who dream of becoming pilots.

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Gene Peterson, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Peterson became a CFI, CFII and MEI in 1974.  In 1977 he went to work for Braniff Airways. He moved to Northwest Airlines in 1982, and went along when it merged with Delta in 2006.  All the while he kept on teaching.  Some days it would be in a Cessna 172 and the next day checking out a new pilot on the 747.  In his 35,000 hours total time, Peterson has flown anything from the Ercoupe to F-16s and 747s. When asked to comment on 45 years of teaching Peterson said, "Each airplane is a little bit different, but the fundamentals of flying never change.  It's the fundamentals that will always bring you home safe. Always try and instill that in your students."

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James "Steve" Rutland, MCFI 9/2000-1/2021:

This is Rutland’s 10th consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Rutland is a professional pilot and flight instructor with 45 years of aviation experience beginning in 1973 in Murray, Kentucky. He completed his first FAA flight instructor certificate in 1978 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  He attended U.S. Army flight training in 1975 and is a Master Army Aviator. He is also a U.S. Coast Guard Aviator, having served as a search and rescue pilot for the Guard.  Rutland has 37 years experience as a government civilian flight instructor for the U.S. Army Aviation School of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alabama.  He holds three Airline Transport Pilot ratings (ASEL, AMEL, Helicopter), five FAA flight instructor ratings (CFI -ASEL, AMEL, Helicopter, CFII - Airplane and Helicopter), two type ratings, and is a graduate of 10 different military instructor pilot courses.  He has flown 20,600 accident-free flight hours in 11 different helicopters and 13 different airplanes.  He has given 17,000 hours of dual instruction in flight with thousands more in flight simulators. While working part-time with Title 14 CFR 141 and 61 flight schools he has trained airplane single and multiengine land student pilots for the Private, Commercial, Instrument, Airline Transport Pilot, and Flight Instructor certificates.  He is a Gold Seal flight instructor and FAASTeam representative for the Birmingham FSDO.  He was selected for the FAA Flight Instructor of the Year for Alabama and NW Florida in 2001, 2002, and 2014.

As a civilian flight instructor at Fort Rucker, he has trained military officers from every branch of the U.S. armed forces and every rank from warrant officer candidate to colonel. At the Army Aviation School he has provided ground and flight training in a broad range of programs of flight instruction including; primary, instruments, combat skills, aero scout, night vision goggles, advanced aircraft qualification, and the UH60 Instructor Pilot Course.   He has served as an UH60 Standardization Instructor Pilot/Instrument Flight Examiner to provide continuity and mentor newly assigned instructor pilots. He was selected as the Department of the Army Civilian of the Year by the Aviation Center Chapter of the Army Aviation Association of America, and revived the Superior Civilian Service Award from the Department of the Army.

Rutland has been employed by the Safety Research Corporation of America to edit the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook and has taught as an adjunct instructor for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  He completed his master’s degree from Embry Riddle in aeronautical science in 1988.  In 2014 he was selected for the Alumni Achievement Award from Embry Riddle for an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the aviation and aerospace industry through their personal and professional success.

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Maureen Garrow, MCFI 02/2017-02/2021:

Garrow began her flight training and received her private pilot certification as a Christmas gift in 1995. Since flying is her passion, she continued her training to earn her instrument, and commercial ratings shortly afterward at United Flight Systems.

Garrow achieved her CFI rating on her 66th birthday in 2014 and her CFII followed shortly. She says her love of teaching combined with flying provides a great deal of satisfaction, especially for the “a-ha” moments when students achieve understanding. She was affiliated with a flight school and served as assistant chief instructor until August of 2016. Garrow is now an independent flight instructor and has been a FAASTeam representative since 2014. She was awarded her FAA Gold Seal instructor in July of 2016.

If you ask Garrow she’ll say, “Any day I can fly is a good day and any day teaching is a great day.” Garrow enjoys attending Wings meeting and promoting pilot and student participation. Her goal as a flight instructor is to produce safe, professional pilots. "I hope to continue instructing and being a mentor for years to come," she said.

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Richard Whittemore, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Whittemore is from Chattanooga, TN. He says he fell in love with aviation at the age of 14. He worked two jobs in landscaping and as a construction hand in order to pay for flight training as a 16-year-old student. At the same time, he also began studying aviation at the local community college. Later that year he soloed and, just a year after beginning flight training, earned his private pilot certificate at the age of 17.

Whittemore eventually completed a degree in aviation management and began managing the small airport/FBO and flight school where he learned to fly. While there, Whittemore completed advanced flight training and began instructing for the school. He then began flying a Beechcraft Baron for a corporation.

Whittemore holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with Airplane Single and Multi Engine Land and Commercial privileges for Airplane Single Engine Sea and Helicopter. He also holds a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate for Airplane Single and Multi Engine and Instrument - Airplane as well as Rotorcraft-Helicopter. He is also an Instrument Ground Instructor and Commercial Drone Operator. He currently holds SIC type ratings for the Beechcraft PremierJet and the Cessna Citation XLS+. He is also the current FAA Safety Team (FAAST) representative with the San Antonio FSDO for the Laredo area. He is co-owner/manager/chief flight instructor for the only dual rated flight school in south Texas and owns/operates an aviation business that provides professional aircraft management and services. All of this is in addition to his full-time job as a Helicopter and Airplane pilot for a Part 91 operator.

Whittemore’s says his goal is to "continue his personal aviation education and pass that on to aspiring and current pilots in order to promote a safer environment in the industry."

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Jeremy Hand, MCFI 1/2019-1/2021:

Hand grew up along the final approach corridor for Phoenix Sky Harbor watching airliners fly over his house. He enrolled in ASU’s Aviation Management Technology Bachelor’s Degree program in the fall of 2001, chasing a childhood dream of being an airline pilot.  Hand attained his Private Pilot certificate in 2002 and proceeded to log his first couple hundred hours over the course of about two years.

Due to a downturn in the industry after 2001 Hand began a decade in various lines of work, but his passion for flying never disappeared, and he re-entered the field. He then worked to achieve his instrument, multi, and commercial training with ATP Flight School’s Airline Career Pilot Program.  His CFI, CFII, and MEI ratings soon followed. He has been instructing for ATP ever since, helping to train students from zero time all the way through commercial and CFI certificates.  Hand is now quickly approaching his 1,000th hour of dual given and says he “loves every minute of it!”

For the last year he has been a lead instructor at ATP and conducts many of the stage checks and mock check rides for students as they progress through their training syllabus.  During that time, he added AGI and IGI ratings, as well as attaining FAA Gold Seal instructor status.  In his spare time, he also pursues volunteer work with Angel Flight and the Boy Scouts of America.

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Michael "Todd" Shellnut, MCFI 11/2018-11/2020:

Shellnut has been working in the flight training industry for 18 years now, and although he has performed many duties in his field from corporate pilot to FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, he has always found his way back to his true passion of flight instruction. This is Todd's second nomination as a Master CFI, and he also has received other awards such as AOPA's Best Instructor for 2015 and Distinguished Flight Instructor for 2017 and 2018. Todd is a published author of aviation training texts, an active FAASTeam member for the Atlanta FSDO, and is currently working for ATP Flight School as the CFI Academy Standardization Manager where he is responsible for the multiple training locations across the country for CFI initial training.

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Nicholas Ahlen, MCFI 03/2016-10/2020:

Nick Ahlen, who holds Instructor ratings in multiple categories, started flying in 1998 at the age of 21. His passion for aviation led him to the U.S. Naval Academy to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering. Following graduation, Ahlen entered flight training and has been flying for the Navy ever since.

After deployments in the Seahawk helicopter, Ahlen discovered his true passion through flight instruction. He has instructed thousands of U.S. and international students in both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for the last 10 years and shows no signs of stopping. He is currently instructing in the T-6B Texan II in Training Squadron Two.

Ahlen keeps busy with aviation outreach through NAFI, EAA, IAC, CAP, RAF, CAF and Young Eagles as well as participating heavily in the airshow circuit as a static display with various military aircraft. Ahlen feeds his aviation thirst by adding ratings in differing types as often as possible.

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Donald Kaye, MCFI 9/2002-9/2020:

This is Kaye’s ninth consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation. Kaye was born in Canton, Ohio and says he was interested in aviation from an early age. After getting his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, he went to work for Kaiser Aerospace and Electronics. Most of his colleagues there had their pilot’s certificates and in early 1968 he became a private pilot. A year later he got his commercial certificate.

From 1970 until 1992, his time was consumed with the business aspects of life including becoming a real estate broker selling apartment houses, a real estate developer, and a long time real estate investor. An issue of Flying magazine with a Mooney TLS on the cover drew his attention fully back to flying. He soon earned his instrument rating, and within a month purchased a Mooney TLS. Thereafter, he achieved his instructor and instrument instructor ratings and started teaching full time, specializing in teaching in all models of Mooneys. His ATP certification followed.

For many years he taught both the primary Mooney Pilot Proficiency Course and its corresponding Mountain Flying Course. After a student of one of his students bought a King Air C90, he earned his multiengine and multiengine instructor ratings and began also teaching the multiengine rating. Shortly thereafter the same student bought a CJ1 and the Citation CE-525S ATP was added to his credentials.

With over 11,000 hours of total GA time, 6,100 hours have been devoted to teaching. He has traveled to Canada, Australia and even North Dakota in the middle of January to assist those interested in learning the art of flying.

Several years ago he upgraded the panel of his airplane to the latest in aviation technology. With the experience gained in the use of all this new technology, he has been able to guide students on both purchases of such technology and on how best to use it to provide for the safest flight possible.

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Jack Stevens, MCFI 9/2006-9/2020:

This is Stevens’ second consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

Initially mentored by Alby Cornell, CFI & FBO owner at Warrington Airport in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (8N9) Stevens obtained his private pilot certificate in a PA 22-108 in 1969. Sadly, the airport has long since succumbed to stone quarry and homes, he said. His initial CFI was obtained under the tutelage of CFI David Orr in 1981, flying out of Mt. Sterling Airport (KIOB) in Montgomery County, Kentucky.

Stevens serves as chief CFI for Total Flight Solutions at its Pinehurst, North Carolina location.  TFS is in final phase of accomplishing Part 141 Certification and is providing flight training for the Sandhills Community College Part 141 Aviation Degree Program.

“I'm passionate about mentoring others in aviation and keep in close contact with past clients. It is so rewarding to receive a call, an e-mail or text from a past student telling me about a new job, obtaining an additional rating or successfully and safely dealing with an untoward situation. As instructor pilots we know that there are four stages of learning: Rote, Understanding, Application and Correlation.  I contend that the fifth and highest level is Teaching.”  

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Lynnwood "Woody" Minar, MCFI 9/2006-9/2020:

This is Minar’s seventh consecutive NAFI Master Instructor accreditation.

After retiring from the CIA in 1998, Minar took up flying and received his private pilot certificate in July 2000 in a Cessna 172. The bug hit him hard and after getting his instrument rating and tailwheel and high performance endorsements, he got his CFI in 2003. Since then he has earned his Gold Seal CFI, CFII, Glider CFI (CFI-G), AGI and IGI. That was soon followed by his single engine sea and multi-engine land certificates, and in 2016 his multi-engine sea certificate. 

He is also a FAASTeam Lead Representative and since 2012 a designated pilot examiner (DPE) for the Minneapolis FSDO and has given nearly a thousand flight tests for private, commercial, and instrument in Ssngle engine land and sea airplanes.

In 2009, Minar was awarded the Minneapolis FSDO CFI of the Year. In 2012 he was the Minneapolis FSDO and Great Lakes Region CFI of the Year and in 2013 named the Minneapolis FSDO and Great Lakes Region FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Nearing 9,000 hours, he teaches seaplane training for Adventure Seaplanes in Lino Lakes, Minnesota and Lake Wales, Florida. He has taught private and instrument ground schools for Osceola Aero and Wisconsin Indianhead Community College and given safety seminars to more than 7,000 pilots throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida.  He is a yearly presenter for the FAA and AOPA at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. Minar has served on the board of directors for 16 years and is the chief flight instructor for the Wild River Flying Club and is an glider instructor for the Red Wing Soaring Association at the Osceola (WI) Municipal Airport.

Minar is also a contributing editor for Midwest Flyer Magazine writing safety, humorous, and trip-related articles. He has been married to his high school sweetheart for 48 years; they have two daughters and two grandsons.

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Joseph Kotowski, MCFI 5/2016-5/2020:

This is Kotowski’s second NAFI MCFI Accreditation. Kotowski bought a used 1976 Cessna Skyhawk, which was the plane he trained in, and received his private pilot certificate with it in 1981. Moving up the Cessna line to a C-182 and then a T-210 he obtained his instrument rating and commercial certificate doing as much personal flying as family and work would allow. He started instructing in 2009 and then in 2012 decided to retire early from a career as an engineer in the power industry to start a second career flying full time. Ratings and certificates include CFI, CFI-I, MEI, multi-engine ATP, and glider. He instructs in the Chicago area, is the Standards and Evaluation Officer for the Illinois Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and contributes as an FAA Safety Team Representative.

Kotowski is employed by a local charter company flying Part 135 in a Citation Bravo, King Air B200 and C90. His interest in aviation started with his father who was an Army Air Corps mechanic/inspector during WWII. The passion for flying has been passed on to one of his four sons who flies for the airlines. He lives in Naperville, Illinois.

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Robert Templeton, MCFI 8/2018-8/2020:

Templeton says his fascination with aviation started in early childhood while watching U.S. Navy P2V anti-submarine hunters while he lived in Adak, Alaska where his father was stationed in early 1958. His dreams of flying became a reality when he started U.S. Navy flight training at VT-1 Pensacola, Florida in August 1973. Templeton flew the T-34B (Beechcraft Mentor), T-28C (North American Trojan) and the TS-2A (Grumman Tracker), a multiengine submarine hunter. He is a retired U.S. Naval Reserve Captain.

Templeton holds commercial, instrument, multiengine, CFI, CFII and a SIC type ratings in the Shorts 330 and 360 turboprop aircraft. He has experience flying about 25 different military and general aviation aircraft. His experience includes approximately 2,000 hours of flight instruction given.

Templeton was instrumental in developing and establishing the first Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Patrol Air Support Unit in northern California prior to retiring from law enforcement in 2004. After retirement he worked as banner tow and night LED aerial advertisement pilot in the San Francisco airspace and also worked as a cargo pilot for Air Cargo Carriers.

For the past six years Templeton has enjoyed working as a flight instructor at the Travis AFB Aero Club in Fairfield, California, where he provides assistance and instruction to many young enlisted USAF air crew personnel who desire to obtain a private certificate or more to enhance their ability to compete for selection to active duty USAF officer pilot training programs.

Templeton says he loves to teach and enjoys introducing aviation to those interested in its exhilarating challenge. In addition to NAFI, he is a member of AOPA, EAA-Young Eagles Program, and recruits teens for Civil Air Patrol and careers in law enforcement or the U.S. armed services.

Templeton is married to Nancy Ann (Brock) Templeton and they have 3 adult children. He and Nancy live in Benicia, California.

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Brian Schultz, MCFI 6/2018-6/2020:

Schultz has been flying since 2000 and has been flight instructing since 2002. He said he has a strong passion for teaching and loves passing along his knowledge. Schultz holds an ATP certificate in both airplane single engine and multi-engine land, type ratings in the CE-500, CE-510S, CE-525/CE525S, and Lear Jet, a commercial single engine sea certificate, Gold Seal certified flight instructor rating, certified instrument instructor rating, multi-engine instructor rating, and advanced ground instructor rating.  Schultz has flown corporate Part 91 in aircraft from a PA-32 to a CE525 all over world, Part 135 charter service in a CE-500 in North America and was an instructor at numerous flight schools, including Flight Safety where he instructed on the LR-jet.

Schultz currently is teaching students from private to ATP. He specializes in turbine transitions for owner pilots.  He is also involved with his local airport advisory board, as check pilot for the 501 Squadron of Civil Air Patrol, the local airport AOPA ASN, is a FAAST Representative and Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program Instructor.

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