Meet Our NAFI Master Instructors (O-U By Last Name)

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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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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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Dick Rochfort NAFI MCFIRichard "Dick" Rochfort, MCFI 2/2005-2/2023:

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

Rochfort provides training, pre-purchase consulting, aircraft relocation and expert witness services to owners, pilots and instructors of the Piper PA46 aircraft. He holds ATP, Commercial and Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificates with SEL, SES, MEL, CFII, MEI, and CE-525S ratings and has been a full-time flight instructor since 1992.
Rochfort has researched, written and published hundreds of articles and demonstration videos specific to the operation of the Piper PA46 aircraft. This body of work is available online at The PA46 Pilot Reference Library. It is the only collection of its kind anywhere in the world. These videos have been viewed over 2.5 million times and his YouTube channel has over 10,000 subscribers. He serves the PA46 community worldwide. His training programs are PA46 type-specific, insurance industry approved, FAA Industry Training Standards (FITS) approved, FAA Wings approved, and they are fully insured.

Rochfort is 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 the Official Meridian Instructor for Red Bull air racer Kirby Chambliss and Team Chambliss.

Rochfort 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. Before that he served as a “Green Beret” Staff Sergeant E6, B Company, 2nd Battalion, U.S. Army Special Forces Airborne as an “A team” radio operator, training indigenous personnel in field radio communications and other critical skills.

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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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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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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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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Nick Schmall NAFI Master Instructor MCFINick Schmall, MCFI 3/2021-3/2023

While serving as a police officer in Memphis, Schmall began taking flight lessons for fun. The fun eventually morphed into a career change. After earning his commercial single and multi-engine land certificates, Schmall earned his CFI. He went on to earn his CFII, MEI, and AGI certificates. Schmall left the police department in February of 2019 and began working full time for a local flight school in Memphis.

As a full-time flight instructor Schmall has helped over 40 people earn certificates up to and including ATP. Schmall is a FAASTeam representative for the Memphis FSDO where he teaches safety related classes and aviation seminars. He also earned his Gold Seal Instructor from the FAA.

Schmall is active in the warbird community. He is a member of a Memphis based Fairchild PT-19 club where he flies the WWII basic trainer. He is also an active member of the Commemorative Air Force. Schmall flies a North American AT-6 and holds a formation wing card with the North American Training Association. He says he really enjoys taking people for rides in warbirds and flying formation with friends.

Schmall earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics with a minor in Aviation Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is currently working on a Master of Science in Aeronautics and expects to graduate in December of 2021. He holds an ATP multi-engine certificate and flies a Citation Excel for a Part 135 charter company. While flying jets is a new adventure, he says he still enjoys instructing and does so part time when he is home.

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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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Jay Seward NAFI Master CFIJay Seward, MCFI 2/2005-2/2023:

Jay Seward is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot with 3600 hours in the T-37, B-52, T-38 and FB-111A. In the latter two, he served as an instructor pilot. In 1983 he earned his CFI through the Andrews AFB Aero Club. In 1992, he left the Strategic Air Command for duty as Chief of Safety and then Operational Support Squadron Commander in the newly reorganized Air Education and Training Command Flying Training Wing structure. In these roles he became immersed in airfield operations, TRACON and Tower operations, and academic instruction.

After a 15-year non-flying diversion into other Air Force command and staff jobs he rekindled his love of “slipping the surly bonds” while running an Air Force ROTC unit. Upon 30-year retirement from active duty, he taught high school classes for nine years as an Air Force JROTC instructor in Irmo, SC. In both these ROTC jobs he flew pro bono flights with his students and taught private pilot ground school. In 2008 he added CFII to his ticket and began flight instructing on a more routine basis, becoming essentially a full-time independent contract instructor in 2018. He has ratings in gliders and seaplanes in addition to his multiengine experience. His GA instruction is in C-172’s, PA-28s, PA-38s, M-20s, and AA5s, several of which he has owned. Before COVID he was flying with private pilot and advanced students and doing CFI/CFII training.

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Thomas Stehler NAFI MCFIThomas Stehler, MCFI 4/2021-4/2023

A native of the St. Paul area, Stehler attended Purdue University, where he acted as a corporate pilot and check instructor after graduation.  He also founded Purdue’s winning team for the newly formed collegiate class of the EAA’s AirVenture Cup Race in 2019.  Stehler is now a First Officer on the Boeing 737 at Sun Country Airlines, as well as the Chief Flight Instructor at Lake Elmo Aero in Lake Elmo, MN.  He has experience in a multitude of different single and multi-engine aircraft, with over 1000 hours of flight instruction given.

 

 

 

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Sean Stephenson Associate NAFI MCFISean Stephenson, Associate MCFI 11/2020-11/2022:

Stephenson began his aviation career as a military flight student in the United States Marine Corps. Over the past 18 years he has flown aboard Navy vessels, served in combat, and instructed in multiple military and civilian aircraft. He has accumulated almost 1,800 flight hours in the T-34C Mentor, T-45C Goshawk, AV-8B Harrier, and numerous general aviation aircraft. He currently holds ATP, CFII, and MEI certificates with high-performance and tailwheel endorsements. In addition to his current active military duties, Stephenson works as flight instructor at Tradewind Flight Services in New Bern, North Carolina.

 Click to Download Sean's Press Release!


Jedediah Stone Associate NAFI MCFIJedediah Stone, Associate MCFI 3/2021-3/2023:

Stone was raised in North Pole, Alaska. It was there, working as a wildland firefighter where he says he discovered the joys and possibilities of aviation, specifically involved with flying helicopters. He then spent the next several years working in the summers to save up so he could fly in the winters and inch closer to his goals.

In the summer of 2018 Stone received his CFII rating and started his career as a flight instructor north of New Mexico and slightly south of Wyoming. He has thus far spent a year and a half teaching the newest crop of helicopter pilots the finer points of aviation, safety, and professionalism.

Stone says he enjoys helping the next generation learn to be safe, knowledgeable, and competent pilots because we all know we will someday somewhere share the airspace with them. He hopes that everyone achieves their dreams of flying because all of us understand just how amazing it really is. He adds that he is committed to continuing his learning and growth as a pilot, instructor, mentor, and person so that he may help as many of them as possible.

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Thomas Summers NAFI MCFIThomas Summers, MCFI 3/2021-3/2023:

In the spring of 2015, while working as a grocery store manager, Summers’ wife bought him an introductory flight in Maryland, setting him on the path of aviation. He and his family moved to the Louisville area, where he began flight school in October of 2017. As a student, he learned to fly at ATP, where he earned his private and commercial ASEL and AMEL with an instrument rating. He also earned his CFI, CFI-I, and MEI.

After finishing the program, he continued with ATP as an instructor, where he earned a Gold Seal on his flight instructor certificate and was promoted to Standardization Instructor for his training center, flying the Piper Archer and Seminole. There, he had the opportunity to work with a number of talented pilots training them from student pilots through MEI. While instructing, Summers also obtained his AGI and IGI.

Summers then accepted a job with ATP as a CFI Academy Ground School Instructor, training initial CFI initial applicants to become instructors. He says tyhe fun part of that job is working with students not just from his local region, but with pilots from across the country who bring different experiences and perspectives to the classroom.

Summers is now in training for a Part 121 first officer position, and says he is loving the classroom experience again, but is excited to be able to get back to instructing when the time is right.

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Earnest Templeton NAFI MCFIEarnest Templeton, MCFI 10/2020-10/2022:

This is Templeton’s second consecutive NAFI Master Flight Instructor award. Templeton’s love for aviation started as a young dreamer watching U.S. Navy P-2V Neptune submarine hunters in Adak, Alaska. He began 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 now a retired U.S. Naval Reserve Captain.

For the past eight 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’s eldest son served in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Boatswain Mate onboard several aircraft carriers launching aircraft and his number two son recently left active duty after serving as a H-60 Sea Hawk helicopter pilot.

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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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