Ken Wittekiend, DPE, Master CFI SAFE Board Member

Those pilots following our blog know we at SAFE are focusing on improving CFI professionalism. The aviation industry needs more compassionate, effective “CFI Pros” that can efficiently educate our students and create safe pilots while still having fun in the process. Unfortunately, to become a “CFI pro” (and eventually Master CFI) takes time and continual learning beyond the point of the initial FAA certificate (Canada has four levels of CFI improvement). As Rod Malchado has written here, and Greg Brown points out here in his blog, finding a really effective aviation educator is quite difficult. There are many beginners out there; some good, some trying hard…but all can benefit from learning and growing through apprenticeship with senior educators and DPEs. As a “CFI Pro” you will know exactly the format and expectations on each checkride.

SAFE is promoting more CFI/DPE collaboration to spread the wisdom of truly master aviation practitioners into the CFI population. This has occurred informally for years in “feedback” from checkrides and even FAA Wings meetings featuring local DPEs. This year at Sun ‘N Fun you will see specific seminars geared toward CFI level improvement…look for “CFI Pro” seminars. We also hope to have a dedicated gathering of DPEs and CFIs in a round table format (work in progress).

This podcast by our webmaster Chris Palmer (Angle of Attack Media) with SAFE Board member Ken Wittekiend (DPE and Master Instructor) is exactly the kind of sharing that can educate our industry’s aviation educators. Please listen in and share *your* comments and ideas!

Please “follow” our SAFE blog to receive notification of new articles. Write us a comment if you see a problem or want to contribute an article. We are always seeking more input on aviation improvements and flight safety. There are many highly qualified aviation educators out there! If you are not yet a SAFE member, please Join SAFE and support our mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits alone make this commitment worthwhile and fun. Lastly, use our FREE SAFE Toolkit App to put pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smart phone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Working together we make safer pilots!

About the author 

David St. George (Lifetime Member)

David St. George learned to fly at Flanders Valley Airport in 1970. Proving that everyone is eventually trainable, he became an FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor for airplanes (single and multi, instrument, and glider) and serves the Rochester FSDO as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. In this capacity, he gives flight tests at any level from sport pilot to ATP and CFI. For 25 years David was East Hill Flying Club's 141 Chief Instructor and manager. David holds multi and single engine ATP pilot certificates, with pilot ratings for glider and seaplane and several jet type ratings. He recently earned his 13th renewal as a Master Instructor and owns an Aeronca Champ so he can build hours for that airline job!

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