Discussion-CFI-Pro=DougThe first SAFE CFI-PRO™ in Fredrick, MD was a smash hit, providing amazing learning opportunities for the people in attendance (just under 50 total). The beautiful AOPA “You Can Fly” center is a perfect venue with excellent autio-visual support and a comfortable auditorium and classrooms. This workshop featured five FAA National Award winners among the presenters; it was truly a dream team.



Participants commented:

live safety-oriented aviation seminar with fresh, level-appropriate knowledge for CFIs… Excellent!

“This is an outstanding program for both experienced and new aviation educators.”

Excellent opportunity to discuss subjects in flight training with flight instructors from across the country

this is a great event that really helps increase your tools for teaching

Rich Stowell led off by presenting his famous “Learn to Turn” show first and this set the tone for the whole workshop (with a title on the agenda of “The First Five Hours”). This workshop was aimed at reducing LOC-I accidents and focused on solid maneuvering skills and a mastery of the fundamentals. Rich has testified for the NTSB as an expert witness and is also known as the “spin doctor” for his work in Upset Prevention and Recovery Training.

David St. George’s presentation emphasized that CFIs are the primary “influencers” in a pilot’s RichStowellCFI-PRO2-Webaviation world. (spending 40-80 hours preparing a student for a flight test  whereas a DPE spends 4 only evaluates – no teaching!) The pass/fail nature of the FAA flight test also means an applicant may achieve only a 70% on the practical evaluation yet still earn a pilot certificate (and there is no required retraining on the 30% deficiencies). So it is incumbent upon the CFI to both “over prepare” a student and also inspire every pilot already certificated to pursue excellence and become a lifetime learners.

The Extended Envelope Training for GA was rolled out with basic and advanced maneuvers for improving comfort and competency in the aircraft during all phases of flight (especially out of the “comfort zone”). Unfortunately, the original plans for flying as part of this workshop had to be canceled early on, but all presenters are available as CFI-PRO Trainers to facilitate the maneuvers in the syllabus.

Next DPE Ken Wittekiend did a wonderful job of explaining the correlation level of the ACS that a pilot examiner is required to test. He pointed out that often students are prepared by their CFI in a rote manner and have an uncomfortable surprise when asked correlation-level questions on an evaluation.

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Dinner was a wonderul BBQ at the National Aviation Community Center with the AOPA Sweepstakes RV-12 (buy that AOPA ticket- nice plane!) Keith West from AOPA presented on the “You Can Fly” initiative at AOPA.


IMG_0491Day two started with Bob Hepp from Aviation Adventures emphasizing the project management approach to building a pilot. This overview has helped him create the four successful flight schools that Bob runs in the DC area (with a 90% pass rate and only a 27% drop-out rate).

Then Adrian Eichhorn, a Jet Blue captain and well-known GA mechanical wizard, explained airworthiness for GA as a CFI should understand it. (Adrian teaches at all the regional AOPA events). Tuesday finished with Billy Winburn and Stasi Poulos from Mindstar Aviation demonstrating VFR maneuver training on the Redbird (broadcast live into the auditorium) with Southwest 737 check airman Danny Weiss on the controls; so much fun! Here is a class photo and looking forward to the next  SAFE CFI-PRO™ at Sporty’s Academy June 10/11th 2020. Registration is open!

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! http://learnturbine.com

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