Aerobatic Champion & Red Bull Air Racer
Michael Goulian is one of North America’s most decorated aerobatic pilots and recognized aviation professionals, starring in air shows throughout the country and having won multiple U.S. Aerobatic Championships and multiple Red Bull Air Races.
In addition to his air show and racing credentials, Michael is a Certified Flight Instructor. A firm believer in scenario based training, Goulian is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP), and regularly traverses the country in a Cirrus SR-22, delivering talks to aviation groups designed to increase the awareness of safety and proficiency amongst the general aviation pilot community. He owns and operates Mike Goulian Aviation in Plymouth and Bedford, MA, which serve as Authorized Cirrus Training Centers.
DPE, NAFI Flight Instructor Hall of Fame
Wally Moran is a retired airline captain and spent much of his career as a training instructor and check airman on aircraft including the Boeing 747 and 767. He has held a flight instructor certificate for over 50 years. He is a Designated Pilot Examiner for gliders and has given over 4500 hours of flight instruction in single engine, multiengine, gliders and seaplanes. Wally has been awarded the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and is designated a Master CFI by the National Association of Flight Instructors. In 2017 Wally was elected to the NAFI Flight Instructor’s Hall of Fame.
ATP/CFII, Aviation Writer, Aerobatics Instructor
Dave Hirschman is an ATP/CFII who specializes in aerobatic and tailwheel flight instruction. He has provided more than 2,000 hours of aerobatic dual instruction in airplanes including the Decathlon, Pitts S-2B, Extra 300L, Stearman, WACO, and T-6. He has flown piston singles in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Mexico, and the Bahamas and performed air-to-air photo missions in those places.
Dave is the author of “Hijacked: The Heroes of Flight 705,” and he has been on the editorial staff of AOPA Pilot magazine since 2008. He has logged more than 8,000 flight hours in single and multi-engine land and seaplanes. He has a masters degree in journalism from the University of Michigan.
Executive Director of AOPA’s Air Safety Institute, Former USAF Thunderbird Leader
Richard McSpadden is the Executive Director of AOPA’s Air Safety Institute and an active flight instructor. He holds a Commercial certificate with CFII, MEI, SEL ratings and a single-pilot Citation jet type rating. Richard began his GA flying in college and later flew F-15s, F-16s and the Super King Air 300 for the USAF.
He culminated his USAF career as the Commander and Flight Leader of the USAF Thunderbirds.
A native of Panama City, Florida, McSpadden started flying as a teenager and has logged over 5,000 hours flying a variety of civilian and military aircraft. He taught his son to fly, instructed his daughter to solo in their Piper Super Cub, previously owned a 1950 Navion that was in his family for almost 40 years, and currently owns a 1993 Piper Super Cub.
Jeff Van West
Vice President, Product Design and Strategy, CFII
Jeff Van West is PilotWorkshops’ Creative Director with the primary responsibility for managing the development and creation of the company’s pilot proficiency training programs, including our flagship IFR and VFR Mastery programs.
For 19 years, Jeff ran many noteworthy aviation media projects with his own firm, Van West Communications, including magazines, books, videos and live seminars. Jeff previously served as editor-in-chief of IFR Magazine and co-editor of Aviation Consumer, and his work appears in AOPA Pilot, Flight Training Magazine, Plane and Pilot, and AVweb. He’s an experienced CFII/MEI with ratings for single- and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes, and gliders. Jeff was the creator of the first pilot transition program for new Cirrus aircraft.
CFII, FAASTeam Rep, Aviation Author
Bruce Williams is the owner of BruceAir, LLC, an aviation consulting, training, and pilot-services company based in Seattle, WA. He has been a pilot since the early 1970s, and he is a certified flight instructor and FAASTeam representative in the Seattle area. Today, he focuses on training in technically advanced aircraft (TAA), the Beechcraft Bonanza series, and stall/spin/upset recovery courses in an Extra 300L aerobatic aircraft. He also instructs at Galvin Flying Services at Boeing Field. During a 15-year career at Microsoft, he worked on six versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator. In the 1980s, he edited the Western Flyer (now the General Aviation News). He is also the author of two books about using PC-based simulation to complement flight training, plus many features on a variety of topics for aviation-focused periodicals. Bruce publishes an aviation blog at BruceAir.
CFII, FAA ATC Instructor & QA Specialist
John Krug’s 27 years of experience as an Air Traffic Controller combined with his experience as an active flight instructor and charter pilot, allow him to assist pilots in gaining a better understanding of the ATC system and how to best operate in it. While with the FAA, he was an On-the-Job-Training Instructor for new controllers and worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist, responsible for conducting in-flight evaluations of the Air Traffic System and investigating accidents and incidents.
NAFI Flight Instructor Hall of Fame
Master CFI Tom Turner holds an ATP certificate with instructor, CFII and MEI ratings and has a Masters Degree in Aviation Safety. He was the 2010 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year and the 2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year and has logged over 2,500 hours instructing. In 2015 Tom was inducted into the NAFI Flight Instructor’s Hall of Fame.
Tom was a Captain in the United States Air Force and has been Lead Instructor for the Bonanza pilot training program at the Beechcraft factory. He now directs the education and safety arm of a 9000-member pilots’ organization.
2020 FAA Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year, 2022 NAFI Flight Instructor Hall of Fame
Catherine Cavagnaro (CFI-I, MEI, ATP, DPE) offers spin and aerobatic instruction in addition to her position as Professor of Mathematics at Sewanee. She is a monthly contributor to AOPA Pilot Magazine and serves as a Designated Pilot Examiner for the Nashville FSDO. Catherine is the 2020 FAA Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year and the 2018 FAA Safety Representative of the Year. In 2018 she was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.
FAA ATC Specialist, Commercial Single/Multi Instrument
Kevin Plante has been an Air Traffic Control Specialist for 16 years and has been fully certified in several different towers and TRACONs. His ATC experience has been in both USAF and FAA facilities. Kevin currently works at a busy TRACON controlling a wide variety of aircraft into airports of every airspace classification. Additionally, Kevin has worked with the design and modification of PBN procedures, implementation of new equipment/software into ATC facilities, and On-the-Job-Training of new controllers.
Kevin has been flying since 1997. He flies for personal travel as well as working as a contract pilot for corporate and charter operators.
CFII & Aviation Attorney
Like many who fly for personal business or pleasure, Mark Kolber came to aviation later in life. Mark had been interested in flying since childhood, but his first three lessons were a birthday gift from his wife, hoping to get it out of his system. She claims she hasn’t seen him since.
Thirty years later, Mark is a single-engine commercial pilot and CFI/CFII. He focused early on pilots coming to flying in mid-life as he did, and provided many hours of mountain flight instruction during his 20 years in Colorado. Now primarily involved in transition and recurrent training, Mark brings the perspective of an attorney who has represented pilots, mechanics and businesses in FAA enforcement and other aviation-related matters. He speaks to both legal and pilot groups and is a regular contributor to IFR Magazine.
CFII, FAASTeam Lead Representative, Corporate Pilot
Elaine is a six-time Master CFI with over 3800 hours of dual given. She provides instruction in high-performance and tailwheel airplanes, flies corporate aircraft, and presents pilot seminars in collaboration with her FAASTeam colleagues in Wisconsin. She’s also a skilled instrument instructor and a contributing editor to IFR magazine. She especially enjoys teaching emergency procedures and training future CFIs, providing stall/spin endorsements in a Super Decathlon.
DPE, CFI of the Year
Bob Nardiello was the “Flight Instructor of the Year” in 2004 and “FAA Safety Counselor of the Year” in 2006 for the Windsor Locks Flight Standards District Office. He has over 14,000 hours of total flight experience, with more than 7,500 hours as a Flight Instructor. He currently holds CFI, CFII, MEI, and ATP ratings and serves as a Designated Pilot Examiner. Bob was the Chief Flight Instructor at a Part 141 Flight School and is also a seasoned charter pilot flying a Cessna 421, Citation Ultra and Citation Excel.
ATP/CFII, Aviation Writer, Editor
Paul Bertorelli is an ATP-CFII and in addition to instructing, he has been a charter pilot and sometime skydiving aircraft pilot. He’s also an experienced skydiver with more than 3,000 jumps. He’s currently editor at large for www.avweb.com and has been the editorial director and editor of Belvoir Media Group publications including IFR, Aviation Consumer, Aviation Safety and IFR Refresher. He has produced numerous aviation videos. He lives near Sarasota, Florida.
DPE, FAA Safety Team Lead Representative, NAFI Master CFI, Gold Seal CFI
Sarah is currently a Designated Pilot Examiner, FAA Safety Team Lead Representative, NAFI Master Instructor, Gold Seal flight instructor, and 737 pilot for a Major U.S. airline. Since changing careers as a network engineer, she has obtained her ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI and has flown over 7800 hours. She holds a pilot license in 5 different countries (USA, Canada, Belize, South Africa and Iceland – EASA) and has flown over 150 different types of airplanes in 25 different countries including oceanic crossings in small aircraft. She continues to stay involved in general aviation through ownership of vintage aircraft and mentoring; volunteering at many different events and presenting original seminars on aviation safety and human factors.
A&P / IA, CFI
Dean has been turning wrenches on piston-powered airplanes in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for 25 years. He also seeks out inspiring aviation adventures whenever he can. Dean hosts the Airplane Owner Maintenance podcast, which he launched in 2015. He says it’s a great source for inspiration and motivation as he gets questions from aviators all around the country and beyond.
Air Traffic Controller, ATP, CFII-MEI
Katrina is an air traffic controller with 14 years of experience in tower, approach, and center on both the east and west coast. She started her career as a pilot and has logged over 5000 hours, including Part 121 and Part 135 flight experience. She returned to General Aviation when she became a controller and is an active flight instructor in a busy metropolitan area when not controlling airplanes from the scope.
CFI, Professional backcountry pilot
Mike Hart is a professional backcountry pilot, aviation safety author, aviation advocate and tailwheel instructor. His work is regularly featured in Aviation Safety Magazine, AvWeb, and AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation publications. He currently flies a variety of single-, twin-piston and turbo-prop aircraft out of Salmon, Idaho delivering passengers and cargo to small towns and into backcountry airstrips of the largest Wilderness in the lower 48 states.
He first earned his pilot license at the age of 18 and flew his family’s 152 off of a pasture in Kansas. After two decades of not flying, he rediscovered aviation and began flying for business and pleasure and eventually chose it for a second career. He has more than 3,000 hours, most of it earned as a mountain pilot. He has served as a District Director of the Idaho Aviation Association, the coordinator of the Idaho Airstrip Network and Idaho Liaison to the Recreational Aviation Foundation.
Army Combat Aviator
Sarah is dedicated to helping aviators get better at their craft. Sarah is a West Point graduate and Army combat aviator. She flew the OH-58D during the invasion of Iraq and C-12s in Afghanistan in 2013. She currently flies the King Air 350 out of Portland, OR and is still an active pilot in the Oregon Army National Guard. As an avid aviation blogger, she has written for IFR Refresher, Air Facts Journal and on her own website: ThinkAviation.net. Her articles are focused on providing practical explanations of complex aviation topics.
National Flight Instructor of the Year 2011
Judy Phelps was the “National Flight Instructor of the year” in 2011 and the 2010 Western Pacific Region FAA Flight Instructor of the year. Judy’s career in aviation started in 1994 when she met and married Clay Phelps, the CP of CP Aviation, located in Santa Paula California. In 2003 she became a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and has logged over 10,000 hours. Judy Specializes in Tailwheel, Aerobatics and Emergency Maneuver Training.
National Flight Instructor of the Year 2012
Hobie Tomlinson is a Master Certified Flight Instructor with over 10,600 hours of instruction given, a Designated Pilot Examiner, an FAA Master Pilot and the 2012 FAA Flight Instructor of the Year. As a highly respected professional in Aviation Safety, Tomlinson has developed and managed comprehensive safety programs for permanent fleets at FBO sites and for private aircraft owners and their crews. Having operated an independent flight instruction service, consulted with flight schools, and provided instruction to private individuals, he brings a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience.
Former Leader of AOPA’s Aviation Strategy and Programs division
As the former leader of AOPA’s Aviation Strategy and Programs division, Katie was responsible for its You Can Fly program, which focuses on growing and engaging the aviation community, and the Air Safety Institute, which has been providing free resources to help pilots fly safely for more than 60 years. Prior to joining AOPA, Katie earned a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and flew the Canadair Regional Jet with Atlantic Coast Airlines/Independence Air. She went on to serve as the director of communications for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Her idea of the perfect weekend involves flying her 1956 Cessna 180 Skywagon in her home state of Montana.
ATP with Seaplane, Tailwheel and Formation endorsements
Ivy McIver earned her Private Pilot License in 1998. She holds multiple airman ratings including ATP, ASEL, ASES, as well as Tailwheel and Formation endorsements. She is the owner of a 2001 American Champion Citabria 7GCBC and has accumulated over 4,500 hours of flight time.
Ivy is the Director, SR Product Line for Cirrus Aircraft, overseeing Cirrus’ piston product roadmap development and product marketing and is very active in the aviation community.