VFR Mastery Instructors

Your Instructors

Paul Bertorelli

ATP/CFII, Aviation 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.

Dave Hirschman

ATP/CFII, 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.

Michael Goulian

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.

Richard McSpadden

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. Richard instructed his high school age son to successful completion of his PPL and is currently teaching his daughter, who soled in their SuperCub earlier this summer.

Judy Phelps

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.

Hobie Tomlinson

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.

Tom Turner

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.

Sarah Fritts

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.

Bruce Williams

CFI, 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.

Katie Pribyl

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.

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