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VFR Mastery

Try a new VFR challenge each month. It’s a proven way to stay sharp and keep your head in the game!

Online Scenarios: Have Fun While You Learn

There’s no substitute for actual flying experience – pilots that train and fly regularly are typically confident and proficient. While we can’t put you in an airplane, we can do the next best thing by immersing you in the mental aspects of flying.

VFR Mastery is a continuing series of online, scenario-based workshops. Each month, we provide a challenging VFR scenario that tests your knowledge and hones your decision-making skills.

It’s more than reading another article or watching another video. VFR Mastery delivers a powerful way to keep your head in the game and gain valuable experience from the comfort of your computer.

The best part of VFR Mastery is you’ll get maximum return for the time you invest. Because you are actively engaged, you will learn and retain the lessons in far less time. And because it’s fun, you’ll want to do it more often.

 

Regular Exercise For Your Pilot Brain

Each month, VFR Mastery subscribers get a new online scenario. Our instructors follow a proven, step-by-step process that will test your knowledge and help you learn in a fun and effective way.

1. Watch

Start by watching a short briefing video that puts you in the pilot’s seat, and details the scenario you’ll be evaluating.

 

2. Think

Each scenario briefing ends with several options. Here you will review weather forecasts, aircraft data, airport information, sectional charts and more to help you choose.

3. Choose

Choose your favorite option, then compare your choice with other pilots on our live poll.

4. Learn

After making your selection, watch the instructor’s video and learn which option they chose. They provide step-by-step instruction and offer a detailed explanation of their thought process.

These segments are full of tips and techniques!

5. Listen

Our instructor roundtable discussion includes a panel of award-winning flight instructors who discuss and debate each scenario. They don’t always agree…and that’s the fun part, where a lot of learning happens.

6. Discuss

After going through the scenario, visit the members-only online discussion forum where great tips, techniques and stories are shared. Valuable hangar flying with our instructors and other pilots.

Meet The VFR Mastery Instructors

Learn from top professionals who share their tips, techniques and strategies. Instructors include:

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.

Wally Moran

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.

Dave Hirschman

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.

Richard McSpadden

Former Executive Director of AOPA’s Air Safety Institute, USAF Thunderbird Leader

Richard McSpadden was the Executive Director of AOPA’s Air Safety Institute and an active flight instructor. He held 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 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 a 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.

Bruce Williams

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.

John Krug

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.

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.

Catherine Cavagnaro

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.

JP Dice

ATP/CFII and MEI

JP Dice holds degrees in Meteorology from Mississippi State University and Broadcast News from the University of Florida. He was also one of the first AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologists in the country and was a television meteorologist for over 25 years. During that time, JP was also a pilot, airplane owner, and flight instructor. He left broadcasting to pursue aviation full-time and currently flies a Gulfstream IV as a corporate pilot as well as actively flight instructs in GA. He still owns and flies his Mooney M20J. The combination of flying and meteorology is a passion for JP.  He is particularly interested in teaching pilots aviation meteorology and how to help them safely plan trips and make “go and no go” decisions by utilizing the vast amount of weather data available today.

Kevin Plante

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.

Mark Kolber

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.

Elaine Kauh

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.

Bob Nardiello

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.

Paul Bertorelli

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.

Sarah Rovner

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.

Dean Showalter

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.

Katrina Linder

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.

 

Steve Tupper

ATP/CFII, Air Boss (RAB/SV), Aviation Lawyer

Steve Tupper an active instructor in airplanes and gliders, an airshow performer and air boss, a demo pilot for the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit, and a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). He’s the principal shareholder of Tupper Law Firm PC, specializing in aviation, information technology, privacy, and corporate transactions, and the founder of the Airspeed podcast. Steve might also be the only person ever to earn an ATP certificate in a Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk.

David Gagliardi

Transport Canada ATPL, SMELS, Instructor, Pilot Examiner

After 10 years of recreational flying David went pro in flight instruction, charter, scheduled freight, and aerial forest fire suppression. After 17 years of fire bombing, he moved over to Transport Canada as a Flight Operations Inspector before retiring in 2022. Throughout his career he has remained an active instructor, teaching introductory aerobatics, seaplane flying, formation flying, gliding, warbird checkouts, and teaching other flight instructors. He enjoys flying his Nanchang CJ6A. His wife also occasionally lets him fly her Grumman AA1B.

Mike Hart

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ivy McIver

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.

Your VFR Mastery Subscription Includes:

New Monthly Scenarios

Receive unlimited, online access to all new scenarios every month. Includes scenario overview videos, resources and tools for additional analysis, live polling and detailed instructional videos. We email you when new scenarios are published.

Discussion Forum

Unlimited online access to the “Hangar” (members-only discussion forum) where pilots discuss and debate the scenarios. You can join these discussions any time, or ask our instructors a question. Some of the best learning occurs in the forums.

Roundtable Audios

We get the instructors together and open the microphones. They share personal experiences and additional, detailed observations on the scenarios. Listen online or download MP3 audios.

Monthly VFR Quizzes

Prepare to be challenged! These quizzes are short but will really test your knowledge. You will get feedback on all answers to reinforce your understanding of the topics. We email you when each new quiz is published.

WINGS Credit

Receive 3 WINGS credits for every completed VFR Mastery scenario. We’ve issued credit for tens of thousands of completed workshops! Add your email to the form on our website and we’ll do the rest to make sure your credit is issued by the FAA Safety Team.

Sign Up Today And Get Instant Access To The Entire Library Of VFR Mastery Scenarios Below!

Scenario Collections

18 Scenarios

Emergencies Scenarios

Emergencies Scenarios

Next Step, Climb?

Something’s Come Up

Sightless in Seattle

Getting Down in the UP

After the Crash

Pitch Imperfect

Middle Tennessee Emergency

A Full-Throttle Approach

A Diminishing Emergency

In‌ ‌the‌ ‌Turn‌

Tiger on Fire

By Land or By Sea?

Misrigged Out of Maintenance

Truly Short Trip

Crippled Climb Out of Charleston

Sink or Swim Landing?

Feet Wet or Dry?

St. Louis Flight Patterns

Aromatic Issues Over St. Louis

Arkansas

Squeeze Play in Arkansas

13 Scenarios

Planning Scenarios

Planning Scenarios

Which Way Into the Wild?

Diamond in the Rough (Air)

How Will You Get to Herlong?

Everyone Arrives at Oshkosh

Stress in South Florida

Getting Around NYC

The Hills Are Out There

Angel Fire Departure

Spot Landing in Tacoma

Jumpers Away

That Erie Feeling

Flying over Yellowstone

Which Way to Yellowstone?

Landing a plane at lunch

A Short-Field Barbecue

13 Scenarios

Regulations Scenarios

Regulations Scenarios

A Fuel’s Errand?

Crosswinds at Belen

Mississippi Mix Up

Your Own Risk into Montgomery

Accept‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spacing?‌

Surprise in the San Juans

Lending a Hand

Powerless in the Bravo

Is There Anybody Out There?

Runway Roulette at Hobby

Rough Running at Wauchula

So Long Astoria

Pattern Problems in Astoria

Foggy Catalina

Foggy Catalina

Four Corners, USA
10 Scenarios

Stick & Rudder Scenarios

Stick & Rudder Scenarios

A Swift Decision

A Slippery Situation

Chilling in Gothenburg

Close Quarters at Hayward

Made in Motor City

Picking a Pattern at Arlington

Rejected Takeoff Practice

The Impossible Go-Around?

Landing without landing gear

No Leg to Stand On

Crossed Up at Four Corners

6 Scenarios

Systems Scenarios

Systems Scenarios

Adirondacks After Dark

Unsafety Wire

Gliding in the Dark

The Siren Song of University Park

Low Voltage Dangers

Low Volts Over Eugene

All the Way to Jackson

Arkansas
11 Scenarios

Weather Scenarios

Weather Scenarios

Just 200 Miles to Burlington

The Complete Cross Country

A Cold and Rainy Surprise

Back to Bar Harbor

A Calm Wind Conundrum

Rough Ride to Danville

Oshkosh from the East

Holding Short of Jet Blast

Undercast at Bean

Flight Simulations over Salt Lake

Split Decision at Salt Lake

Flight over Montpelier

Holiday in Montpelier

Frequently Asked Questions


If you like this view, VFR Mastery is probably for you.

How do I know if this is for me?
The mental challenge of thinking through these scenarios, and learning tips and techniques from these experts, is time well spent for any aviator. Over 15,000 pilots have joined PilotWorkshops’ Mastery programs, so you’ll be in good company, and you’ll see this reflected in the quality of the comments found in our private discussion forum. Having said all that — the best way to know if it’s for you is to try it. You can cancel any time and with this free trial there is no risk.

What if I don’t like VFR Mastery?
No problem — you can cancel any time; during the 30-day trial or afterwards. You can cancel by phone, email or on our website. We make it easy  because we only want paying members who really want the training.

What if I forget I signed up?
You can cancel and get a refund; but it will be hard to forget. We’ll send you a reminder email 3 weeks into your trial. We also send out two emails per month when we publish new scenarios or quizzes.

What if I miss a month?
No problem. The entire scenario library is available to you at all times during your membership. A “Watchlist” feature lets you keep track of scenarios you want to see, and a “Logbook” tracks your completions.

Will it run on my Computer and iPad?
Yes. VFR Mastery runs on Windows PCs, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. The only requirement is an internet connection and a web browser. Over half of our current subscribers watch the VFR Mastery scenarios on their iPads.

Start Your Full-Access VFR Mastery Membership

  • Your first 30 days are free so you can check it out.
  • Your credit card will only be charged if you decide to continue beyond 30 days.
  • We’ll send you a reminder email before you are charged.
  • Cancel anytime online, by phone, or by email. No commitment required.

Price after 30 days: $14/month

90 Day Money-Back Guarantee!

If you aren’t completely satisfied we’ll give you a full refund. No questions asked! PilotWorkshops.com has been an A+ rated member of the Better Business Bureau since 2006.

WINGS Approved!

You can earn 3 WINGS credits for each monthly VFR Mastery scenario completed: 1 basic, 1 advanced and 1 master. An easy way to stay current within the WINGS program!

PilotWorkshops is proud to support AOPA and its membership in their mission of advancing the growth and safety of general aviation.