Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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What is a Master Instructor?   Gold Seal?

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Logo NAFI Master InstructorThe designation is awarded by NAFI, the National Association of Flight Instructors for exceptional achievements and dedication to flight instruction as a profession. Here is what NAFI says about the designation:

To help put this achievement in its proper perspective, there are approximately 81,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 400 of them have achieved that distinction thus far. The last eight national Flight Instructors of the Year were Master CFIs.  While there are only 7,461 (as of Feb 2005), there are only 25 Master Flight Instructors in Florida and three in Tampa.  There are even fewer that hold both Master CFI and Master Ground Instructor designations.  Darren is one of them and is also 1 of only 3 who hold all five ATP ratings.  Simply put, the Master Instructor designation is a means by which to identify those outstanding aviation educators, those "Teachers of Flight," who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community.

The Master Instructor designation is a national accreditation recognized by the FAA that is earned by candidates through a rigorous process of continuing education and peer review. Much like a flight instructor's certificate, it must be renewed biennially. This process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism. 

Earning this designation is tantamount to having the words summa cum laude emblazoned on an instructor's certificate. These Masters truly represent the crème de la crème of our industry!  NAFI is dedicated to providing support and recognition for America's aviation educators while helping them raise and maintain their level of professionalism. It is also committed to providing a safe and effective learning environment for student pilots. The Association was founded in 1967 and affiliated with EAA in May of 1995.  Find a Master Instructor at NAFInet.  Questions regarding the Master Instructor program may be directed to 303-485-8136 or NAFIMasters@aol.com or visit NAFI's website at www.NAFInet.org

Gold Seal Flight InstructorThe FAA Gold Seal is a coveted designation issued to certain flight instructors who meet a higher standard of performance as a CFI.  Those requirements include: 
        1. The flight instructor must hold a ground instructor certificate with an advanced or instrument ground instructor rating.
        2. The flight instructor must have accomplished the following within the previous 24 months trained and recommended at least 10 applicants for a practical test, at least 8 of whom passed their tests on the first attempt
The FAA issues this designation to those instructors with a proven track record of good performance and who have achieved a higher standard of certification than the average flight instructor.

Those who hold both Master Flight Instructor and FAA Gold Seal Instructor are rare.  There are estimated to be less than 200 in the entire world.  When you combine all three designations:  Master Flight Instructor, Master Ground Instructor, and FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor there are less than a handful on the entire planet.

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