Model Excellence; Earn a Master CFI (LLC)

The secret to inspiring pilots to be eager lifetime learners is to embrace this commitment (and model it) ourselves. Educators are the “influencers” in aviation and continual improvement is essential both as an example and to stay sharp. If we are not curious and excited – seeking new knowledge – inevitably cynicism and glassy-eyed complacency begin to set in. We all know these CFIs, rusting in the right seat and motivating no one. They renew every other year with the cheapest FIRC they can find and struggle with changes to the regs and new technology. This problem is also everywhere in daily life; statistics reveal that 70% of  US workers on the job are “disengaged” and uninspired.

To maintain your edge and excitement in every profession requires a commitment to continual growth and learning. In aviation, this does not only mean pursuing new ratings but also building professional credentials by pursuing a Master Instructor Certification. Cutting edge educational institutions like APS (Aviation Performance Solutions) require this certification of all of their educators.

An essential component of our unparalleled instructional philosophy, APS instructor pilots achieve the Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatics (MCFI-A) designation by the end of their first year with APS and are required to maintain currency. Learn more about the MCFI and its rigorous requirements here.

The Master Certified Flight Instructor – Aerobatics (MCFI-A) designation is an FAA-recognized national accreditation from Master Instructors. To achieve the MCFI-A designation, an instructor must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community and must pass a rigorous evaluation by a peer board of review. The designation significantly surpasses the FAA requirements for renewal of the candidate’s flight instructor certificate.

Like every other certificate, a new CFI is a “license to learn.” Look at the Canadian CFI system  (which has four levels of instructors) to see how perfunctory our FAA preparation can be! A new CFIs in Canada is not even allowed to initially teach unless supervised by a senior CFI. In Canada, a new CFI needs further training and certification to “go solo.” Even as a senior educator, maintaining a “beginner’s mind” makes the difference between “a thousand unique hours of experience and one hour a thousand times.”

The accumulation of hours and experience is often regarded as the sole criterion of honor and excellence in aviation. But unfortunately, piling up hours can easily result in increased complacency thus diminishing safety. Unless we are actively and eagerly pursuing excellence on every flight we usually are developing “right seat rust.”  As pilots, we are only as good as our last landing; there is no “safety inoculation” from historic hours (especially when we are just “talking a good show”)!

Give Master Instructor LLC a try and prove your worth as an aviation educator. Sign up for our SAFE CFI-PRO™ workshop (next at Sporty’s in June) and bring new ideas and learning into your teaching. Expand *your* personal and professional flight envelope. Fly often (and safely!)


SAFE CFI-PRO™ workshop  is open to every aviation educator at every level (even if you are working on your CFI?)

Join SAFE to support our safety mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits pay back your contribution (1/3 off your ForeFlight subscription)! Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitates CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business).

About the author

David St. George

David St. George is an FAA DPE (Sport to Multi ATP) and a Part 135 charter pilot flying the Pilatus PC-12 in the NYC area. He recently renewed his Master Instructor for the tenth time and is a Charter member of SAFE. Formerly a 141 Chief Instructor for over 25 years, with a Gold Seal CFI. David started flying at 16 and has logged over 15,000 hours. He owns a 1946 7AC Aeronca Champ and wrote the SAFE Toolkit app.


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