Getting to Know NATHAN ZUCKER

SAFE#: 0055

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

Home Airport: KFXE

Occupation: Pilot

Website: www.flyplatinum.com

Education: BS Aviation Engineering, The Ohio State University

Pilot Certificates: ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI AGI, IGI

Airplanes Flying/Flown: SR22, SR20 DA42, COL3, C152, C172, C182, C206, PA18, PA30, PA46, J3, J5, PA12, G115C, BE76, BE350, T28

Educational Specialty: TAA

Q & A

What drew you to aviation? I can honestly say that I have always wanted to fly professionally. My Father flew in the Navy and I lived under the approach path to JFK growing up, so I am sure that had an influence.

How long have you been involved in aviation education? Since 1999.

What’s your favorite part of what you do in aviation education? I love watching students achieve a goal that they thought was unattainable only a short time before.

What’s your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Getting students to study at home.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you’d like to share? While doing power on stalls with a student in an SR22, the student saw the ball out to the right and kicked the left rudder pedal to the floor! The resulting snap roll and spin that followed were exciting. The student never made that mistake again (and no, we didn’t pull the chute).

Why did you join SAFE? I wanted to be part of an organization that represented me.

What would you like to see change in aviation? The quality of the average CFI. I feel too many instructors are just logbook padding to get to the airlines, and this causes a trickle down effect. Their students learn only what they need to pass and then when they become CFIs they do the same thing. What happens then is we have a large number of pilots who never had good training, but who may be under the illusion that they are really good pilots and know everything they need to know. This makes all of us less safe and leads to accidents even at the airline level.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished? Raise CFI pay so that it is not a steppingstone to something bigger and not necessarily better. This will keep people from using their CFI as a time building certificate.

Any accomplishments in, or noteworthy contributions to aviation and/or aviation education you’d like to mention? I worked on the AGATE research project in college, which was one of the NASA projects that lead to airplanes like the Cirrus and other TAA airplanes. I also won the CFI Candidate of the Year Award from the Ohio State University in 1999.

Who are your role models in aviation? Very easy: Marvin “the King” Easter. I am the CFI that I am because of Marv; he trained me to be an educator, not just a warm body in the right seat.

Anything else you’d like to add? Fly S.A.F.E.