Meet the Board of Directors


New 2021 Board of Directors:

Ellen Quist

EllenQuistI earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry before making an early-life career pivot to pursue my long-burning interest in aviation. I worked at the local FBO as I built up my ratings, which gave me a broad exposure to many angles of the general aviation world, and am now a freelance CFI/CFII and commercial pilot, instructing and flying with my business, Flyhalf Aero. I have always had a passion for learning, which has benefitted me greatly as I’ve progressed into a teaching role.

As a young and (admittedly very) fresh CFI, I joined SAFE for the access to professional development resources and tools to make me an informed, proficient, and safety-focused instructor. I think one of SAFE’s biggest assets to other up-and-coming instructors like myself is the mentorship program, which can give new instructors a link to the vast knowledge base of those SAFE members who have more hours of dual given than we have total hours flown, period. I have been very blessed in my flight training to have a handful of excellent mentors, but I realize that for new CFIs in areas where the pilot density is thinner, or who want to specialize in some specific type of training or aircraft, or who are young pilots that are female or people of color in a field that is overwhelmingly white and male, finding a mentor with a specific experience background or insight might be difficult at the local airport. SAFE’s ability to pair mentors with mentees benefits instructors and professionals of all ranges of experience by enabling us all to learn from others.
Aviation is constantly evolving. My generation of instructors is learning to fly and learning to teach in the era of glass panels, three-axis autopilots, and magenta lines, where the cost of training continues to climb, and between 9/11 and the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot market has seen some aggressive fluctuations. As a member of the SAFE Board of Directors, I would hope to help communicate and advocate for the needs and concerns of this new generation of pilots, while using the wisdom of our far more experienced colleagues to promote a strong safety culture and maximize the proficiency of our next generation of aviation professionals.

 Mike McCurdy

MikeMcCurdyI have been a pilot since 1989 and a CFI, CFII, and MEI since 2001. I currently own two flight schools, IFR6 and CHS Flight School. I am passionate about effective flight training- our flight schools are very successful because we operate on simple principles: 1.    Flight training, like every successful business, should be centered on the customer’s needs. 2.    The measure of a good flight school is the number of check rides, not the number of customers. 3.    As instructors, we teach by what we do as much as by what we say. 4.    Our goal is to train people to be pilots, not just to fly an airplane. I am excited about the opportunity to join the S.A.F.E. Board of Directors. The organization’s Code of Ethics is one of the best I have seen and dovetails perfectly with our approach to flight training here. If chosen as a Board member, I will work hard to keeping S.A.F.E. the premier flight-training organization that it is now.

 Michael Phillips

MichaelPhillipsI am a professional aviation educator, a SAFE charter member, had the opportunity to fill a vacant Board seat several years ago, and a Seven-Time Master Instructor. I have been an independent flight instructor for most of my aviation career which has been part of my professional life but not my total focus. In 2005 I made the decision to focus my energy full time as a flight instructor. In the first few years, I was a Chief Flight Instructor and Manager of an FBO before choosing to flight instruct full time. I am a principle in Aviation Simulator Training Center, instruct in many aircraft from tail wheel thru single-engine turbo-prop aircraft. I am most proud of the fact that I have logged over 12,000 hours of dual given. I am the Master Instructor Continuing Education Program Coordinator, which recently integrated our Accreditation Program with SAFE, and as such I meet with the SAFE Board on a monthly basis. The diversity of my years in aviation, my passion for excellence, and the role that SAFE has played in my growth as a flight instructor has made my decision to ask for your vote, as a member of the Board, another way to give back to those of us that have chosen Aviation Education as an integral and important part of our lives.

AndrewChanMy name is Andrew Chan and I appreciate your consideration of my candidacy to the SAFE Board of Directors.  As a young boy, I always looked to the skies and dreamed of becoming a pilot.  When I turned 18, I took the plunge and earned my wings.  I caught the flying bug like the best of them.  At 20, I started my first flight school- one of the first in the US to specialize in Sport Pilot Training.  With an amazing job offer from JetBlue, I sold the business..  After years away from my passion, I started my second flight school, Right Rudder Aviation in 2016.  Today,  RRA is a Premier Flight Training destination, FBO, and Pipistrel Panthera Aircraft Dealership.

As a dedicated career aviation educator, my personal mission is to make the dream of flight accessible to everyone and instill each and every client with an innate, unrelenting culture of safety.  I believe that SAFE plays a vital role in promoting aviation safety in GA, and if elected I look forward to bringing my training, experience, and passion to the SAFE board.  One of my goals is to help create the next generation of flight training models.  One that improves safety, promotes aviation, and rewards rather than discourage career educators.  Aviation is a gift to us all, It would be my extreme pleasure to give back to the aviation community as a board member.”

MichaelHareMichael Hare: My interest in this position stems from where we are right now.  A time of rapid and sweeping changes, particularly in aviation. I want to be part of that change – to help shape the future of aviation while maintaining our high standards.  I want to keep learning and teaching others to help us move through these challenging times. I want to inspire others and be an agent of change – an approach that has characterized my professional life.

Why me?

My 45 years of aviation background allows me to see these challenges from multiple perspectives – from my general aviation and commercial aviation experiences, to my military and combat experiences. For example, one of my positions in the Air Force as Director of Emergency Preparedness required me to deal with change and risk constantly – to plan for it.  My team and I devised reasonable responses to extreme situations, and I tried to provide the voice of reason. At another point, I had to transition my F-16 squadron to a C-130 squadron, quadrupling the number and diversity of the people involved.  The culture change was difficult. Obstacles were everywhere. People from the old unit wanted to cling to the status quo. New people wanted to establish their contributions and connections. As an old F-16 guy I had a foot in each camp.  Through group brainstorming, strategic thinking, planning and teamwork, I got to create a path to the future that included everyone and incorporated efficiency and safety. So, this isn’t new for me, I’ve been thinking about and working with change for more than 40 years. We, as flight instructors and the SAFE organization as a whole need to plan for the future and recognize the wonderful opportunities the future presents.  I can contribute and help lead us there.

NewlanParkerUpdatedNewlan Parker’s ratings include ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI and IGI. He started his aviation career in the US Navy, where he was an In-Flight Technician/Ordnanceman on the P-3C Orion aircraft. He spent five years on the P-3, accumulating 1500 hours flying all over the world in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After separating from the military, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and a Master’s degree in Commercial Aviation.

He flew for a regional airline in the Pacific Northwest for four years as a First Officer and then Captain. In 2018, he accepted a position as a Captain in a Citation Mustang flying for a Montana hospital. In the spring of 2019, he earned the Master Flight Instructor accreditation and in the fall of 2019 was given Designated Pilot Examiner authority from the FAA. He is also a FAASTeam representative for the Helena FSDO and volunteers with his church. Newlan has flown in 27 different countries and all 50 states, but considers being a DPE the highest honor and most humbling experience of his career. Spending time with his family, handing applicant’s their hard-earned Temporary Airman Certificate, and flying SuperCubs in Montana are his favorite things to do.”


Eric Hake is a CFII, CSIP and actively involved in aviation education on a daily basis as a trainer for The Modern Pilot LLC, a Houston, Texas based business he founded in 2015 (and new Cirrus Center).  From 2009 to 2015, Hake worked for ForeFlight, where he personally answered more than 50,000 support email messages and built up the current Pilot Support Team.  Hake is also a CSIP, type-rated in the Cirrus Jet, a Redbird Certificated Flight Instructor, a mission-qualified pilot in Civil Air Patrol, and a sought after public speaker.

Parvez Dara is a CFII and avid Mooney pilot. He recently renewed his Master CFI accreditation for the fifth time through Master Instructors LLC. Parvez is an aviation medical examiner (AME) as well as a Mooney Pilot Proficiency flight and ground instructor with the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association Safety Foundation ( ). He also serves as a FAASTeam representative in the FAA’s Philadelphia FSDO area.