Congratulations New 2021 Board members!

by David St. George (Lifetime Member) on June 19, 2021

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.

United Aviation “Alphabets” Push Back on New FAA Restrictions

by David St. George (Lifetime Member) on June 9, 2021

AviationOrganizationsAligned2 In a June 4th letter from the FAA, a new policy was announced by the FAA aligning the recent Warbird Adventures decision with 91.319 and defining flight instruction as “carrying persons or property for compensation or hire.” This reverses historic FAA guidance and also 8900.1 which defines flight instruction as “educational.”

This new policy would also prevent flight instruction in *all* experimental aircraft without a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA). The additional downstream legal consequences of this FAA policy reversal are also frightening in terms of medical requirements and liability for CFIs. This new FAA policy is based on the Gregory Morris Legal Interpretation from 2014 and is opposed by a consortium of professional aviation groups (including SAFE).

According to AOPA, there are 27,040 amateur-built aircraft 39,321 experimental manned aircraft currently in the registry, with numbers growing by nearly 1,000 aircraft annually. The pilots of these planes would be without instruction without LODAs (which are difficult to arrange) and this impacts both initial training and safety for certificated pilots. The aligned aviation groups sent a strongly-worded objection opposing this FAA policy reversal.

SAFE Opposes “Warbird Adventures” Precedent

May 23, 2021

SAFE has taken a clear stand opposing the recent court “Warbird Adventures” Decision. We are asking the FAA for immediate clarification supporting the historic FAA interpretation of CFI as “aviation educator” NOT “charter operator.” Though the current analysis seems to indicate that CFIs are not immediately threatened here (this is a very narrow decision targeting […]

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Spring Sweepstakes Continues

April 18, 2021

SAFE Sweepstakes: Win a Lightspeed Zulu/Sporty’s Handheld/Aerox PrO2 System. In order for *everyone* to have a chance to win just renew, step-up (to supporting status), or donate to SAFE (tax deductible) and you will be entered into our sweepstakes. Win a Lightspeed Zulu Headset, a Sporty’s handheld radio or newly added Aerox PrO2 oxygen system. […]

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Visit SAFE at Sun ‘N Fun 2021

March 29, 2021

  We took a chance and registered for Sun ‘N Fun 2021. It seems like we are going to have a rockin’ show with ticket sales exceeding historic rates. Stop by and visit us at Booth B-22 (right at the left side of “Bravo Hangar” as you enter from the food court). We will have […]

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SAFE Partners with CFI Bootcamp (New Member Resources!)

March 5, 2021

A new partner relationship with CFI Bootcamp now allows SAFE members to save 20% on any of the CFI training company’s products or services. This training system is the brainchild of former DPE Mike Shiflett and focuses on creating (and supporting) the best CFIs in the business. All online courses are 10% off. SAFE Members […]

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Master Instructors Finds a Home at SAFE!

March 5, 2021

The original Master Instructor Program has set the standard of excellence in aviation education since it was first introduced by Sandy and JoAnn Hill of Colorado in 1997. Celebrating 24 years and thousands of designations, Master Instructors represents what former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey called “the best the right seat has to offer” in aviation. […]

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New “Checkride Ready!™” On The SAFE App.

September 20, 2020

SAFE is addressing pilot applicants directly to provide better training for common problems discovered by experienced DPEs on check rides. These blunders result in “Pink Slips” and both Private and Instrument “Pink Slips” have been covered in the SAFEblog. Now, these have been imported and are available to pilot applicants on the SAFE Tookit App […]

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