Michael Ely

by Michael Ely on October 18, 2021

SAFE #: S0002519

Hometown: Liberty TX, United States

Home Airport: 54T

Occupation: Pilot/Instructor

Pilot Certificates: ATP-AMEL, CFI-AIME&G, Comm. Privilages – ASELS, Glider, CFI-AIME & G

Airplanes Flying/Flown: 40 types/makes/models

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: I was in love with flying for as long as I can remember.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: Since 1983, even before.

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Fly long cross-countries. I've flow to almost every part of the country and many other countries. I've crossed the Atlantic many times, been to some unique locations in South America and isolated locations in Canada.

What's your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: My least favorite days are telling someone no. No, I'm sorry but you do not have enough situational awareness or a critical skill that you would need to be a safe pilot. I've been the bearer of bad news a few times like this and it never makes me feel good. But sometimes if we are honest, that's what it takes. I don't pass those kinds of decisions on to an examiner/evaluator.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: Yes but I'll not write a memoir here.

Why did you join SAFE?: I'm a flight instructor, a simulator instructor and an evaluator in specific aircraft and it is one more avenue to develop my skills just that much further.

What would you like to see change in aviation?: Attitudes, it starts with the CFI and if they do not build a strong ethical background into their students, then the whole industry suffers.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished?: With the basics. Teaching isn't done when the engine stops, in fact, the post flight activities promote more learning than some in depth study. Taking the time to teach a student the proper way to tie down an aircraft and why is a good post-flight lesson that is severely lacking in today's world where the CFI jumps ship and dashes off to the next student.

Who are your role models in aviation?: I've met a number of individuals that could meet this definition but my first instructor in 1975 was a gentleman named Dennis Reece and he was a fireman full-time and a instructor part-time. He loved flying and he enjoyed teaching and wanted to do it right. But there was also Chuck Gifford at Cypress College who asked me to hold off getting my CFI (I was about to take my checkride when I entered the program) so I could compete for one year on the school flying team. That year was one of the most educational of my life and has influenced my aviation career immensely. Mr. Galloway was my meteorology instructor at Mount San Antonio College and when I was sick for a couple weeks, he took the time to call and go over the lessons on the phone. He made learning weather fun and when he passed, there were over 400 former students who came to his funeral from all over the world. These are my mentors.

Anything else you'd like to add?: Former Accident Prevention Councilor in Long Beach, CA and an FAASTeam Representative in Houston.

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