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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 5 July 31, 2008     

Meet NAFI’s new leader
By James Wynbrandt

Jason Blair of NAFI.  Photo by Phil Weston

Say hello to the new leader of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI). Jason Blair has been named executive director of the organization that represents active flight instructors, filling the gap left by the recently retired Rusty Sachs. Blair, a master certificated flight instructor (MCFI), has relocated to Oshkosh from the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area to take NAFI’s reins.

There are good reasons flight instructors, pilots, and prospective pilots should know about NAFI. First, the organization helps provide oversight for proposed changes to existing regulations governing flight instruction, and it helps the FAA develop new rules, such as those governing training requirements for the sport pilot certificate.

"We serve as a review panel," Blair said. "The FAA suggests changes, and NAFI and the EAA review and recommend changes."

NAFI, founded in 1967, became affiliated with the EAA in 1995. Its 5,500 members provide primary flight training as well as training for advanced ratings, and many also serve as mentors to younger flight instructors. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh plays a big role in the organization’s workings, according to Blair.

"AirVenture is a good chance for a large variety of our members to get together and discuss efforts across the country, a meeting point for board members and for the membership itself, and it’s a lot of fun to come to."

Among the activities planned for the fly-in is a breakfast for NAFI Master Instructors and an instructors’ appreciation dinner on Thursday open to all flight instructors. At NAFI’s display booth, just south of the old control tower, NAFI is conducting a preflight contest.

Blair offers compelling reasons for active flight instructors to join NAFI.

"We offer some fantastic benefits," Blair said, ticking off a list that included free subscriptions to aviation publications and member discounts on orders from Sporty’s, Gleim, Aviation Supplies & Academics, and several other providers of aviation merchandise.

Blair is confident all flight instructors, whether NAFI members or not, can provide quality training, and encourages anyone who’s ever had an interest in aviation to take a flight lesson.

"Start today, start now, and look for an instructor locally," Blair said. "Just about wherever anybody is, they can find somebody who will introduce them to aviation and try an introductory flight. People think they just go for a ride on an introductory flight, but the instructor will give them the controls and they will be flying and airplane."

Despite his executive appointment and new management responsibilities, Blair will continue doing what he enjoys most: providing flight instruction.

"I do a big mix: private, instrument, commercial, CFI, and tailwheel instruction. I haven’t specialized in one area. When I go flying I still get giddy when the wheels leave the ground. One of the joys of instruction is giving others an opportunity to try something that is pretty darn amazing."

NAFI, FAA pen safety-training agreement
By Greg Laslo

Pilots may soon get a better, stronger, clearer safety message from their instructors, if a Letter of Understanding signed this week by the FAA’s Flight Safety Team (FAASTeam) and the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) works as planned.

The letter formalizes a relationship between the two organizations intended to help instructors increase their knowledge of safety and provide better information to their students. As a result, the two organizations expect to create an improved culture of "safety" in general aviation, said Kevin Clover, the FAASTeam National Manager.

"Everyone intuitively knows that if you can improve the CFIs, they touch so many people that we make a difference in aviation safety," Clover said. "NAFI is really key to our efforts in the FAASTeam at changing the safety culture."

Pilots will receive a standardized safety message across the training industry through safety seminars, training materials, and the FAASTeam’s website, www.FAASafety.gov, said NAFI Executive Director Jason Blair.

"From NAFI’s point of view, this is an opportunity for us to really push our membership to be more involved in the FAASTeam and to help coordinate the materials and standardization of training and information across the industry," Blair said. "A lot of our members are doing that already, but they’re not doing that in a coordinated fashion."

This agreement will change that, he said, as industry and government work together for the common goal of improving this training.

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