Master Instructors LLC recently reintroduced the Aerobatic Instructor Designation Program.
Initially launched in 2007, the program is an extension of the Master Aerobatic Instructor designation that became available in 2001. This voluntary program has now undergone revision to bring it into alignment with other Master Instructor Continuing Education Program products.
According to Rich Stowell, architect of the original program and the primary reviewer of aerobatic instructor applications for eight years, “the success of industry-based programs such as the Master Instructor Continuing Education Program and the ICAS Aerobatic Competency Evaluation (ACE) Program encouraged us to further develop this broad program for aerobatic instructors.”
Many of the same principles underlying the Master Instructor and ACE Programs drove this process as well, namely the desire to establish professional standards; establish and promote a Code of Ethics; encourage continuing aviation education and self-assessment
; provide a process for peer review and recognition of accomplishment; and improve interaction and cooperation between FAA and aviation organizations.
The program recognizes three levels of aerobatic instructor:
1. Flight Instructor-Aerobatic (FI-A): This individual is not a current CFI, but possesses at least a commercial or an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, has received instruction in and passed the FAA knowledge test covering the fundamentals of instruction, has a spin endorsement, and within the previous 24 calendar months has qualified to be an FI-A per the program guidelines.
2. CFI-Aerobatic (CFI-A): This individual is a CFI, and within the previous 24 calendar months has qualified to be a CFI-A per the program guidelines.
3. Master CFI-Aerobatic (MCFI-A): This individual is a CFI, has either been a CFI for at least four years or been a CFI for at least two years and holds Gold Seal status, and within the previous 24 calendar months has qualified to be an MCFI-A per the program guidelines.
Candidates earn one of the three Aerobatic Instructor designations through a rigorous process of continuing professional activity and peer review. Renewed biennially, the Aerobatic Instructor designation formally recognizes those aviation educators who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community. To date, 20 initial MCFI-A and four initial CFI-A designations have been granted; 16 MCFI-A renewals have been granted as well.