KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The National Association of Flight Instructors recently honored Gregory G. Gorak as the 25th inductee into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame.
The induction took place in Gorak’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as part of a surprise luncheon presentation during the flight instructor refresher clinic presented by Gaits Aviation Seminars, which Gorak owns.
Just before the group was breaking for lunch, NAFI Chairman Robert Meder, Program Coordinator John Niehaus, Board Member and President/Chief Instructor of the Sporty’s Academy Eric Radtke, and longtime NAFI Corporate Supporter, Hall of Fame Panel Member, and Founder of Sporty’s Pilot Shop Hal Shevers interrupted to surprise everyone, including Gorak, with a special NAFI-provided lunch and award presentation.
Accompanied by his close friends, family, students, and peers, Gorak was presented the Hall of Fame Traveling Trophy, a commemorative plaque, and the ceremony concluded with speeches by NAFI staff, Shevers, and Gorak himself. Meder ended the presentation by saying that “Greg embodies all the qualities that make up the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame, and it is our honor to add him as the 25th inductee.”
Gorak owns Gaits Aviation Seminars, and is an 8,600-plus hour Airline Transport Pilot as well as a dynamic educator. He started flying in 1962 in a J3 Cub and received his private pilot’s certificate in a 7 ECA with longtime instructor Al Sabota and examiner Hugo Picco. At the time he was a member of the West Allis flying club, which allowed him to get all his ratings starting with his private in 1963, commercial in 1966, and CFI in 1967.
Gorak was chairman of the Career Pilot Program at Gateway Technical Institute for nine years and also taught for the National Association of Flight Instructors in 1976. He founded Gaits Aviation Seminars, Inc. in 1977 and has been on the presenter’s circuit for 43 years.
Gaits Aviation Seminars has graduated more than 18,000 flight instructors. A common evaluation by the CFIs who take the Gaits Seminars is, “You made me want to instruct again.”
Gorak flew charter for seven years with Scott Air Charter at Mitchell Field, accumulating thousands of hours. He has five children, one of whom (Mark) followed him into aviation, getting his helicopter rating at Fort Rucker and is now a colonel serving at the Pentagon.
Gorak uses his BA in Radio/TV Broadcasting and Announcing from Marquette University and his MS in Administration from the University of Wisconsin, as well as his Acting and Comic Opera Singing talents, to provide a dynamic and fun presentation to aviation professionals.
The FAA named him the Flight Instructor of the Year for the United States in 1975. The National Association of Flight Instructors awarded Gorak Master Flight Instructor Status in 1998 and he has renewed every two years since.
He is a past member of the Wisconsin Aerospace Education Committee, a current Master Flight Instructor with NAFI, Captain and CFI check pilot in the Civil Air Patrol (specializing in G-1000 glass cockpit), and current member of EAA and AOPA.
When asked about his experiences and Hall of Fame induction, Gorak said: “After 46 years of flight instructing, my students have taught me more than I could ever gain in any other area of aviation, because as the old philosopher says by your student you shall be taught. I feel privileged and honored to join such a notable and distinguished group, and I hope I can live up to the reputation that has been established these many years.”
Established in 1997, the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame has inaugurated 25 individuals over the course of 16 years. Its recipients must have a minimum of 20 years working in aviation education and must be well respected within the industry. The award consists of three pieces, a traveling trophy that is presented to the current inductee(s) for a year, a commemorative plaque for the inductee(s), and a wall display consisting of all the previous recipients that resides within the AirZoo Aviation Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan which is also the National Association of Flight Instructor’s Headquarters.
For more information about the Hall of Fame visit the NAFI website.