The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) will have a new chair as of year-end. After eight years at the helm, during which NAFI membership has doubled, Bob Meder is passing the baton to Karen Kalishek of De Pere, Wisconsin. Kalishek heads up KAL Consulting and Training as an independent, full-time flight instructor. She holds CFI/CFII/MEI, CFI-Glider and ATP ratings and is an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. She was also awarded FAA Gold Seal Instructor honors. Meder was named the St. Louis FSDO 2009 CFI of the year, the Lincoln 2010 FSDO CFI of the year and the 2010 Central Region CFI of the Year.
Kalishek said her primary goal is to grow the community of certified flight instructors at a time when pilots are badly needed. The “good” is that there are multiple opportunities for flight instructors, she said. The “bad” is, “We can’t train them fast enough!” Part of the challenge is to establish flight instruction as a viable career choice. At present, the job of instructing is too often viewed as simply a stepping stone to an airline flying job.
One source of potential flight instructors, said Kalishek, is retired professional pilots. She and Meder both related that flight instruction was a third or fourth career for them. They both feel strongly that “giving back” to aviation is a top motivator for their commitment to flight instruction.