FLYING Magazine

The National Association of Flight Instructors’ (NAFI) Flight Instructor Hall of Fame will soon honor long-standing aviation educators Doug Stewart and Tim Tucker for their history of safety, leadership, and professionalism. 

Stewart and Tucker will be inducted into the hall of fame during the NAFI breakfast at EAA AirVenture on July 25 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Both Stewart and Tucker have dedicated their instructional lives to helping pilots develop the tools they need to become capable and safe educators. They both serve as much-needed mentors within the aviation education sphere, ensuring the teaching of future generations.

Over their decades of service, the pair have served the industry by working in coordination with the FAA, associations, and aerospace companies on various certification and safety committees.

“The combined positive impact these two individuals have had on aviation safety and training is remarkable,” said Paul Preidecker, president of NAFI,. “Doug and Tim deserve our congratulations and thanks for their many contributions.”

Doug Stewart

Stewart, the 2004 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year, is a full-time flight instructor focusing on real-world IFR training primarily conducted on multiday training missions.

Doug Stewart [Courtesy: National Association of Flight Instructors]

Stewart said his original motivation for becoming a CFI was so he could fly without having to pay for it. Soon after he started teaching, however, he realized that flight instruction was his life’s calling. He is based at the Columbia County Airport (1B1) in Hudson, New York.

Stewart has provided more than 13,500 hours of flight instruction, including more than 5,700 of instrument instruction. He has been a Gold Seal instructor, a Master Instructor for 26 years, and a DPE for more than 20.

In 2001 he was named the Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year by the Windsor Locks FSDO.

Stewart also serves as the executive director emeritus for the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and is one of its founding members. He also served on the General Aviation Joint Safety Committee (GAJSC) for more than 10 years.

Beginning in 2010, he was part of the FAA-initiated Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) and subsequent Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) tasked with overhauling the practical test standards into the airman certification standards. Stewart often serves as a subject matter expert for pilot workshops and presents FAA WINGS seminars.

Tim Tucker

Tucker is known as one of the top rotorcraft instructors in the industry. His 8,800-hour flight instructor career is divided into three categories: FAA instructor, military instructor, and DPE. He began his teaching career in 1973 in Danbury, Connecticut, flying a Bell 47.

Tim Tucker [Courtesy: National Association of Flight Instructors]

As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Tucker attended the U.S. Army Instructor Pilot course at then-Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 1977 and the Army’s Instrument Flight Examiner course in 1986. Tucker spent 20 years as an Army Reserve instructor pilot, rising through the ranks to become a standardization instructor pilot.

Tucker has a long history with the Robinson Helicopter Company, taking delivery of the first Robinson R22 production model in 1979 and then endorsing the first student pilot for solo.

In 1982, he went to work for Robinson as its first chief instructor. He spent 38 years using the R22 and later the R44 to revolutionize the helicopter training industry.

He authored the Robinson Flight Training Guide, which has become the foundation for all of the company’s training and is used by instructors around the world.

In 1983, Tucker and founder Frank Robinson developed the Robinson Flight Instructor Safety Course. Over the next 10 years, the safety course was credited with cutting the R22 instructional accident rate by 66 percent.

Tucker also has taught 125 foreign safety courses in 30 countries and 57 cities. As of 2020 when he retired, the safety course had more than 21,000 participants.

Tucker, who became a DPE in 1994, has conducted 794 helicopter practicals in 26 different types of aircraft, logging an incredible 7,514 hours as an FAA pilot examiner. 

In addition, Tucker has authored numerous training articles for magazines around the world, conducted safety seminars throughout the U.S., and with the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team produced several safety videos. He is responsible for naming, then promoting the “Vuichard Recovery” from the vortex ring state, which is now used by helicopter pilots worldwide. 

Tucker’s previous awards include the HAI Flight Instructor of the Year (2000), Joseph L. Mashman Safety Award (2005), and Cumberbatch Trophy given by the U.K. Honourable Company of Air Pilots (2021).

About the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame

The NAFI administers the hall of fame program, though it is not an organization-governed entity.

Nominees must have worked in the field of aviation education under 14 CFR Parts 61, 121, 141, or 142 for a minimum of 20 years prior to nomination and have been considered to have provided active flight instruction for at least 10 years.

Nominees must have held a valid FAA flight instructor certificate during that time.

Nominees may have worked as flight instructors, pilot examiners, technical support developers, instructional innovators, academicians, and publication and/or textbook authors.

Nominees must be of good moral character (i.e., FAR 61.153(c)) and be respected within the aviation industry for their integrity, professionalism, and diligence.

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