First Wing Flight Chief Flight Instructor and Cirrus Aircraft Platinum Flight Instructor Pat Gaston has been named a 2019 Distinguished Flight Instructor by AOPA: your freedom to fly.
The 2019 Flight Training Experience Survey received 7,585 complete responses. From that feedback, 972 flight schools and 1,876 flight instructors were reviewed by their customers. Awards were chosen for standout schools and for instructors with at least five independent reviews and consistently superior ratings.
Customers highlighted educational quality, customer service, information sharing, and community among the 51 distinguished flight schools and 53 distinguished instructors who comprised the top one-third of their region. A blind committee of industry experts awarded the top-scoring flight school and instructor in each of six regions—Eastern, Southern, Great Lakes, Central Southwest, Northwest Mountain, and Western Pacific. A seventh award was presented to the overall national award winner.
“Your students are the future of our community, and when you serve them well, you serve us all,” said AOPA You Can Fly Executive Director Elizabeth Tennyson. “Without great CFIs and flight schools, there would be no pilots. You teach, you motivate, you inspire. And for every would-be pilot who walks through the door, you make the difference between dreaming and doing.”
The awards help celebrate those who provide a customer experience that can elevate pilots of all levels, said Moser, who complimented the group of “amazing aviation educators.” The survey and accompanying awards are based on AOPA research that identified four characteristics that Moser said were critical to providing the best flight training experience: educational quality, customer focus, community, and information sharing. “While those areas may seem like common sense, it takes commitment and hard work to consistently deliver them to customers,” he said.
The 2019 survey results were used to select winners of the Flight Training Experience Awards which were presented during Redbird Migration, October 15-17, in Englewood, Colorado
The 2020 Flight Training Experience Survey will open in early summer.