National Association of Flight Instructors Helps Kit Builders Become Safe Fliers

The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) held its Master Flight Instructor Breakfast Friday morning at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, and one Master CFI, Ron Galbraith, of Odenton, Maryland, took time to speak with KITPLANES about his own work as a Lancair ES builder, an A&P;, and a test pilot and checkout pilot for other Lancair builders around the country.

“Skysmith Insurance knows me now as the guy who checks out people in Lancairs,” explains Galbraith. “What’s nice is that because I’m building my own, I know what to look for on the projects before they fly. And I’ve flown a lot of Lancairs now, so I know how they are supposed to fly." Once he’s helped an owner tweak the airplane so that it handles properly, he’ll transition the owner/builder into the machine.

“Sometimes it takes just a few hours, and sometimes I have to come back,” he said. “It varies. But one thing is always true. Builders have a lot of emotional attachment to their high-performance, complex projects, and it really isn’t a good idea for them to test-fly them unless they are qualified and have already done a transition training course. It just makes sense, from a safety standpoint.”

Galbraith points out that at NAFI you can find a listing of Master Flight Instructors and their specialties. It is a great place to begin looking for the right instructor to transition you into your prize machine. With the right training you’ll be ready to handle anything your project throws at you—and ready to safely reap the benefits of your hard work for years to come.

Contributing Editor Amy Laboda is a freelance writer and editor of Aviation for Women magazine. She's an ATP-rated pilot and instrument and multi-engine Flight Instructor with a passion for teaching and flying in light aircraft. Her steady rides these days are a 18-year old Kitfox IV and a fresh Van's RV-10.

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