Doug Stewart and Tim Tucker have both made improving safety through instructional excellence the hallmark of their respective careers.

The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) has announced the 2024 inductees to the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame. Safety advocates Doug Stewart and Tim Tucker will be honored for their significant contributions to instructor professionalism and improvement of pilot technique to further reduce the accident rate in general aviation.

Stewart and Tucker will be inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame at the NAFI Member’s Breakfast at EAA AirVenture at 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, in the NAFI Professional Development Center (Booth 354/355).

A common thread links both honorees this year: the relentless pursuit of developing safer pilots. Both Stewart and Tucker have dedicated their professional lives to giving fellow instructors the tools to pass along to their clients, and they have served as much-needed mentors within the aviation education sphere. The two have also given back to the industry by working in coordination with the FAA, associations, and aerospace companies on various certification and safety committees.

About this year’s Hall of Fame selection, NAFI President Paul Preidecker said, “The combined positive impact these two individuals have had on aviation safety and training is remarkable. Doug and Tim deserve our congratulations and thanks for their many contributions.”


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 multi-day training missions. Owning to his modest resources at the time, Doug’s 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.  From his home base 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 hours of instrument instruction. He has been a Gold Seal instructor, a Master Instructor for 26 years, and a designated pilot examiner for more than 20 years. He was named the Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year by the Windsor Locks FSDO in 2001.

The Executive Director Emeritus of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), and one of its founding members, Doug has 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 to overhaul the practical test standards into the airman certification standards. Stewart also provides subject matter expertise for Pilot Workshops and Community Aviation, in addition to serving as a mentor to new instructors. To this end, he has presented FAA WINGS seminars, among others, to thousands of pilots across North America and authored the monthly Vintage Instructor column for EAA’s Vintage Airplane magazine for several years. When not flying he is often found riding his bicycle.


Tucker stands today as one of the most influential rotorcraft instructors in the modern era. His 8,800-hour flight instructor career is divided into three categories: FAA instructor, military instructor, and designated pilot examiner. His instructing career began in 1973 when he received his CFI in Danbury, Connecticut, and began teaching in a Bell 47. As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Tucker attended the U.S. Army Instructor Pilot course at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, in 1977 and the Army’s Instrument Flight Examiner course in 1986. During 20 years as an Army Reserve instructor pilot, Tucker rose through the instructor ranks to become the Standardization Instructor Pilot. Tucker’s affiliation with the Robinson Helicopter Company began in its nascent days, taking delivery of the first Robinson R22 production helicopter in 1979, and then endorsing the first student pilot for solo. In 1982, he went to work for Robinson as its first chief instructor and spent the next 38 years helping the R22 and later the R44 revolutionize the helicopter training industry. He authored the Robinson Flight Training Guide, which has become the foundation for all Robinson 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 ten years, the Safety Course was credited with cutting the R22 instructional accident rate by 66 percent. As of 2020 when Tucker retired, the Safety Course had more than 21,000 participants. Tucker has taught 125 Foreign Safety Courses in 30 countries and 57 cities. Since becoming a DPE in 1994, he has given tests in 26 different helicopter types, conducting 8,794 helicopter practical tests by the time he retired in March 2024, which he estimates to be more than any other helicopter pilot examiner in FAA history. He has logged an incredible 7,514 hours as an FAA pilot examiner. 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 awards include the HAI Flight Instructor of the Year (2000), the Joseph L. Mashman Safety Award (2005), and the Cumberbatch Trophy awarded by the UK Honourable Company of Air Pilots (2021).


The National Association of Flight Instructors administers the Hall of Fame program, though it is not a NAFI-governed entity. Eligibility for induction rests upon several elements, including: * Nominees must have worked in the field of aviation education under 14 CFR parts 61, 121, 141, or 142 for a minimum of twenty (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 publications and/or textbook authors. * Nominees must be of good moral character [i.e., FAR 61.153(c)] and must be respected within the aviation industry for their integrity, professionalism, and diligence. * Prior suspension or revocation of any airman certificate or assessment of a civil penalty for pilot or flight violations may disqualify the nominee, as may any accident history. Last year’s inductee was Lieutenant Colonel Herbert W. “Bill” Powley, retired U.S. Air Force flight instructor, fighter pilot, and test pilot.


The National Association of Flight Instructors serves flight instructors and training providers, prospective pilots, and the greater aviation industry by providing resources to all flight educators. With a 50-plus year commitment to raising and maintaining the professional standing of instructors in the aviation community, NAFI elevates its members, led by its Code of Ethics. NAFI is the largest association dedicated exclusively to flight instruction, with a membership of more than 8,000 training professionals, which it serves through a monthly magazine, weekly newsletters, and MentorLIVE streamed events, More Right Rudder podcasts, and an annual NAFI Summit. For more information on NAFI, visit

Doug Stewart 

Tim Tucker