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Aviator earns master certification

May 30, 2008

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.--Dominic Nicolai, a lead flight instructor with Western Michigan University's College of Aviation, has earned his Master Certificated Flight Instructor accreditation from the National Association of Flight Instructors.

The master instructor designation is the only industry professional accreditation that the Federal Aviation Administration recognizes. It is earned by candidates through a rigorous process of continuing professional activity and peer review, and it must be renewed biennially.

To date, there are about 91,000 CFIs in the United States, but fewer than 600 of them have achieved the prestigious title of master. Only 24 Michigan aviation educators have earned this designation, nine of them from WMU.

Nicolai started his instructing career at WMU, progressing from being a part-time instructor to a high school outreach coordinator and now a lead flight instructor. He is dual qualified to train pilots for either FAA or Joint Aviation Authority certification.

A former Flight Standards District Office aviation safety counselor, Nicolai specializes in progress checks, stages checks and flight instructor standardization. He earned a bachelor's degree in aviation flight science from WMU in 1993 and a master's degree in career and technical education from WMU in 1998.

In addition to his regular teaching duties, Nicolai teaches pilot ground schools, serves as an American Association of University Professors union representative and is developing a computer-based training program for use in pilot ground schools.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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