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Kadena - Aero Club
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Naoya Tamanaha, Kadena Aero Club flight instructor, reviews flight information with a student after a training flight. Mr. Tamanaha is one of two Kadena Aero Club flight instructors who recently received their master flight certifications. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chad Warren)
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Aero Club instructors earn master certification

Posted 8/28/2008   Updated 8/28/2008 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky
18th Wing Public Affairs

8/28/2008 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Kadena Aero Club achieved a new distinction when two of its Okinawan flight instructors were recently awarded their master flight instructor certifications, making them among a select few flight instructors who earn the title.

Naoya Tamanaha and Hiroaki Ichikawa both achieved the Master Certified Flight Instructor designation, which is a national accreditation that may be earned by aviation educators and is based on a system of advanced professional standards as well as peer review.

"In order to apply for this, the instructor must have held an active flight instructor certificate for four years," said Mr. Tamanaha. "They also have to be active in four education categories, to include a minimum of 480 hours between them."

Of approximately 91,000 certified flight instructors in the United States, fewer than 600 have achieved master CFI distinction, and Mr. Tamanaha and Mr. Ichikawa are two of only eight international masters. The MCFI designation is the only industry professional accreditation recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Despite the Kadena Aero Club being the only flight school for general aviation here on Kadena, the goal is to have even more of the seven staff flight instructors achieve their master certification, said Mr. Tamanaha.

"I don't want us to have the attitude of 'there's no competition for us, so you have to come here'," he said. "I want us to have the attitude of having competition, so that from the customer view point we'd still be the best."

Kadena's Aero Club still maintains among the highest number of master CFI's among Air Force aero clubs, with three master certified flight instructors on a staff of seven.

The benefits of having two Okinawan master CFIs go beyond just the Kadena Aero Club, though, said Mr. Tamanaha.

"There is very little general aviation in Japan," he said. "When I was a kid, I saw the planes, but never saw general aviation pilots. When I got my position here and got my master CFI, I realized it's not just for me, but I need to share this information with others. I try to give the information to young kids, to show them that there is opportunity for them here.

"I believe this will encourage me to work harder, to keep continuing my master CFI program, and not just for myself, but for the community," he said. "I think that I should use this title to help out the aero club members and the local community."

The Kadena Aero Club is happy to have more master CFIs on board, to prove that Kadena's club is at the top of its game, said Mr. Scott Maze, the Kadena Aero Club manager.

"This shows that these guys are the best of the best," he said, "and isn't that who you'd want to fly with and learn from?"

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