January 7, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Jason Blair, executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), resigned his position effective Jan. 7. The move was blamed on financial challenges being faced by the organization, founded in 1967.
“We have enjoyed support from several long-term partners who have enabled us to do much, but without additional strategic partners that see value in supporting NAFI, difficult decisions have to be made,” said Blair in a statement. Leaving the position was difficult, he said, “because I've invested my heart and soul in its mission, but resigning offers the best possible future for the organization and myself. I fully support the mission of NAFI and hope the association and its members can find a way to continue the growth of the association and eventually return to a point where the position of an executive director is financially sustainable.”
In a press release, the organization noted it has restructured its physical offices, its publications, and much of how it manages membership and participates in the aviation training community. But despite these efforts, even more needed to be done to help NAFI survive.
“During the coming week, we will look at the organization and determine how” to handle Blair’s job duties, said NAFI Board Chairman Robert Meder. “We need to do short-term things to keep operations running, and we’ll make a determination from there,” he said.
The board is reaching out to its membership and aviation businesses for help, said Meder. “We have had financial challenges in the past year, and we will be looking hard at how we’re funded” in the future, he added.
Meder said that despite the current challenges, he is optimistic about the future of NAFI. “I certainly wouldn’t move ahead if I didn’t think the future looked bright,” he said. “We have been making strides in working with the aviation industry, all the alphabet groups and regulatory bodies, and we believe we continue to represent flight instructors’ best interests.” The board’s review is part of the organizational process, which will continue to move forward, he added.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
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