Southeastern News

Southeastern’s Kyle Thomas once again earns prestigious flight certification

Kyle Thomas joined the Southeastern faculty in 1996.

DURANT, Okla. – Kyle Thomas of Southeastern Oklahoma State University has been accredited as a Master Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) by Master Instructors LLC. This is the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the FAA-approved “Master Instructor Program.”

Thomas first earned this national professional accreditation in 2006, has held it continuously since that time, and is one of only 46 worldwide to earn the credential four times.

Thomas serves as Chief Flight Instructor and Assistant Professor at Southeastern’s Aviation Sciences Institute. He also is a coach for the University’s flight team.

To help put Thomas’ achievements in proper perspective, there are approximately 96,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 700 of them have achieved that distinction thus far. The last 17 national Flight Instructors of the Year were Masters, while Thomas is one of only nine Oklahoma aviation educators who has earned this prestigious “Master” title.

In the words of former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, “The Master Instructor accreditation singles out the best that the right seat has to offer.”

The Master Instructor designation is a national accreditation recognized by the FAA. Candidates must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community, and must pass a rigorous evaluation by a peer Board of Review. The process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism.

Designees are recognized as outstanding aviation educators for not only their excellence in teaching, but for their engagement in the continuous process of learning — both their own, and their students’. The designation must be renewed biennially and significantly surpasses the FAA requirements for renewal of the candidate’s flight instructor certificate.

Thomas earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southeastern, and joined the faculty in 1996. He and his wife, Traci, who also earned two degrees at Southeastern, are the parents of two daughters, Allyson, 15, and Chloe, 8.