Amy Hoover Named National CFI of the Year
Amy Hoover, backcountry pilot, author and professor at Central Washington University in Ellensburg has been named the 2022 National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year.
The award is presented by the FAA and the General Aviation Awards Industry Board. Each year, the General Aviation Awards honor the best Certified Flight Instructor, Aviation Technician, and FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Winners are nominated by their peers.
Hoover has been flying for over 30 years. For 19 years, she has taught at the CWU. These days, she’s a flight check instructor and assistant chief ground instructor.
how it started
Hoover notes that she did not start out as a pilot. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Texas Christian University, a master’s degree in geology from Oregon State University, and a doctorate in education from Oregon State University.
When she was in her twenties, Hoover worked as a field geologist in the Idaho backcountry, and sometimes the only way to get to the river canyons she worked in was by helicopter or rig. raft. This led to her interest in white-water rafting – she eventually became a river guide – and from there she developed an interest in backcountry flying.
“Sometimes the only way to get to the boarding point on the river was by plane,” she explains.
Hoover underwent flight training. She had teaching and tutoring experience at the college level and loved it, so she combined a love of teaching with a love of aviation and a flight instructor was born. She specialized in back-flying and mountain flying, writing programs for the latter that are still used by several organizations today.
Hoover has logged over 3,000 hours of aircraft instruction and 15,000 hours of ground instruction.
In addition to working in college, Hoover conducts mountain flying seminars and private lessons for pilots who want to add mountain flying to their skillset. She has written articles for different aviation magazines and in 2019 wrote a book on the subject: Mountain, canyon and backcountry flight.
According to Theresa Sloan, professor emeritus at Central Washington University, when Hoover was hired in 2003, she quickly distinguished herself as a professor who put her students first.
“She’s so passionate about working with students,” Sloan said. “She goes way beyond what most teachers are willing to do if a student is having issues with flight training or if they have emotional issues or family issues, they tend to go see Amy. She will spend the time to give them the help they need, or offer them encouragement or advice.
“She has some of the highest student ratings in the university,” Sloan added. “On the plane, she is completely professional and completely safety conscious. She transmits this attitude to her students. She really is a wonderful teacher, she really deserved it.
In the summer, Hoover still teaches backcountry flying, emphasizing the importance of taking them to public wilderness areas in addition to developing their flying skills.
Hoover is a member of several aviation organizations and is often called upon as a consultant for policy and curriculum development. She is always looking to improve her skills and to do this she makes the effort to find instructors with specialties and more experience than she has to help add to her skill set.
“There is always more to learn.” Hoover explains.