Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
Smith is a seasoned, Airline Transport-rated Fixed wing &
Helicopter Pilot who has flown
over 50 different aircraft models. He is a Gold Seal,
with Seaplane, Helicopter (H), Instrument (CFII) & Multi-Engine
(MEI) privileges. He holds
and Instrument Ground Instructor certificate (AGI/IGI). He is an
Safety Counselor for the Tampa
FAA Flight Standards District Office and conducts Aviation Safety Programs not only in the Tampa Bay
area but nationwide. Darren has provided Expert Witness
legal professionals nationwide. He has consulted on a variety of
aviation projects including airspace redesign, light sport aircraft
certification, and pilot training consultation for the military's
Maverick UAV helicopter. Most recently, he provided assistance to
the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) who
was investigating a helicopter accident. He has time in every
category & class of aircraft except the tilt-rotor.
When he is not flying, he is a Psychology & Business Professor and
teaches Human Factors for a major airline. Darren was designated
as a Master Instructor. Less than 1/2% of the nation's pilot
instructors have earned this designation. He is one of three in
the Tampa Bay area with this designation. He is one of six
instructors nationwide and the ONLY instructor in Florida who holds
both the Master Flight Instructor as well as Master Ground Instructor
AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND
AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE SEA
AIRPLANE MULTIENGINE LAND
AIRPLANE MULTIENGINE SEA
AIRPLANE SINGLE AND MULTIENGINE
INSTRUMENT AIRPLANE AND HELICOPTER
Advanced Training Attended
- B.A. Psychology, 1993, B.S. Nursing, 2010
- M.S. Counseling, 1995, M.A. Nursing, 2012
- Doctorate (ABD) Business, University of Sarasota
- Post Graduate training in I/O Psychology at
University of South Florida (including Human Factors,
Stress, Behavioral Psychology)
FAA Conference (AQP, FOQA, ASAP, Human Factors)
Robinson Safety Course R44, Torrance California
Helicopter Underwater Egress Training, Univ of Louisiana
Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program, St Augustine Florida
Accident Investigation Course (Special NTSB), Lakeland FL
Bombardier - Canadair Regional Jet
FAA DPE Standardization Seminar, Oklahoma City
Attendance at over 50 seminars on various subjects
|Master Flight &
Specific Aircraft Qualifications
- Jet cockpits: Collins
Glass & FMS
- All glass cockpit implementations and most
- Yes: Garmin1000,
Avidyne, Garmin 430/530/etc
- All models of Cessna 172, 180/185, 182,
- All models of the Piper PA28 and PA24 lines.
- All models of the Grumman AA1 & AA5 line.
- Beechcraft twin line including BE76,
BE95, BE55, and King Air(C90).
- Beech Bonanza: 33 to the 36, including
- Cessna twin line including 310, 340, and
- Cirrus: SR20 and SR22
- Piper PA32 line from the Cherokee 6 to
the newest models of the Saratoga.
- Piper twin line including PA44, PA34,
- All models of Mooney Aircraft.
- Helicopters: Schweizer
300C/300Cbi, Hughes 269, R44, Hiller, & Bell 206.
- Experimental aircraft: RV6 &
Committment to Quality
A commitment to quality instruction is essential for
A random survey of students taught between September, 2003 and
2004 generated the following results:
- "I learned several new
things... Good experience!"
- "The right training at the
right price got me the
- "My instructor knew all the
secrets to real cross
- "My confidence has never been
Instruction - My Bias
Each instructor is different in the personal lessons
situations experienced, and level of skill. The particular biases
each instructor brings to a flight lesson should be well known to the
prior to the lesson. While this is not a complete list of my
these are the big ones:
- All instruction should include an element of the
uses for a
- I believe in centerlines on runways & taxiways
- Experience with cross wind technique is critical.
don't like to fool around. When I dedicate my time to someone, we
set a goal and accomplish it. Those instructors that put
process above the goal irritate me. And it costs you extra.
- Collision avoidance: not only is it an FAA
emphasis area, its a safety requirement. Always look before you
turn and call it out so your flight instructor knows what you are
thinking. The first time you fail to look before you turn gets a
friendly reminder from your CFI. The second time you do it costs
- Being fully versed with the equipment as well as the
failure modes for
each instrument is important. Example: GPS, autopilot, etc.
- Private pilot students should practice stalls and
under supervision as often as possible, especially prior to solo.
- Private pilot students should complete their FAA
solo. It minimizes the instructor's liability and minimizes ground
training the CFI must to do verify the student has meet the
aeronautical training requirements of the private pilot certificate.
- Instrument rating students need to prove they can
the hood and perform instrument approaches to PTS standards before
talkinig on the radio.
- Instrument rating students should experience IMC
- The BFR is not a 1 hour exercise, its at least 3
the "Wings" FAA pilot proficiency
For more information on the minimum requirements of the BFR see: Recurrent Training
- All pilots need to learn concise radio technique as
tips on how
to overcome brain paralysis the moment the transmit button is
- If you didn't call it out, then its assumed not to
been done. Example, "clear right."
- "...commence turn to crosswind leg beyond the
within 300 feet of pattern altitude." -- AIM 4-3-3
won't spend much more than 10% of your time flying IMC but flying IFR
is about flying with precision at all times." -- J. Mac