Catherine Cavagnaro and Ron Timmermans were inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame during the 14th annual American Bonanza Society Member Dinner at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Administered by the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), inductees into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame represent individuals who have significantly contributed to aviation education and flight instruction while reflecting credit upon themselves and their profession. The honor highlights the important role flight instructors play as a foundation for the safety of the entire national air transportation system.
Flight Instructor Hall of Fame inductee Catherine Cavagnaro is recognized as an expert on spins and aerobatics. She teaches pilots from the US and other countries at Ace Aerobatic School in Sewanee, Tennessee. She writes the “Flying Smart” column for AOPA Pilot magazine that addresses topics of safety, efficiency, proficiency, and the science of flight. Catherine holds ATP and CFI-IA certificates. She also serves as a designated pilot examiner and FAA lead safety representative for the Nashville FSDO.
The General Aviation Awards Committee recognized Catherine in 2018 as the FAA Safety Representative of the Year and the FAA Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year in 2020. In 2018, Catherine was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.
Catherine speaks around the country and online for the Federal Aviation Administration, AOPA, American Bonanza Society, National Association of Flight Instructors, and other pilot organizations. She serves as a regular guest on Aviation News Talk with Max Trescott as well as an expert for Pilot Workshops’ “IFR Scenarios” “VFR Scenarios” and other educational products.
Catherine said, “I am happiest when I use my technical background to understand the science of flight. It has been a privilege to help pilots better understand their aircraft and fly them more safely. My sincere appreciation goes to Bill Kershner for helping me combine my loves of aviation and mathematics into a rewarding career, to AOPA for providing the platform, both on stage and in print, to share my safety message with so many aviators, and to my sons Jack and Pete for joining me on so many flying adventures. Thank you to the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame for making this amazing honor possible
Flight Instructor Hall of Fame inductee Ron Timmermans fulfilled a 40-year professional career as an architect and project manager before devoting himself to aviation on a full-time basis. He has been an independent flight instructor since 1998. These days, he owns and manages AileRon T, LLC, and he flies a Beechcraft Bonanza.
Ron holds ATP, CFI-IA, AGI-Instrument, and Remote Pilot certificates. He is a NAFI Master CFI and Master Ground Instructor, a Gold Seal Instructor, and an American Bonanza Society Master Aviator. Ron is particularly well-known in the Beech community due to his active involvement in the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP) and Bonanza/Baron Pilot Training (BPT) program.
Ron has served as a FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Orlando FSDO and the North Texas FSDO. He has presented at more than 30 WINGS safety seminars and at aviation events throughout Florida and during EAA AirVenture. He has also been a frequent presenter at AOPA’s Rusty Pilots Seminars, Safety Seminars, and Flight Instructor Refresher Courses. He is a founding director of the WINGS Industry Network and has volunteered on the FAA’s WINGS Usability Working Group in 2020-2021.
Ron’s outreach activities include hosting NAFI MentorLIVE broadcasts for flight instructors and hosting broadcasts for Florida Aviation Network live-streaming events to international audiences. He is a regular presenter at ABS national conventions, EAA AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun, and other aviation events. Ron is a contributing member of AOPA, EAA, NAFI, SAFE, ABS, BPT, BPPP, and Quiet Birdmen. In 2021 he was named the National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year.
Ron said, “My greatest professional fulfillment is to see a pilot acquire new skills or refresh their existing skills to become ever safer aviators – it’s a blessing to be a CFI.”
John Niehaus, NAFI Director of Program Development, and administrator of the Hall of Fame award program, commented, “Working to continue the tradition of inducting deserving flight instructors into the hall of fame is such a humbling project for me. Every year the individuals we choose from are the best our industry has to offer, and this year is no different. Catherine and Ron have given so much of themselves and this is our chance as an industry to give back to them.” Mr. Niehaus added, “My sincere thanks go out to our volunteer judges who each year work to make the selection for the induction class, and to ABS for allowing the induction at their annual membership dinner.”