The SFIA and why that is really a VERY BIG DEAL

Uncategorized Apr 05, 2021

SFIA stands for Searey Flight Instructors Association and is much more important to you than it first seems. It plays a major role in the ecosystem of our Searey specific aviation environment and serves owners and operators at a deep level that extends to all kinds of interested people and companies. I'd like to explain some of the details that go into why it is such a big deal so that our community can appreciate why we need it and how it makes our lives better.

Today there are so many barriers to keeping our collective ability to fly whenever and wherever we want open and accessible. I'm so thankful I live in a state and travel to areas that embrace aviation and seaplanes but this is not that kind of problem. It's also not a problem like a group of neighbors who are upset that we make noise or fly low during our maneuvers like takeoffs and landings. This kind of problem is getting more difficult because we keep making some major mistakes in the eyes of a very important partner - The Insurance Industry and the Brokers and Agents who want us to succeed. I can almost feel some of you reading this and saying, "Huh?! What's that got to do with me?"

One of the biggest problems we face together is that pilots create unintentional effects because of a myopic perspective within the instructor community and the businesses that would like to provide these kinds of services. It is very important that all of us - pilots, students and instructors alike that we realize today's business environment is conspiring to literally shut down our ability to fly and this is not hyperbole. I thought you might like to know what this has to do with you, why is this so and how did we get here?

You've got to remember (or now learn about) back in the earlier days prior to the SFIA how many people used to die flying in Searey's. Well, that inconvenient, ugly fact and the data that goes with it created a wave of disinterest within the market for covering our risk. We couldn't get affordable rates because no one was interested in placing a losing bet on our industry. Insurers were paying out more than they took in to cover the losses and our premium$ went sky high. As a community of Searey builders and buyers, pilots and passengers, something needed to be done. Today people aren't dying as before but they're breaking their airplane and injuring their friends and family. We are seeing history repeat itself after having worked very hard to create trust in our type of risk. And let's not forget it wasn't always about money. At the heart of my point is we lost some very nice people who shared our passion and enthusiasm and we still have something really special going on now just as we did then. We learned a long time ago the root of the problem was simply we weren't getting properly trained and surviving long enough to share our passion with the rest of the world. We paid more than we played.

Today we have more of an ability to get training from many sources. But here's the real problem: it doesn't create the trust we once had in the eyes of the people who really needed to know and trust our training- the vendors who rely on this implicit trust. When Searey specific training is improperly delivered by unapproved sources the result is self-evident: those unmonitored, unapproved instructors are producing an improperly trained pilot who doesn't know the difference. The data doesn't lie and we can actually see the effects of improper training. We must continually do something about this in order to keep the integrity of our trust within the business community, the owners and operators and passengers and people who fly with us. That is why we created the SFIA.

The SFIA created a framework - to show whoever needed to see it - that qualified Member Instructors are delivering a premium product. It's well known that a well-trained, aircraft specific, superior pilot was a minimal risk to themselves, their passengers and the community they flew in and around. SFIA Member Instructors are themselves highly experienced owners and operators that deliver a proven course of modules and lessons that allows a risk-averse market to succeed financially. People who are interested in building, buying or financing an aircraft from Progressive Aerodyne or perhaps acquiring one from a former owner can now get a reasonable insurance policy that backs up that loan or provides liability protection so these businesses start to grow and add new markets every year that begin competing against each other for our business. And guess what? Historically, the cost of operating our aircraft goes down and by thousands of dollars in some cases. This is why you need to appreciate the SFIA and what it stands for. The Member Instructors of the SFIA make a committed stand for this community so that you obtain aircraft specific training in a very specific way that provides a high level of proficiency for owning and operating your Searey by someone who themselves has real-world experience doing so. This inherent promise of a specific level of instructional content, professional delivery and consistent risk management in all our flying activities creates a buffer to minimize adverse economic forces. As a result, flying Searey's becomes less expensive and more fun!

We've seen this happen too much and unfortunately is happening again not to take this seriously.

If you would like to know more about the SFIA or find a Member Instructor you can visit and talk with go to the website. And make sure you take any of our free courses at [SRT] starting with:

5 Biggest Reasons FREE COURSE

Reach out to any of the people in our community that have taken training from these Instructors and discover the difference. Our Searey family needs to stay together and align on the goal of reducing the cost of flying, creating the safest environment which brings more Searey fun. And that's something worth thinking about and acting on...

John D. McLeroy

Founding President, Current Vice-President, SFIA




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