Elite balloon instructor fueled by nafi

Elite Balloon Instructor

We are excited to introduce the Elite Balloon Instructor Program fueled by the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI)! We are very excited to work with NAFI on this incredible project! Since 1967, NAFI dedicates its efforts exclusively to “raising and maintaining the professional standing of the flight instructor in the aviation community.” NAFI’s renowned Master Flight Instructor program is recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration and showcases CFIs who are raising the bar on flight instruction.

In the ballooning community, all commercial pilots are considered flight instructors. The Elite Balloon Instructor Program will separate those who provide flight instruction and are raising and maintaining the professional standing of the flight instructor in the ballooning community.

Learn more about the program below! If you would like an application or if you have any questions, please email us at theballoontrainingacademy@gmail.com

The Elite Balloon Instructor program is based upon 24 calendar months of activity and is valid for 24 calendar months.


Elite Balloon Instructors (EBI) must be actively working under FAR Part 61 or 141 and must hold a current a FAA Commercial airman certificate with hot air balloon limitation (minimum 48 calendar months) AND must not have had an airman certificate suspended, revoked, subject to enforcement action during the preceding five years; or, have been convicted of a civil or criminal offense. An EBI must also abide by the NAFI Code of Conduct.

Required Package Components

Submitted applications become the property of the Committee. The application package must include the required items listed below and only those items. Missing or illegible items may lead to disqualification. Please, no cover sheets or excess bulk.

1. Application
2. Aviation oriented curriculum vitae (CV), no more than two pages.
3. Clear copies of a current U.S. government-issued photo-id AND both sides of current FAA certificates/designations AND a photo taken within the past five years, in a professional aviation setting.
4. One letter of recommendation from a FPM, FSDO employee, or DPE, etc.
5. One letter of recommendation from a ballooning peer
6. One letter of recommendation from a student (or former student) who is familiar with your work (No more than one page each)
7. Supporting documents for each CEU listed on the application and complete an Activity Completion Form for each activity.

EBI has three Stages: Application, Review, and Final Processing.

The Application Stage consists of completing the application and required nomination package to submit for review.
Upon submission, applications move to the Review Stage. Our Board of Review is comprised of dedicated individuals who are themselves EBI designees. Reviewers check submissions for completeness, assure eligibility requirements have been met, and perform detailed evaluations of the information provided, paying particular attention to CEUs, inclusive dates, and supporting documentation. Reviewers may contact applicants to seek clarification or request additional information, and may annotate the applications. During the Final Processing Stage, the committee chair evaluates the comments and recommendations made by reviewers, and may spot-check applications. The committee chair also contact professional references. Applicants then receive official notification by email and phone concerning the status of their designations.


The bulk of the application process is spent documenting qualifying Activities that have occurred within the preceding 24 calendar months of submitting an application. Each Activity submitted for review must include the number of CEUs devoted to it. The quality of the Activity, which the applicant describes with a brief statement of relevance, is also considered. Vouch for your activity and why it is worth the CEU you have given it. Some type of supporting documentation must accompany each Activity claimed as well, and each Activity with its supporting documentation must form a unique, standalone unit from every other Activity. The noted activities are suggestions only. Activities not listed may qualify and are encouraged to be submitted.

The required minimum of 10 CEUs must meet the following criteria:
Note: Approximately 5 hours = 1 CEU

Instructor – At least four (4) CEUs must come from “INSTRUCTOR” category activities;

An EBI is first and foremost an active instructor. This category is intended to be representative of activities in which an instructor is actively providing instruction to a student or a class and is involved in regular evaluation of pilots with regard to the learning, progress, and capabilities of the student as they train.

A sample of possible activities and eligible CEUs below (note activities not listed may qualify):

 Active Instruction – Instruction for Ratings or Certificates (Max. 4 CEUs foreach practical test endorsement given)
 Active Instruction – Flight Reviews/ aircraft checkouts (1 CEU / 2 reviews)
 Teaching aviation related college classes that include a structured gradingor evaluation system (Max. 4 CEU/ class)
 Teaching pilot ground schools that include a structured grading orevaluation system (Max. 4 CEU / ground school)
 Teaching ground instruction to individual students resulting inendorsement for a knowledge test (1 CEU / endorsement)
 Designated Pilot Examiner (1 CEU / 2 flight checks)
 Progress/Stage Checks given (1 CEU / 2 Progress/Stage Checks given)
 Certify wings credit for a student for a Wings level through the FAA SafetyTeam webpage (≈1 CEU)
 Active Instruction – Seminars/ webinars/ podcasts (1 CEU for every 3)

Educator – At least two (2) CEUs must come from the “EDUCATOR” category;

This category relates specifically to efforts an instructor makes providing, developing, or creating educational material specific to the aviation field. This material may not be specifically presented by the instructor to a student or a class, but could be developed and created by the instructor for general usage.

A sample of possible activities and eligible CEUs below (note activities not listed may qualify):

 Teaching safety seminars (≈1 CEU)
 Teaching industry seminars (≈1 CEU)
 FAA Wings program (≈1 CEU / 2 sign-offs)
 Teaching aviation related vocational classes (≈3 CEU)
 Teaching aviation related high school classes (≈1-3 CEU)
 Teaching Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics (≈1-2 CEU)
 Aviation related consultative services (≈1-3CEU)
 Teaching industry training courses (≈1-2 CEU)
 Develop aviation seminar w/ PowerPoint (≈1 CEU)
 Published aviation magazine/journal articles (≈1 CEU)
 Training Course Outline (TCO) (≈2-4 CEU)
 Original ground school course (≈1-3 CEU)
 Aviation related audio/video tapes, CDs, DVDs (≈1-2 CEU)
 Original pre-solo exam/test questions (≈1CEU)
 Aviation related curricula (≈1-3 CEU)
 Aviation pamphlet, brochure, guidebook or manual (≈1 CEU)
 Original aviation research paper (≈1-4 CEU)
 Published aviation newspaper/newsletter articles (≈1 CEU)
 Published aviation book review (≈1 CEU)
 Published aviation book or textbook (≈2-4 CEU)
 Aviation related computer program (≈1-2 CEU)
 Aviation related study guides (≈1 CEU)

Service to the Aviation Community: At least two (2) CEUs from two different activities must come from the “SERVICE TO THE AVIATION COMMUNITY” category;

This category specifically refers to areas of involvement that the instructor has had with aviation organizations, community service organizations or other like services. The purpose of this category is to show involvement in and promotion of aviation within the community.

A sample of possible activities and eligible CEUs below (note activities not listed may qualify):

 Youth activities (Camp counselor/Director, etc) (≈1 CEU)
 FAA Safety Team representative (ASC) (≈1 CEU)*
 Mentor to a newly certificated CFI (≈1 CEU)
 Aviation committee chairperson / secretary (≈1 CEU)*
 Aviation organization elected officer (≈1 CEU)*
 Board of Directors of an aviation organization (≈1 CEU)*
 Aviation organization committee / task force. (≈1 CEU)*
 Pro bono position of leadership / responsibility (≈1 CEU)
 High School / College Career Fair (≈1 CEU)
 Response to an FAA NPRM (≈1 CEU)
 Aviation related grant proposal (≈1-2 CEU)
 Aviation related photography (≈1 CEU)
 Aviation related website (≈1-3 CEU)
* per year of activity

Professional Activity – At least two (2) CEUs from two different activities must come from the “PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITY” category.

An EBI is always learning and increasing his/her knowledge and experience base. The areas in this category related to continued training, experience, or activities that the instructor is involved in personally.

A sample of possible activities and eligible CEUs below (note activities not listed may qualify):

 Aircraft / avionics transitions (≈1 CEU)
 Attending Safety seminars (≈1 CEU / seminars) Ground school for certificate or rating (≈1 CEU)
 Obtaining an Additional certificate or rating (≈1-3 CEU)
 Aviation industry seminars (≈1 CEU)
 Attending Aviation related college class (≈1-3 CEU)
 Aviation related travel experience (as the pilot or instructor) (≈1 CEU)
 Aviation related self-study course (≈1 CEU)
 Restoration of a certificated aircraft (≈1 CEU)
 Accomplish Wings Program levels (≈1 CEU)
 Construction of a homebuilt aircraft (≈1-4 CEU)
 Initial Designated Pilot Examiner course (DPE) (≈3 CEU)
 Aviation related educational tours (≈1 CEU)
 Completion of Flight reviews / aircraft checkouts (≈1 CEU)
 Aviation related conferences / conventions (≈1-2 CEU)
 Renewal of DPE or TCS (≈1 CEU)
 Flight School Ownership or Management (≈1-3 CEU)*
* per year of activity

Think you have what it takes to be named an Elite Balloon Instructor? Shoot us an email at theballoontrainingacademy@gmail.com for an applicaiton to be sent your way!

Good luck!


Being an Elite Balloon Instructor comes with many perks including:

  • Congratulatory certificate
  • Recognition from The Balloon Training Academy and the National Association of Flight Instructors, a professional aviation education association, that the instructor has achieved a level of professionalism and excellence that exceeds government and industry minimums;
  • News releases and e-mail accreditation announcements;
  • The fair use of the Elite Balloon Instructor logo to create special Elite Flight Instructor identity items;
  • Special listings on this page;
  • An industry accreditation that can be used to promote your business or as a reference for future employment;
  • Opportunity to purchase plaque and clothing with EBI logo
  • More to come!

Cost due at application: $20 – Please send check with application and make check payable to The Balloon Training Academy


About nafi

National Association of Flight Instructors

NAFI Mission Statement

The goal of the National Association of Flight Instructors is to establish and promote a high level of professionalism among aviation educators and to provide recognition for their contributions to aviation safety, education and training.

Want to join or learn more about NAFI? Follow the link below!