CWU News

CWU Aviation Professor Named National Flight Instructor of the Year

CWU Aviation Professor Amy Hoover

CWU Aviation Professor Amy Hoover has been named the National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year by the FAA.

Central Washington University Aviation Professor Amy Hoover entered rarefied air this month when she was named the 2022 National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and General Aviation Awards Industry Board. 

Hoover has spent the past three decades advancing aviation education around the Northwest, logging more than 3,000 hours of aircraft instruction, more than 1,400 hours of flight simulator instruction, and upwards of 15,000 hours of ground instruction. 

The FAA award recognized Hoover for her role at CWU and for her many contributions at the regional and national levels through her mentoring efforts, publications, presentations, and backcountry flight instruction. She admitted she was surprised to receive the distinguished national honor, but after having time to reflect on the recognition, she feels both proud and humbled. 

“I knew I had been nominated, and it was nice to be recognized at the regional level,” said Hoover, who joined the CWU program in 2003. “But when the FAA called and said, ‘you’re it,’ that was kind of a shock.”

Hoover received numerous letters of recognition earlier this year, and her nomination was then sent to the FAA local office in Spokane. From there, she became a regional finalist, and ultimately was selected for the national award. She admits that the news is still sinking in.

“This is the most prestigious honor in our world, and I’m still getting used to it,” she said. “But it’s not going to change me. This isn’t about me; it’s about what I can do to help my students.” 

Hoover, who holds a PhD in education, said her career has always been about providing young pilots with the skills and confidence they need to join the professional ranks. The former department chair currently serves as a flight check instructor and assistant chief ground instructor at Central, and she can think of nothing else she would rather do.

“My favorite part of the program, hands-down, is our students. They’re just amazing,” Hoover said. “What brings me joy is being part of their development — supporting them, guiding them, and sending them on their way.”

CWU Aviation Professor Amy Hoover works with a student inside the cockpitMany CWU Aviation graduates move on to careers in commercial aviation, while others pursue opportunities in the military, aerospace engineering, air traffic control, and instruction. Hoover said her biggest thrill as a flight instructor is sending her students off by themselves for the first time.

“It’s such a proud moment for me to know when my students are ready for their first solo flight,” she said. “They may not know they’re ready, but I know. And helping them develop that confidence changes their whole world. To me, that’s what this is all about.”

The FAA will honor Hoover in July at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture ceremony in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Her name will be added to a large perpetual plaque housed in the lobby of the EAA AirVenture Museum. 

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1518.