Flight Instructors

mamba and me

Sam Helmich


Best Method.


AMA Intro Pilot Instructor  (Planes,Heli,All)
AMA Contest Director
AMA Leader Member
AMA Flight Support Leader
AMA Administrative Leader
Available at any NFMI field
Available most days/time, planned in advance

Galen Moffett


AMA Intro Pilot Instructor  (Planes,Heli,All)
AMA Event Coordinator
Available at any NFMI field
Available most days/time, planned in advance

Jeff Lee


AMA Intro Pilot Instructor  (Planes)
Available at any NFMI field
Available most days/time, planned in advance

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Josh LaDou


AMA Intro Pilot Instructor  (Planes) Available Jay field
Available weekends and some evenings, days/time, planned in advance

Joseph Dorando VA me

Joe Dorando

Drone Instructor only.



  • Veteran, enlisted, USN
  • Retired El Monte Police Dept. IS
  • 9 years sUAS experience flying multirotors and fixed wing aircraft.
  • 6 years experience training hundreds of wounded and disabled veterans to become recreational,
  • commercial FAA Part 107 pilots, and passing the FAA Part 107 exam.
  • Chief Instructor/pilot with Wounded Eagle UAS 501c3.
  • Chief Remote Pilot for the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs from 2017-2919
  • Speciality in Orthomosaic Photogrammetric data collection and 3D modeling.
  • Commercial Work experience in CONUS and OCONUS. Have drone, will travel.
  • sUAS training provided to civilians, veterans, LEO’s, Fire, and active duty military.
  • Currently, developing a drone assisted response team (DART) in the Pensacola area to support local emergency management with disaster assessment and recovery.
Ray Pic

Ray Balanger


Help with many aspects of the hobby.

NFMI Instructors will work with those new to the hobby, those getting back into the hobby that feel they need a helping hand to get their “wings” again.  We can help the very young kids 5+ years old, to those retired looking for their next great experience. There is no charge for this service.

NFMI also has equipment it owns, trainer planes to get newbies started in the hobby. We have electric and nitro trainer planes. Ask an instructor, if this is something you want to use.

Those NFMI Instructors that are AMA Intro Pilot Instructors can work with a person who has not yet joined the AMA, for 60 days after filling out a form from the AMA Link to AMA Form . After the 60 days to continue, the new pilot will have to join the AMA and NFMI to continue, or certainly can do this within the 60 days also.

This has nothing to do with being a great instructor or qualified to teach. It has to do with Insurance. AMA IP Instructors have insurance that covers the new pilot. NON IP Instructors do not, and this is why the pilot must them join the AMA themselves to have insurance.

Getting started. To start the process you will need to,,,

  1. Pick an instructor to work with. There are a few factors to consider.
    * Have you joined the AMA or in the process? If yes, any NFMI Instructors will be great. If NOT you will need to pick an AMA IP Instructor.
    * When do you want to fly and is the instructor available on those days/times? Some work, some are retired.
    * What type of aircraft do you have?  Does that instructor work with that aircraft?
    * Is there synergy between the student and the Instructor? Talk a bit and see.
    * What NFMI Field do you want to train at? See their bio above or discuss with instructor.
    * What radio do you have? Your radio will need to be able to “buddy box” with another radio for your instruction. So if your instructor has a radio that will buddy box with yours, great. If not he may be able to get or borrow one that will. Or maybe another instructor has one that will. If you haven’t purchased a radio talking with your instructor may narrow down your choices.
  2. Join the AMA.
  3. Join NFMI


If you haven’t gotten any equipment (airplane or heli or sailplane) yet, we suggest getting with an instructor first. Getting the right plane to learn with will make your learning much easier. Also it is not necessary to get all the other ancillary equipment at the very beginning. Most times you can start with a trainer plane and radio, and borrow other equipment as you learn to get started.

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