UND Aerospace instructor receives master accreditation for aerobatics


Kate Menzies

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences


Mike Lents achieves rare air as one of only 30 aviation educators worldwide to earn distinction

University of North Dakota Aerospace faculty member Michael J. Lents, a First-time Master and member of the International Aerobatics Club (IAC) and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), recently earned his Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatic (CFI-Aerobatic) accreditation.

Accreditation was given by Master Instructors LLC, the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the Federal Aviation Administration-approved Master Instructor Program.

Lents is an aerobatic instructor and aviation lecturer at UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. He also serves as head coach of the University's Aerobatic Flight Team. This year, he led the UND Aerobatic Flight Team to its fifth consecutive IAC Collegiate National Championship.

To help put these achievements in their proper perspective, there are approximately 97,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 700 of those aviation educators have achieved the professional distinction of Master CFI, thus far. The last 18 "National Flight Instructors of the Year" or "FAASTeam Representatives of the Year" were Master CFIs.

Lents is one of only 8 North Dakota teachers of flight to earn this prestigious "Master" title and one of only 30 worldwide to earn the aerobatic accreditation.

In the words of former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, "The Master Instructor accreditation singles out the best that the right seat has to offer."

The Master Instructor designation is a national accreditation recognized by the FAA. Candidates must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth and service to the aviation community, and must pass a rigorous evaluation by a peer board of review.

The process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism.

Designees are recognized as outstanding aviation educators for not only their excellence in teaching, but for their engagement in the continuous process of learning -- both their own and their students'. The designation must be renewed biennially and significantly surpasses the FAA requirements for renewal of the candidate's flight instructor certificate.