Kirby Ortega Inducted Into Instructor Hall of Fame

Long-time Cessna CFI honored by NAFI.

NAFI Kirby Ortega

NAFI Kirby Ortega

At the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In last week, the National Association of Flight Instructors inducted the latest flight instructor into the National Flight Instructor Hall of Fame at its annual members' dinner on Thursday night. This year's inductee is Kirby Ortega, who was previously honored as the NAFI Flight Instructor of the Year in 2002. A visibly surprised Ortega accepted the traveling hall of fame trophy from NAFI's chairman, Robert Meder.

Ortega, known to many as "Captain KO," is recognized for bringing humor into the training environment and challenging his students to always continue to learn. He recently retired from his post as chief pilot for piston engine operations at Cessna, where he worked in various flight-training roles for more than 30 years. If you look closer, many magazine articles feature Ortega as he acted as the formation pilot in photoshoots for Cessna's airplanes.

While piston engine airplanes have been Ortega's forte, he also flies the Cessna Caravan turboprop and holds type ratings in all Citation jets. Ortega continues to fly and teach in various Cessna platforms.

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