For more than 30 years, Bill Coyner has taught pilots the art and skill required to slip the surly bonds of earth. He has taught them to manage risk, maneuver weather and land safely. In his 10,000 hours of flight he has never had a single accident. Coyner’s formidable skills are now known regionally after he was named the 2012 Flight Instructor of the Year.
The Northwest Mountain Region Federal Aviation Administration recognized Coyner after the staff at Seattle’s Flight Standards District Office nominated him.
“It’s an award given to honor people who are dedicated to aviation safety and education. It’s a real honor for me to receive this,” said Coyner, the chief flight instructor at Clover Park Technical College (CPTC).
Coyner wanted to learn to fly since he was a boy. He earned his pilot’s license after training at CPTC in the 1970s, and after graduation he worked at CPTC for several years as a flight instructor. He ventured out to fly for a regional airline for a period of time, but a call from the school’s retiring chief flight instructor piqued his interest and brought him back to the college.
“I came back to the college intending to be here for about a year and then return to the airlines,” said Coyner. “And that was 22 years ago and I’m still here.”
According to Coyner, he stayed at CPTC both because he loves to teach people to fly and he’s committed to the college’s mission.
“I fully agree with the mission of the college and what we do. It’s a team effort. We’ve always had wonderful maintenance and that’s what keeps me here,” said Coyner.
Although not sure of how many pilots he’s trained, Coyner has reached a significant endorsement on his flight instruction license. He is a FAA-master flight instructor. To earn this gold seal, he held a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating; a ground-instructor certificate with an advanced or instrument ground-instructor rating; and in a 24-month period he trained and recommended at least 10 applicants for a practical test, at least eight of whom passed on the first attempt.
“It’s a very rewarding profession. Every year there are half a dozen students who come back to see me from the commercial flying industry, corporate flying, and some of them are now captains in the airlines,” said Coyner.
The pilot’s program at CPTC offers students the chance to earn an associate’s degree in professional piloting. In addition, students can focus on private, commercial or instrument pilot certificates and earn a flight instructor certificate.