About Us

   Rod Machado traded his motorcycle for flying lessons at the age of 16. His parents were delighted he gave up riding with the vegetarian motorcycle gang known as the sprouts. Captured by the romance and adventure of flight in a Taylorcraft L-2 at Amelia Reid Aviation in San Jose, Rod has remained hooked ever since. In fact, he is one of the few Airline-Transport-Rated pilots who still gets excited by a Cessna 150 fly-by (which he claims he likes because it lasts so much longer that the Mooney, Bonanza and Malibu fly-by). Rod is a professional speaker who travels across the United States and Europe delighting his listeners with upbeat and lively presentations. Machado truly loves mixing it up with the audience. His unusual talent for simplifying the difficult and adding humor to make the lessons stick has made him a popular lecturer both in and out of aviation. Rod’s presentations include topics as diverse as Risk Assessment, Defensive Flying and Handling In-flight Emergencies. His non-aviation topics include: Safety Awareness programs, Humor as a Communication Tool and The Lost Art of Thinking. Additionally, he is known for his rapid fire, humorous banquet presentations. 

   Flying since 1970 and instructing since 1973, Rod has over 10,000 hours of flight time earned the hard way—one CFI hour at a time. Since 1977 he has taught hundreds of flight instructor revalidation clinics and safety seminars and he was named the 1991 Western Region Flight Instructor of the Year. Rod holds all fixed-wing (powered) flight instructor ratings as well as an airline transport pilot license. He also owns a Cessna P210. For six years, Rod wrote and coanchored ABC’s Wide World of Flying. He is AOPA’s National CFI spokesman and a National Accident Prevention Counselor appointed by the FAA in Washington D. C. Rod is the flight instructor voice on Microsoft's Flight Simulator starting with the 2000 version through the X version and he wrote the flight lesson tutorials for the textbook that accompanies the software. He is also an instructor on Cessna's Computer-Based Private Pilot CD-ROM and the author of seven aviation books, four video DVDs, three audiobooks and a CFI image DVD. You can read his monthly column in AOPA Pilot magazine as well as in Flight Training Magazine.

   Rod’s eclectic interests are reflected by his equally varied academic credentials. He holds degrees in Aviation Science and Psychology. Rod believes you must take time to exercise or you’ll have to take time to be sick. Holding black belts in the Korean disciplines of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido as well over two decades of experience in Gracie Jujitsu, he gets his exercise from practicing and teaching martial arts. He also runs 20 miles a week and claims it’s uphill both ways. Someone once said that he's so excited about flying it takes two glideslopes to bring him down. 

Rod's Message to You
Flying is a transforming experience. If you'd like a good reason to get your son or daughter involved in flying, please read my article titled, "Reluctant Moms and Dads."

Stay in Touch

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If you'd like to order a PHYSICAL product by phone, please call the number above. Digital (downloadable) products can't be ordered by phone.

Latest Posts

  • The FAA's New "Not-So-Slow" Slow Flight Procedure

    As most flight instructors know the FAA recently changed the requirements for slow flight in the private pilot ACS. Slow flight must now be accomplished at a speed higher than MCA or Minimum Controllable Airspeed (a speed at which the stall... read more

  • Your Airline Career

    By Rod Machado  Now that you've acquired all the necessary flight instructor ratings, you're ready to think about becoming qualified for that airline job. Normally, you should think about getting hired with a regional airline first. This allows you to... read more

  • Obtaining Your Advanced Pilot Ratings

     By Rod Machado     Once you've acquired the private pilot certificate, you're ready to fly, have fun and, perhaps, pursue that airline career. If so, here's what you should think about doing.   First, you'll need to obtain the following certificates... read more

  • How to Become a Private Pilot

    By Rod Machado What Does it Take? What does it take for you to become a private pilot? If you’re like most people, once you get the thought of flying airplanes in your noggin, it continues to play like a musical... read more

  • NINE FIRST STEPS TO BECOMING A PILOT

    By Rod Machado    Here is the sequence of steps you should consider in pursuing your private pilot license (it's technically called a "certificate" but we'll call it a license). As you'll see, the most important steps listed below deal... read more

  • Young People and Career Choices

    By Rod Machado I remember a time when an airplane would fly over our house during dinner and I’d run outside shirtless—in my tiny pants and bare feet—and then point skyward and yell, “Airpwane! Airpwane! Airpwane!” I remember that because... read more

  • The FORBIDDEN Question

    By Rod Machado During my high school years, it was known as the forbidden dance—the Lambada. Do it on the dance floor in front of the principal and you’d be “dancing with the scars” resulting from that encounter. Some things... read more

  • Rod's Letter to the FAA and ACS Committee Members

    Yes, really! The Private Pilot ACS adds 363 Risk Management items to the PPL practical exam testing requirements. Students are responsible for knowing the answers to each and every one of these items, all of which require highly subjective answers (according... read more

  • Minimum Cost Private Pilot Certificate

    Greetings Folks:Below is a recent letter from a young man named Joel Thomas. Joel earned his pilot certificate at a very low cost using many of the recommendations I've made over the years. Yes, it's entirely possible to earn a... read more

  • Why Vx and Vy Change With Altitude

    Recently, someone asked about why Vx and Vy change with altitude. This isn't necessarily an easy thing to understand since it involves several variables. So here's a modified "quick" version of the explanation on this topic that is covered in... read more

  • How to Flare Any Airplane Any Time and Anywhere

    Princess Buttercup and I were walking on the Redondo Beach pier last month and unknowingly stumbled onto the “live” movie set of Big Momma 2. As I passed one of the props, an ice cream kiosk, I stopped to buy... read more

  • The Airman Certification Standards

    As most readers of my blog know, I'm not a fan of the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) for many reasons, not the least of which I originally posted with the FAA in 2013 (click here to read that response). Apparently, the... read more