As part of our ongoing commitment to aviation safety DSFI, Inc. writes, produces, and presents safety seminars on a variety of subjects.

The following seminars are currently available:

FLYING THE NEW YORK SFRA (Special Flight Rules Area)

Flying the NY SFRA is an effective way to transition the New York Metropolitan area and is also an awe-filled scenic flight. However, the risks are numerous and the flight could become awful rather than awe-filled. This seminar presents all the rules, hazards and risks, and then shows how to fly the route safely.

Learn all the important, as well as mandated, reporting points, the difference between “transient” and “local” altitudes, where and how the helicopters operate, the proper frequencies to use along with suggested proper phraseology. The knowledge gained from this seminar will allow you to fly the corridor safely and with reduced risk to all aircraft in the airspace.

“The Art of Flying IFR: Situational Awareness” 

It is critically important for an instrument pilot to stay ahead of the airplane at all times. it requires awareness of a large variety of elements that go beyond just knowing where one is and what is next. In this seminar, Master CFI and DPE Doug Stewart will discuss how he employs many different elements of situational awareness (SA) to drive his IFR best practices. Although this presentation is focused on instrument flying, there is much that the VFR pilot can learn from it

“The Art of Flying IFR: Communicating Command” 

Many instrument pilots relinquish their pilot-in-command authority through the use of improper phraseology. Doug will discuss not only the “how” of maintaining command through standard phraseology, but more importantly the reasons “why” communicating properly will reinforce a positive interaction between the pilot and Air Traffic Control. Although this presentation is focused on instrument flying, there is much that the VFR pilot can learn from it.

“Deconstructing Instrument Attitude Flying”

Doug discusses the basics of  instrument attitude  flying and looks at how the control / performance and primary / supporting techniques will yield known performance for  your airplane. By combining these techniques with good situational awareness you will be able to maintain precise control of your airplane without chasing attitudes and airspeeds. This is the essence of Instrument Attitude Flying!!


In this seminar the many demands of flying as a single pilot under instrument flight rules will be addressed. Drawing on his wealth of experience, Doug will offer numerous tips on how to manage the many risks and challenges of flying Single Pilot IFR. Learn tips      about preflight planning, staying ahead of the airplane, effective   communication, briefing the approach, and many more… leading to you becoming a safe and confident pilot not only in the IFR world, but in the VFR environment as well.


 In this seminar, CFII and DPE Doug Stewart, will speak about his observations of the mistakes and pitfalls made by instrument pilots and offer suggestions on ways to make flying in the IFR system simple and efficient. With a focus on situational awareness he will discuss: Effective communication; How to pick up a clearance at a non-towered airport without having to rush to meet the void time; Setting up avionics for most efficiency and effectiveness; What data fields provide the most important information; Holds made simple; The most important waypoint in the flight plan; and more…


PART ONE: “Preparing For The Unexpected: Do The Right Thing!”

All too often pilots will act impulsively when faced with an unexpected event, and sometimes their “startle response” will weld the final link in the chain leading to an accident that sadly is fatal. Doug will present a variety of scenarios to help you prepare for that unexpected event, and offer vital suggestions to aid you in Doing The Right Thing when the unexpected does happen to you.

PART TWO: “The Way We Teach Stalls and Spins”

Many Loss of Control Accidents are a result of pilots failing to recognize an impending stall and failing to recover when a stall does occur. In  this seminar Doug will take a look at the way many pilots have learned about stalls and recoveries and present some suggestions on how to  gain a better understanding of when a pilot might experience an inadvertent stall and how to recover when this does happen. He will also  discuss recovering from spins and spiral dives and the differences between the two.


While most pilots know how to get a Standard Briefing, there are many less frequently utilized tools and places to find information the pilot can use  to help make his/her “go or no go” decision.  Where to find this information and how to use it, are important to add to the toolbox of the safety  minded pilot. Decision making using this information should be considered as critical not only for any long cross country flight, but when flying short hops to your favorite airport diner as well. Doug will help us to consider how to use information and resources we may not have considered in the  past to make us all safer pilots.

“Do You Know Your Limits?” 

Every airplane has limits of speed and weight and balance which if exceeded could lead to airplane damage or worst case scenario, airframe failure. In this presentation Doug will discuss: how airplane designers develop these limitations; the ramifications of exceeding those limitations; and how you, the pilot, can apply this knowledge to make you a safer pilot.

Tailwheel Tips and Tricks

It is said that when “flying” a tailwheel airplane you are not done flying until the engine is shut down and the tiedown ropes are     attached, and we will attest to that. Some of the most important lessons to be learned in a taildragger are those lessons on the        ground, especially when the wind is blowing. Learn from one of the best in the business of tailwheel instruction. Even if you fly an      airplane with the little wheel in front, there is something to be learned in this seminar.

HAVE YOU BRIEFED YOUR PASSENGERS?: Conducting a SeaPlane Passenger Briefing

In addition to all the many things we need to brief our passengers about for a land airplane, the seaplane brings with it the necessity of briefing our passengers for a potential upset in the water. This seminar addresses those issues, including: appropriate passenger response in the case of an upset; proper egress procedures; pilot incapacitation; how to clear an egress pathway; assisting other passengers; what to do once in the water; etc. If you fly a seaplane, it’s your responsibility to give your passengers a valid briefing prior to flying. This seminar will help you prepare that briefing.


We all have at least one, if not more, hazardous attitudes residing within ourselves that could have a negative effect on the way we make Aeronautical Decisions. This seminar looks at how to identify those attitudes, and more importantly how to counter them before their impact on our decisions leads to a more lethal impact.


In this entertaining and informative seminar Master CFI Doug Stewart confesses to some of the mistakes he has made during the course of logging over 14,000 hours of flight time. More importantly, he explains how and why these mistakes were made. It is a good look at the operational errors a pilot can make and how “human factors” play a large part in the safety of flight.



Quite often, what differentiates an average pilot from a great pilot are the small things. Master CFI Doug Stewart has had the opportunity to observe many of these in giving over 11,000 hours of dual instruction.

In this entertaining seminar Doug raises our awareness of the many small things that are part of situational awareness, not only in the air, but on the ground as well. Awareness of these things will not only make us better pilots but, more importantly, safer pilots!