Menu Close

Nobi Buntin of Honolulu, Hawaii is awarded the 2020 NAFI/King Schools Scholarship

Nobi Buntin is the 2020 King Schools Scholarship winner.

She’s a Winning Flight Instructor—Who Will Be Next?


July 21, 2020 San Diego CA – “My heart skipped a beat when John and Martha called to congratulate me on winning the scholarship in early March. I was stoked to be riding to SUN ‘n FUN with them in their Falcon. March was filled with exciting opportunities and new doors opening. In addition to winning the NAFI scholarship, immediately after SUN ‘n FUN I was scheduled to attend flight training and begin a new career as a professional pilot! After years of hard work, my dream finally had come true—I was hired by an airline!” said Nobi Buntin of Honolulu, Hawaii, upon being awarded the 2020 NAFI/King Schools Scholarship valued at $18,000, including $5,000 cash and lifetime access to King courses.

Nobi was to have received her scholarship and an all expenses paid trip from Honolulu to SUN ‘n FUN. But, the 2020 version was cancelled. Hopefully John & Martha and Nobi will be able to say “ALOHA” in person in 2021.

Nobi continued, “Little did we know that our lives would change, and the entire world would be forced to deviate from their plans. From previous setbacks, I learned the value of coping with disappointments by continuing to be productive and proactive. My first step was to begin sewing masks and distributing them within my community. We soon realized we could use my piloting skills to distribute masks to the outer islands, given that the barges within Hawaii stopped transporting food and supplies to the outer islands due to the coronavirus. My mentor joined me on several missions, enabling me to get firsthand experience sitting in the right seat as a CFI. She coached me as we delivered masks to the outer islands of Lanai, Molokai, Maui & the Big Island.  In the process, I got the invaluable practice I needed to learn to take-off and land from the right seat. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many selfless souls.

Nobi, since mid March, has spent much of her time sewing and then personally delivering masks to the outer islands of Hawaii.

Nobi explains “When I wasn’t sewing or delivering masks, I kept up with my aviation studies, enjoying the company of John and Martha as their ground school prepared me for my CFI written exam. Their voices were always reassuring and comforting. Thanks to John and Martha, I took the written exam and passed. Now I can focus on designing my lesson plans following their phenomenal curriculum,” concluded Nobi.

Martha King, Co-Founder of King Schools, said, “Nobi’s dedication to her community and ability to adapt are even more affirmation that we chose the right person to receive this scholarship.” John King added, “It looks like Nobi is having fun, while learning a lot in the middle of a crisis. Nothing about what she is doing is ‘normal’ and that is why she is extraordinary. We look forward to seeing her do great things for many years to come.”

National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) Chairman Robert Meder added, “This is the 5th NAFI/King Schools scholarship and I am happy to announce that NAFI and King Schools will team up for a sixth to be awarded at SUN ‘n FUN 2021.  We are thrilled to give our members the opportunity to receive this scholarship and are confident that the next winner will be just as extraordinary as our past winners. Meanwhile, there are many additional benefits NAFI members receive though the King Schools partnership, including free courses.”

The NAFI/King Schools 2021 scholarship application period is now open, and the winner will be announced at SUN ‘n FUN in April 2021. A well deserving National Association of Flight Instructors member CFI or aspiring CFI will be awarded the 2021 NAFI/King Schools Scholarship. The scholarship consists of $5,000 cash for the attainment of an initial or advanced instructor rating and lifetime access to the entire King Schools library of over 90 courses, including FIRCs. The scholarship application deadline is January 4, 2021; details and forms can be found on the King Schools website:



  1. Pilot One

    Dr. Yung,
    Your comment is has been received. You might not realize that Nobi was awarded this scholarship in March of 2020. King Schools was going to award her the scholarship in person in April of 2020 at SUN ‘n FUN – an aviation event in Lakeland, Florida. That conference was cancelled in 2020. The deadline for the King Schools/NAFI scholarship that Nobi was awarded was January 3rd of 2020. So, any information we received about our applicants was for things they accomplished before January 3rd, 2020 before most people had even heard of Covid 19.

    • Dr. Lee Yung

      Dear Mr..Dowd,
      Thank you for your kind response. COVID 19 was first spoken about in December 2019. The State of Hawaii Pandemic Response Plan was ratified on December 11, 2020. The first COVID case was reports on March 6, 2020 from a passenger on the Grand Princess Cruise Ship. So Nobi’s award had nothing to do with making masks or helping her community during the Covid crisis? Over the years I have followed the winners of the NAFI/King schools scholarship. I was just responding on what merits Nobi was awarded the scholarship which were spoken about in the article. You say she was awarded for things she accomplished before January 3rd 2020 before most people had even heard of COVID 19.What were the accomplishments which warrant her winning the scholarship because she must have fallen under the category of “Most People”. Who are the “Most People”? I have been in the aviation field for over 50 years and of course I know what Sun and Fun is because I was there when she was presented the award. The first I attended Sun and Fun was 1977. It was a strange year because Lakeland had snow during the show. My father, who was a highly decorated naval pilot, told me to never speak before you know all the facts. I know Nobi and have flown out of her airfield. In addition, I am aware of who she is and the qualifications she holds. I am sure you have flown with Nobi and you know first hand of her.exploits. There were those I know on the list who had really had done so much good when it came to humanitarian work which would have out shined Nobi’s handing out of a few colorful masks. The next time you are in Lakeland with me and we can worship together at Lakeland Baptist Church. Pastor Schmidt is a friend of mine and he can tell you some stories of true heros. I know Harley, Chairman of the Board for Sun and Fun goes there.I have served our country and the Lord for years and I call it with true conviction. Again thank you for your letter and making sure I knew all the facts before I spoke my conviction.Mr. Dowd I know you have many connections to Hawaii and I am wondering if that had any bearing on Nobi being given the award. Just taking a swing at it. I never played golf, I took up painting instead less strokes involved.

      Highest Regards,

      When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.

      John Lewis

      The 2020 scholarship application period is now open (click here to apply), and the winner will be announced at Sun ‘n Fun in April 2020. The 2019 winner Andrea Garcia of Buena Park, California commented, “I am a single parent, which is financially challenging in Southern California. To obtain my initial ratings I sold my home, worked, took out loans, and maxed out my credit cards. Beyond money, another challenge I have had in aviation has been being able to move forward with my aviation goals while still spending time with my son before he graduates in 2020. King courses are designed for busy folks allowing me to complete a new lesson in as little as 15 minutes. This scholarship has been immeasurably helpful.”

      This is the fourth consecutive year that King Schools and NAFI have collaborated to award the scholarship. King Schools Co-Founder Martha King said, “Through the scholarship evaluation process, we get to meet extraordinary people with lots of passion who have strong beliefs about paying it forward. They will be able to advance both their CFI ratings and knowledge.” Co-Founder John King continued, “We are genuinely proud of our past winners and the real contributions they are making in the aviation community. We look forward to reviewing the applications, finding the next winner, and seeing them continue this tradition of achievement and giving back.”

      NAFI Chairman Robert Meder added, “Andrea exemplifies what it means to give back to aviation. We have selected someone who was a passionate, award-winning music teacher. She now wants to use her learned and earned teaching skills to mentor future pilots. Our past winners Terry Carbonell and Pete Muntean have gone beyond our expectations in representing NAFI. Each one of them is teaching, promoting and are passionate about the future of General Aviation. We are thrilled to give our members the opportunity to receive this scholarship and are confident that the next winner will be just as extraordinary as our past winners.”

      The 2020 scholarship application deadline is January 3, 2020. The scholarship will be awarded at the Sun ‘N Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, FL, April, 2020.

  2. Dr. Lee Yung

    Congratulations to Nobi Buntin on her winning the King Schools Awards but I have to say their were many others who were more deserving on winning the award. Her great help in Crisis was sewing a few masks in a state where PPE was in abundance and easily available. Flying masks to the outer islands were the number of people getting COVID was so low because people were not bringing the virus to the area via boats and planes. But which of the 137 Islands. Outside of Hawaii the pandemic was non existing. Hawaiians are highly resourceful, resilient people. Who brought disease to their way of life. Those who where not from the Islands. On the outer islands when and if they felt they needed masks their was plenty of cloth on the island. How much fuel did she burn to fly something they did not need. But maybe not with pineapples on it. Was she flying medical supplies? Was she a front line worker who actually put their life on the line everyday in City where PPE for even the hospitals was hard to come by and people were dropping off like flies. Or was she a missionary getting children out of human trafficking and almost dying from infections and injuries received on the mission field. Has Ms. Buntin been working with young men and women for over 35 years getting them out of gangs and off drugs and making sure they stay in school to become the best they can be.Was she a bush pilot who flew food and medical supplies to remote areas were they did not have million dollar homes or a hospital or even a doctor. What I saying I knew some of the candidates and I feel John and Martha and who else voted got this one wrong. But hey it is their money.
    Highest Regards,
    Dr. Lee Yung
    Director OF ISOC

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    Hawaiʻi County: 623 (20 new; 199 active; 421 released from isolation; 31 required hospitalization; and three deaths)
    Kauaʻi County: 58 (0 new; one active; 57 released from isolation; one required hospitalization)
    Maui County: 378 (three new; 124 active; 248 released from isolation; 47 required hospitalization; nine deaths)
    Pending: 0
    Residents diagnosed outside of Hawaiʻi: 28 (two required hospitalization, one death of an elderly Kaua‘i resident who died out of state, in Arizona)

    State of Hawaii COVID-19 PPE Distribution › Free-PPE-for-Hawaii-FINALPDF
    The project was made possible by the Hawaii State Legislature through Act 9 to … Order FREE Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies available.

    Hawaii Is Keeping COVID-19 Under Control. Why? | › Health › COVID-19
    Nov 25, 2020 — Hawaii, the 40th most populous state, has a low case count even when … size represents total cases per capita since the start of the pandemic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts