Pilot Information Center

As the foremost technical resource available to the general aviation community, the Pilot Information Center strives to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and technical expertise. Our skilled group of pilots and flight instructors has over 30,000 hours of collective flight experience and plays a pivotal role in AOPA’s mission and objectives. During the course of a given year, our specialists respond to over 200,000 member questions and thousands of e-mails and letters.

The AOPA Pilot Information Center puts some of GA's most experienced pilots as close as your phone or email. Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern time or email pilotassist@aopa.org.

Aviation specialists are available to cover questions on a myriad of aviation topics, including:

Pilot and aviation-related topics

  • Airports issues, airspace
  • Legislative updates
  • Regulations interpretations
  • FAA enforcement actions
  • Flight training, CFI questions

Aircraft ownership

  • Buying and selling advice
  • Evaluations of specific aircraft
  • Flying clubs, co-ownership
  • Maintenance

International flights

  • Flight planning guidance for Canada, Bahamas, and Mexico, as well as Alaska
  • Survival equipment recommendations and requirements
  • U.S. border crossing procedures (Customs/

Medical certification

  • The airman medical certification process
  • Allowed and disallowed medical conditions
  • Medical application guidance
  • Locations of medical examiners

Meet the PIC Staff

Woody CahallWoody Cahall, Vice President, Pilot Information Center, is responsible for the Pilot Information Center, Medical Certification department and Research Center. The department is also responsible for producing much of the technical information on the AOPA Web site. In the years prior to joining AOPA, Woody was involved in a wide range of general aviation activities. Woody has accumulated more than 10,000 hours of flight time in a variety of aircraft and operations. Among his airman credentials are commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates and instrument and multiengine ratings as well as Commercial glider and seaplane. Woody is a U.S. Army veteran and served a tour in Viet Nam.

Toni MenschingToni Mensching, Director joined the Pilot Information Center as an Aviation Technical Specialist in 2007 after flying the DHC-8 for US Airways Express. She is a Commercial pilot and Flight Instructor with multi engine and instrument ratings. An alumna of Delta State University School of Business, Toni has a Master’s degree in Commercial Aviation Management and a Bachelor of Flight Operations. Toni also worked with FedEx Pilot Recruitment prior to completing her graduate degree.

Ferdi MackFerdi Mack, Supervisor, Pilot Information Center, joined the Pilot Information Center team in 2011. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Ferdi spent seven years in Silicon Valley as a hardware developer for companies such as Silicon Graphics and NVIDIA, before moving home to Frederick to pursue aviation. He spent his childhood flying with his parents, who are both private pilots. Ferdi holds a commercial ASEL/AMEL as well as flight and ground instructor certificates. He is a native of Frederick and has been involved at the airport since an early age, including most recently as a flight instructor.

Craig BrownCraig Brown, Senior Aviation Technical Specialist, joined the Pilot Information Center in August 1997. Craig holds A&P, ATP, and CFI certificates. In his 25 years of aviation experience, he has turned wrenches, flight instructed, flown traffic watch and charter, flown internationally, and has both fixed and rotor wing experience in 97 aircraft types. He has logged over 9,700 hours of flight time and over 100,000 member requests for assistance and information since starting at AOPA. Craig lives with his wife and children near historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Patrick Timmerman, Senior Aviation Technical Specialist, joined the Pilot Information Center in 2009. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Western Carolina University. He is also a CFI and CFII and has given over 1300 hours of instruction and has over 2200 hours total time. Patrick has taught at several flight schools in southeastern Virginia and the beautiful Northern Mariana Islands. While out in the western Pacific he also flew Part 135 on-demand charter. Patrick and his wife Maria have two sons, Joshua and Matthew.

Rodney Martz, Senior Aviation Technical Specialist, came to AOPA in 1990 from the finance and banking industry. He is a 2,000-hour private pilot who started in aviation as a lineman during college summers back in 1969. Rodney has a diverse background including real estate, FBO operations, maintenance, finance, and corporate operations. He currently owns a D35 Bonanza and a Cessna 140, both of which are getting “long-term” annuals!

Mark Milkovitz, Aviation Technical Specialist, joined the Pilot Information Center in 2011. Mark has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Flight Training from the Community College of Baltimore County and is working towards his Bachelor of Science Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Management from Embry-Riddle University. Mark has 8 years of experience as a flight instructor as well as 13 years of experience as an aircraft mechanic working on large transport aircraft, such as Boeing 727,737,757,767 and the Lockheed C-141. Mark completed most of his flight training in the Seattle area and now lives in Baltimore with his wife. He currently holds a Single and Multi-engine Commercial License as well as CFI and IGI certificates. Mark is always looking to build his tailwheel time but will never turn down a flight in any aircraft.

Kathy DondzilaKathy Dondzila, Manager, Technical Communications, joined the Pilot Information Center team in 2001. Kathy is a long-timer at AOPA with 23 years of experience working in various capacities within the association, including the Air Safety Institute, Seaplane Pilots Association, and AOPA’s Marketing Department. Kathy’s background is in publications and much of her work in the Pilot Information Center involves writing and managing technical information for members. Kathy is a 325-hour instrument-rated private pilot and holds an instrument and advanced ground instructor certificate. She also holds a Master's degree in Business Administration.

Eddie TyeryarEddie Tyeryar, Digital Products Support Specialist, came to AOPA in 2000 to provide Local Area Network and Telecommunications support for the entire association, and then made the move to the Pilot Information Center in December of 2007. Eddie has a strong understanding of software support and web technology troubleshooting, but admits that it’s "getting under the hood" and tinkering with hardware that he really enjoys. Eddie prides himself on having a very close relationship with the AOPA’s IT and Web Development Departments. It is a liaison position that allows him to provide valuable assistance to members on the full range of AOPA's digital products.

Ty ChaudhryTy Chaudhry, Digital Products Support Specialist joined AOPA in 2013. Ty has a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation from the University of Western Sydney. He was raised in Canada and soloed before he could drive a car. He has flown for different airlines in various parts of the world including the USA, Canada, Asia and the Caribbean, enjoying landings in famous vacation destinations such as St.Barths and Saba. A 2200-hour commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings, Ty has flown a variety of aircraft from Beech Bonanza’s & Baron’s to Caravans, DHC 6 & DHC 8 Q400. He has a passion for aviation, enjoys working with computers and helping people – and brings that experience to specialize in digital product support in the Pilot Information Center.

Adam O'HaraAdam O'Hara, Aviation Technical Specialist joined AOPA in 2013. Adam has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Economics from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia PA. He calls himself a “Nebrectican” growing up in Nebraska and Connecticut. When he learned from one of his airline pilot cousins he could fly even with his color vision deficiency, he jumped head first into obtaining all of his ratings up to CFII in helicopters. Before coming to AOPA he was a helicopter flight instructor and commercial pilot for a number of years. He has always had a passion for aviation and is looking forward to getting his fixed wing add-on asap to see what all this fixed wing excitement is about.

Adam Williams, Aviation Technical Specialist, joined the Pilot Information Center in 2012. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and an Associate's Degree in Aviation Science. Adam is a commercial pilot and flight instructor with over 2,000 hours of flight experience ranging from light-sport airplanes to turboprops. Before coming to AOPA, he was Captain at an international on-demand charter operator and has also worked as an aerial mapping pilot. Adam served in the U.S. Air Force where he repaired avionics on the F-16 fleet.

Sarah StaudtSarah Staudt, Aviation Technical Specialist, started flying when she was 18 in a late 1960s Cherokee at an airport near her parent’s home in Ohio. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2008 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Aeronautics with majors in Commercial Aviation and Flight Education. Her certifications include Commercial Pilot, CFI, and CFII. She has been flight instructing since 2008 in Part 141 and Part 61 schools and has been an instructor and check pilot for the Civil Air Patrol since 2010. Though all of her flying, she says her favorite “flight” was a paragliding ride in the French Alps! Her husband is also a private pilot and they enjoy outdoor activities especially camping and visiting National Parks.

Paul Feldmeyer, Aviation Technical Specialist, joined the Pilot Information Center in 2013. Paul has a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a 2,300 hour Commercial pilot holding a Gold Seal CFI with CFII and MEI ratings. Before coming to AOPA Paul was a Flight Instructor and Check Airman at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. He has also spent some time flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles domestically and overseas. A native of Western Maryland, Paul now lives in Frederick with his wife.

Medical Certification

Gary CrumpGary Crump, Director, Medical Certification Services, has been with AOPA since 1987.  A native Texan from the Panhandle city of Amarillo, he was an Operating Room Technician for 10 years and a professional firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for six years before returning to school to complete his bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Florida. He has more than 20 years of experience in dealing with FAA medical certification issues, and stays in contact with all the key players in the FAA aeromedical community. He holds a commercial pilot certificate with instrument, multiengine, and single-engine sea ratings. He and his wife, Lisa, live under the shadow of P40, the prohibited airspace surrounding the Naval Support Facility known as Camp David in the northern Maryland town of Thurmont.

Joann WilsonJo Ann Wilson, Senior Medical Certification Technician, joined the Medical Certification department in 1994. She attended the Frederick Community College School of Nursing and has worked in numerous fields of nursing, including hospital medical surgical care, and the emergency room department. She was an Activity Director at several local nursing and retirement homes and one of the founding members of the Frederick County Elder Services Provider Council. In her spare time, Jo Ann is active in her local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and also is Chairman of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Survivor Reception. Jo Ann, her husband Jim, and her mom reside near Libertytown, Maryland. They have two grown children, Amanda and Anthony, who with his wife, Jacki, welcomed a daughter, Anna Marie in March 2009.

Jacquie BrownJacquie Brown, Senior Medical Certification Technician, joined the Medical Certification group in October 2004. She has a diverse medical and customer service background, which includes Frederick Memorial Hospital, American Homepatient, Baltimore Headache Institute, and York Health Systems. She is married and the mother of two and resides in southern Pennsylvania.

Marianne HaysMarianne Hays, Medical Certification Specialist, joined the Medical Certification department in June 2007. She graduated from the Medix School in Baltimore, Maryland and has worked for more than 15 years in the medical field. Her medical office experience includes internal medicine, ophthalmology, and medical laboratories. Her husband has been a pilot for over 40 years. She enjoys flying with him and combining her aviation knowledge with her medical background to assist fellow aviators. Marianne resides in Frederick with her husband, Bill, and two sons. They spend many weekend hours flying from Frederick Airport to many area airports, and she hopes to further her aviation experience by pursuing her pilot certificate in the future.