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Sept. 24, 2013

          Contact: Steve Hedges
                                 [email protected]

Frederick, MD – The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has selected 12 top flight training professionals and 11 flight schools as finalists in its annual Flight Training Awards. A top winner in each category will be named next month at the AOPA Aviation Summit 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 2013 awards are drawn from 3,375 respondents who voluntarily reviewed their flight training experience through an AOPA online poll. The process yielded an evaluation of 508 different flight schools and 956 individual flight instructors.

Based on the poll results, AOPA will name a best flight school and best flight instructor from the finalists listed below. The individual winners will be announced at the AOPA Flight Training Summit in Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 9 -- just a day before the launch of AOPA Aviation Summit 2013 at the same location. All finalists will be recognized as an “Outstanding Flight School” or “Outstanding Flight Instructor” and be presented with a plaque at the Oct. 9 announcement.

“Enormous congratulations are due to all the finalists,” said Shannon Yeager, vice president of AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community. “We created these awards to highlight the best the flight training industry has to offer, and it was clear from the customer reviews that every one of these schools and instructors are operating at an outstanding level of quality and service.”

To select the award winners, AOPA invited those who have taken flight training within the last 24 months to complete the Flight Training Excellence Poll. Each participant could nominate no more than one flight school and one flight instructor.

The online poll was conducted from April 10 to August 9, 2013, using a process that contains several safeguards to ensure fair competition. It consisted of 39 survey questions designed to measure the overall performance of a flight school or flight instructor through the eyes of their customers.  The results were then scored and averaged.  Four questions that required free response answers were scored by AOPA employee-panelists who were unaware of the identity of the school or instructor being judged.

In addition to the shortlist of 23 finalists, AOPA also released an Honor Roll of 87 flight schools and 69 flight instructors, all of which demonstrated a high standard of accomplishment by achieving an average score of 70 percent or more.

The press is invited to the Flight Training Excellence Awards presentation on October 9, 2013 at the Ft. Worth Convention Center, Room 121 A&B at 5:15 PM.

Outstanding Flight School Finalists

Aviation Adventures, Manassas Regional Airport, Manassas, VA

Panorama Flight Services Inc., Westchester County Airport, White Plains, NY

Rochester Aviation, Skyhaven Airport, Rochester, NH

Riverside Flight Academy, Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, CA.

San Carlos Flight Center, San Carlos Airport, San Carlos, CA   

Sporty’s Flight Center, Clermont County Airport, Batavia, OH

Summit Aviation, Inc., Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Bozeman, MT

The Flight School, Inc., Weiser Air Park, Cypress, TX

Valley Aviation, Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Western Air Flight Academy, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Broomfield, CO

Worcester Regional Flight Academy , Worcester Regional Airport, Worcester, MA

Outstanding Flight Instructor Finalists

Dileep  Anne                Front Range Airport, Watkins, CO

Conor Dancy                Leesburg Executive Airport, Leesburg, VA

Ray de Haan                Leesburg Executive Airport

Kelby Ferwerda           Skyhaven Airport, Rochester, NH

Eric Florence                Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, Warrenton, VA

Christopher Freeze     Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, Oakland, CA

Michael Gilbert             Leesburg Executive Airport

Bob Hepp                      Manassas Regional Airport, Manassas, VA.

Randall Holliday           Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Bozeman, MT

Robert Keleti                 Republic Airport, East Farmingdale, NY

Buchanan Smith           Leesburg Executive Airport

Brent Tuchler                 Manassas Regional Airport

Flight School Honor Roll

Flight Instructor Honor Roll

About AOPA
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit

- AOPA -


AOPA Communications staff

Topics: Aviation Industry, Flight School, Flight Training

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