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Meet Our InstructorsMeet Our Instructors

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorNick Ahlen

Nick Ahlen is based in Atlanta, Georgia, where he is active in a local flying club and an active independent flight instructor.  Nick is an FAA Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI) in multiple categories including helicopters; holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy; and is a National Association of Flight Instructors Master Instructor.  

Nick has been a professional aviation educator for over a decade, with over 2,300 hours of instruction given.  Nick remains active in general aviation through AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the National Association of Flight Instructors, the Commemorative Air Force, and the International Aerobatics Club.

Jamie Beckett AOPA AmbassadorJamie Beckett
AOPA Ambassador | Florida

Jamie’s preferred mode of transportation is a bright yellow and black Reimagined Cessna 152, which he often refers to as his company car.

Jamie holds commercial land and sea ratings for airplanes, as well as instrument and multi-engine instructor ratings.

An A&P mechanic with a penchant for the classics and a frequent contributor to a wide variety of aviation publications, Jamie’s passion for general aviation is truly infectious.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorWilliam Beuck

William Beuck has 23 years of experience in military and general aviation. He is a Commercial Pilot with a Multi-Engine Instrument rating, Certified Flight Instructor, Advanced Ground Instructor, Instrument Ground Instructor, and Airframe and Powerplants Mechanic. While in the Marine Corps he served as a KC-130 Flight Engineer around the world flying over 6500 hours, participating in Operations Iraq Free and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Africa and South America. During that time he instructed systems and emergency procedures to pilots and flight engineers during flight and in flight simulators. In addition he provided instruction in Crew Resource Management and Risk Management. He concluded his Marine Corps career as a Maintenance Officer and Aviation Maintenance Safety Inspector.

Mr. Beuck earned his Private Pilots License with the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena Aero Club while in Okinawa, Japan. He completed all other ratings with Plus One Flyers in San Diego, California, where he currently instructs. He also volunteers as a supplemental instructor with Miramar Community College’s flight program. In addition to flying aircraft he also flies paragliders and coaches skydiving. Throughout his career he has had opportunities to recover from being a Rusty Aircrewman or Pilot.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorRay Beverly

Ray Beverly is a pilot who loves to fly and teach. Twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot flying the T-38 and B-52, owning two different flying schools, flying the Citation X for NetJets, and owning his own Decathlon and now an RV8 have made for a fun and exciting flying career. Ray’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education have gone hand in hand with his flying career. With his ATP and Gold Seal Flight instructor’s certificates, he has more than 22,000 total flying hours with more than 10,000 hours of dual instruction given. He and his wife of 47 years, Sharon, live in Eugene, Oregon.

Mark Boguski

Mark Boguski was once a rusty pilot, however after a 22-year absence from the sky he got current again in 2002 with help from AOPA. Since then he’s earned his Instrument rating, Commercial Pilot certificate, Flight Instructor and Instrument Instructor certificates, and Advanced Ground and Instrument Instructor certificates.  

Mark has a passion for teaching and is now a full-time independent Flight Instructor in Olathe, KS as well as an Aviation Instructor at the local Community College.  Mark also writes for Air Traffic Management magazine and other publications.  With Rusty Pilots, he loves using his experience to help the current generation of pilots to be safer and more active in flying.
 
Mark is a partner in a 1977 Piper Archer, a member of AOPA, EAA, Civil Air Patrol, the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and a FAAST team representative.  He is also an active volunteer pilot with Young Eagles and Angel Flight.  Outside of aviation, Mark has an obsession for climbing mountains and long-distance backpacking.

Pat Brown AOPA AmbassadorPat Brown
AOPA Ambassador | Texas “Triangle”

You can find Pat flying around the state in “Woodstock”, one of AOPA’s bright yellow “Reimagined” 152s.

Pat was bitten by the flying bug early, and began taking lessons at age 16, earning his Private Pilot license shortly after his 17th birthday. Today, 9000+ hours later, he is a Designated Pilot Examiner and a Gold Seal Flight Instructor for gliders, single engine land/sea, and multi-engine aircraft, with nearly 6000 hours of instruction given. Pat is also Matrix/Malibu check airman, Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot, and former flight school owner.

Pat is the co-developer of AOPA’s Rusty Pilot seminar, travels the country speaking to pilot groups as a Safety Seminar Presenter for the Air Safety Institute, and has conducted Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics nationwide.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorWilliam Dubois

William Dubois is a widely published aviation writer and frequent contributor to AOPA’s Flight Training magazine, General Aviation News, and FAA Safety Briefing. He is also the author of the long-running PlaneTales blog. Dubois, who started flying at age 17, has a degree in aviation technology, holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with Instrument rating, an NAA Sporting License, and a Ground Instructor certificate with Advanced and Instrument ratings. He’s flown 22 types of aircraft, from light sport to light twins. Dubois is a national champion air racer, taking home the silver season trophy for production airplanes from the Sport Air Racing League in 2006, and he’s the holder of a world speed record from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

Dubois has been involved in adult education most of his life, and believes that humor and analogy are key teaching techniques, along with a relaxed and inclusive style that makes learning fun. He’s especially excited to be working with the Rusty Pilots Program because he himself was a rusty pilot, and he understands the challenges and rewards of returning to the cockpit.  

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorMeg Godlewski

Meg Godlewski was born into an aviation family. Her father was an engineer at Lockheed and her mother spent time at a P-38 base during World War II where she also took flying lessons in an Aeronca Champ. Meg is also a journalist and spent the better part of 10 years working any media job she could find to pay for flying lessons. Meg spent 15 years as the staff reporter for General Aviation News and currently writes the ground school videos for MzeroA.com and the Ask the Instructor column for Aviation for Women Magazine. Meg holds the Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor (AGI, IGI) certificates as well as the CFI, CFII and MEI certificates with the FAA Gold Seal. Meg is an eight-time Master Flight Instructor and has logged in excess of 5,000 hours dual given.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorMichael Gwinn

Michael R. Gwinn, President, and CEO of On Course Aviation, LLC, is an experienced aviation professional with over 40 years of military and civilian experience. Soloing on Hinton-Alderson Airport at 16 years old, Mike later joined the U.S. Army, serving in numerous aviation assignments including service in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). After exiting the Army, he has worked as a contracted military flight instructor as well as a developer of civilian and Department of Defense aviation training programs. Mike possesses FAA Airline Transport Pilot and Gold Seal Certificated Flight Instructor certificates for both Airplanes and Helicopters, FAA Airframe & Powerplant certificate (A&P), is type rated in 12 aircraft and has over 15,000 flight hours. Mike is an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) for Airplane single-engine land and sea (ASEL and ASES), multi-engine land (AMEL), and helicopters including initial CFI for single and multiengine airplanes and helicopters.  He is also a Specialty Aircraft Examiner (SAE), Experimental Aircraft Examiner (EAE), and Military Competency Examiner (MCE).

Norm IslerNorm Isler

Norm’s love of general aviation extends all the way back to his high school days, when he logged his first flight time. A life-long New York resident, Norm has flown more than 100 Young Eagle flights, and has been working with drones (Unmanned Aerial Systems) since 2014.

Based in the Rochester area, Norm calls Brockport, NY home, but happily roams the region in a yellow and black Reimagined Cessna 152 he’s affectionately dubbed, “Tweety.”

A private pilot who has his own Rusty Pilot experiences to draw on, Norm sees himself as having lived through very similar challenges to those of the people he works with to get current again, as well as those he helps to form and successfully operate flying clubs.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorPhilip Mandel

Philip Mandel had no idea flying could be affordable for someone with an average income, or possible for someone with an IQ under 200 – until he met a pilot, just a “regular guy” with an average job, who flew for fun and owned a beautiful Mooney. The very next day, Phil drove to his local flight school and signed up for lessons. The bug bit so deeply that sometimes he went for two or even three flight lessons per day! That was back in 1981. He earned his Private Pilot certificate, followed by an Instrument rating, Commercial Pilot certificate, CFI, CFI-I, and MEI certificates. Through the years he has owned several airplanes and is now the proud owner of his tenth flying machine, a Thorp T-18 (Experimental). Now a “recovering engineer,” Phil is an independent flight instructor based in the Portland, Oregon area. 

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorJohn McGonagill

John ‘Bart’ McGonagill graduated from the University of Arizona and immediately entered the United States Air Force and undergraduate pilot training. Twenty years and four-corners of the world later, he concluded his USAF career as a combat rescue pilot and continued his passion for general aviation.  An active CFI throughout his military life and his post-USAF career.   He has worked as an airport manager, authored aviation legislation, and kept on doing what he loves to do most, flight instructing. An aviation enthusiast his whole life, he built and flies an RV-10, is building an RV-14, and is an airpark community dweller (0TX1) in Granbury, Texas. 

He is married to his wife of 35 years, Teresa, who is a criminal defense attorney in Granbury. They have a daughter, Naomi, a 2014 graduate of West Point and currently attending the Texas A&M George Bush Graduate School for International Affairs.

A very personable instructor pilot with exemplary experience in worldwide search and rescue operations. He has been a guest lecturer for professional and community organizations throughout his career. He served as a USAF formal school academic instructor, simulator instructor, courseware designer, and flight examiner.  Additionally, he served in flight test, airfield management, training management, and aircrew scheduling. John has been involved in general aviation for over 35 years and teaches in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.  

Andy MillerAndy Miller
AOPA Ambassador | Great Lakes

Andy is a nationally recognized aviation educator; a lead representative in the FAA Safety Program, FAASTeam; an IMC Club leader for EAA Chapter 252 in Oshkosh, and a member of the National Association of Flight Instructors and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators. He is also an aircraft owner and regularly flies Young Eagle and Angel Flight missions.

Andy is based in the Great Lakes and works with flying clubs, flight schools, aviation organizations, and secondary schools to increase the number of active pilots. You’ll often find him traveling to events and meetings in one of the AOPA's bright yellow "Reimaged Cessna 152s" as part of AOPA's "You Can Fly" initiative.

Chris Moser

Chris Moser is the Senior Director, Flight Training Education, at AOPA. As part of the Pilot Community Development team he manages and supports AOPA’s programs, events, and initiatives related to growing and strengthening the pilot population. Chris oversees the Rusty Pilots program, the Flight Training Poll & Excellence Awards, and is currently developing programs to support and enhance flight school operations.

Chris is a professional educator. He has 17 years experience as a classroom teacher, worked as a full time flight instructor and freight pilot in Arizona, and was an AOPA Aviation Technical Specialist. Chris is a commercial pilot, Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI, is a Maryland State certified teacher, and a has a degree in History/Secondary Education from Towson University in MD.

Yasmina Platt, your Regional Manager for Central SouthwestYasmina Platt

Yasmina Platt knew she wanted to become a pilot since flying, as a child, in airliners between the beautiful Canary Islands and mainland Spain. She moved to the United States over 15 years ago to achieve her dream.

Obtaining her private pilot certificate while in high school, Yasmina is an active pilot and flight instructor (CFI and CFII), rated in single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters. Yasmina also holds a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and an  M.S. in Transportation Planning and Management from Texas Southern University (TSU).

Yasmina’s professional career includes soccer management, aircraft sales, transportation research, teaching, advocacy, marketing, and airport planning and management. Her passion and commitment for aviation is evident in the number of professional credentials that she holds as well as the number of awards she has acquired. Her focus is aviation safety, development, outreach, research, education, and the promotion and protection of aviation. She especially loves teaching and sharing her love of flying with others.

Yasmina currently works for AECOM as a Senior Aviation Planner and writes a bi-monthly column for the Midwest Flyer magazine.

She is based in Houston, Texas with her husband Jared, a cargo pilot and GA supporter.  

Dale Robinson

Dale Robinson is a Certified Flight Instructor, aviation trainer and speaker who is deeply committed to giving back to the community by mentoring future pilots. He has taught at flight schools in Delaware including Boeing Aero Club and Delaware Aviation—and at New Garden Airport in Pennsylvania and flown as a commercial pilot.

As Program Director for Young Eagles at New Garden Airport, he manages a team of more than 25 volunteers delivering more than 200 free airplane rides to local youth each year. As a guest speaker and mentor, Dale participates in youth programs for Future Aviators summer camp. He also flies occasional Angel Flights and PilotsNPaws rescue missions.

Dale has more than 1,500 hours of pilot in command time and his ratings and certificates include CFI and Advanced Ground Instructor, Commercial Instrument Multi-Engine Land and Single Engine Land and Sea.  

Dale holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Delaware and has a background as an enterprise technology and sales executive with companies including Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Teradata, and currently Computer Sciences Corporation. He currently serves on several boards including Ramessys, a startup digital security company, and the University of Delaware’s Parent Leadership Council.

Dale resides in Delaware with his wife Liz and their three children. While not flying or working, he always maintains a very positive “Life is Good” attitude in everything he does!

Brian Schiff

Brian Schiff is a captain for a major U.S. airline and is type-rated on the Airbus A320; Boeing 727, 757, and 767; DC-9 (MD-80); CL-65; LR-JET; and Gulfstream V. Schiff’s roots are deeply planted in general aviation where he has flown a wide variety of aircraft—including his own Citabria. He holds several flight instructor ratings, loves teaching and is recognized for his enthusiasm and ability to teach in a fun way that simplifies complex procedures and concepts. He has been actively instructing since earning his flight and ground instructor certificates in 1985. Schiff also has been an FAA-designated examiner. He attended San Jose State University and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his Master of Science degree in Aviation Safety from the University of Central Missouri. He regularly teaches and conducts seminars about aviation safety and techniques to student and professional pilots alike.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorTed Spitzmiller

Ted Spitzmiller has unique qualifications that include an extensive background in teaching everything from flight operations to full semester ground schools. He enjoys interacting with people and lighting a fire of enthusiasm for all things aerospace.

He has given more than 4,000 hours of dual instruction in and endorsed pilots for Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi-engine, CFI, and CFII ratings in Part 61 and 141 schools. He taught ground school for the University of New Mexico for 12 years, and is a former board member of the Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy (SAMS), a unique aviation-oriented charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ted has logged flight time in 87 different aircraft types, has received extensive aerobatic training, and is tailwheel qualified. He is a Civil Air Patrol Command Pilot and the editor of IFR Refresher magazine.

Kay Sundaram AOPA AmbassadorKay Sundaram
AOPA Ambassador | Southern California

Kay's passion for flight began at age 12 when she received her first flying lesson. She soloed on her 16th birthday and earned a Private Pilot certificate and instrument rating at age 17. Her passion led her to a fulfilling Aerospace Engineering career during the last 20 years.

Kay is also an independent flight instructor based at Palomar Airport. She's an FAA Commercial Pilot and Multi-Engine Instrument Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI), FAA Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor (AGI, IGI), and holds degrees in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University (B.S.) and Stanford.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorRon Timmermans

Ron Timmermans credits his older brother and his wife for his success in aviation—his brother for taking him for a flight while he was still in elementary school and his wife for encouraging him to become a flight instructor. Ron has 6,000-plus hours of flight time, including more than 3,000 hours as a flight instructor. Now retired from his career as an architect and project management professional, including 35 years as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, Ron lives in Orlando, Florida, where he is an independent flight instructor.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorJeanné Willerth

Jeanné Willerth is a Master CFI who provides single and multi-engine training in the Kansas City area. She was named the 2015 “CFI of the Year” for both the Kansas City Flight Standards District and the FAA’s Central Region. Jeanné was the 2012 National FAASTeam Rep of the Year. She is an ATP and holds CFI-A, CFI-I, MEI, IGI, and AGI certificates. Jeanné is active in the Ninety-Nines, SAFE, and the Missouri Pilots Association. She volunteers using her Cessna 182 for Angel Flight Central, Challenge Air, and Young Eagles. 

Jeanné holds both undergraduate and master’s degrees in mathematics. Jeanné was a Rusty Pilot herself. When she was young, her mother taught her to fly. She took a 15-year break from flying and has earned all her ratings but her private certificate since that time.

Rusty Pilots seminar instructorBill Wilson

Bill Wilson has combined careers in the news media, business and the military with his life-long passion for aviation. After three years in the U.S. Navy as an Air Controlman followed by earning a BA from Indiana University and a MA from Ball State University in Indiana, he spent 20 years as a TV newsman with his last assignment as news director of KDFW in Dallas. In1985, Bill started Communique, an Indianapolis-based interactive multi-media production group that he ran for 24 years. Re-entering the Navy as a reserve public affairs officer in 1974, he retired as a Captain in 1995 with a total of 26 years of active duty and reserve experience.

Now semi-retired in the Melbourne, Florida, area, Bill actively instructs pilots seeking to return to flying. You will also read his articles periodically in popular aviation publications. As a Certified Flight Instructor and Advanced Ground Instructor, Bill concentrates on conducting effective flight reviews, instrument instruction and simulator training.

Bill’s home field is Valkaria Airport (x59) in Florida, where he hangars his Citabria and is a member of the Orlando FSDO FAAST team.