Faith Drewry is the co-founder of Fl Aviation Center, a flight training school at the Tallahassee International Airport. Flying had always been a passion for Faith, who earned her private pilot’s license at the age of 19, and she always enjoyed the instant camaraderie shared by all pilots wherever they gathered. When she moved to Tallahassee in 2008, Faith discovered that she was the only female pilot around, and was dismayed to find that there was no gathering place for pilots to build that sense of community that she had found so welcoming in other cities where she had lived. When she met then student-pilot Lacey Smith, the two became fast friends, and it was not long before they decided to build that community from scratch. Fl Aviation Center was founded in 2012, and since then these women have made it their mission to provide a home for anyone who dreams of flight.
Lacey grew up in rural southern Iowa where her hard-working parents instilled a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. As a young adult she developed her love of horses into a career as a horse trainer. That took her to Pittsburgh, PA for several years, then to North Carolina and eventually to Florida.
The difficulty of travelling to her far-flung clients led to the idea of learning to fly. Flying quickly became a passion. She was hired at the local FBO, Million Air, eventually becoming the customer service manager where she enjoyed meeting fellow pilots, learning their stories, and making new friends. She also learned a great deal about the aviation business and progressed to supervisor, experience that she draws on to facilitate running the flight school. Meanwhile, her personal flight instructor, attempting to involve her in the local aviation community, insisted Lacey attend an EAA meeting where she met Faith. Their acquaintance quickly developed into a strong bond of friendship and support, which they felt greatly aided their progress as pilots. Seeing the need for others to have this kind of support inspired them to open the flight school. They now work at having a friendly, fun, supportive atmosphere available to everyone. Lacey continues to work on additional ratings and enjoys hosting events for the local aviation community.
Dan has been a licensed pilot since 1980 and received his Private Pilot Certificate at an Aero Club while serving in the U.S.A.F. Since that time, he has logged 4,000 flight hours and currently holds both Commercial Single-Engine Land and Airline Transport Multi-Engine Land pilot certificates. As a Flight Instructor, Dan has given over 1,800 hours of dual flight instruction in single-engine, multi-engine, and has over 1,000 flight hours in technologically advanced glass panel aircraft, and holds the following instructor certificates: CFI, CFII, MEI. Flying is his passion!
Cap’n Dave started his flying training in 1984 in VA, where he had been a professional SCUBA instructor and dive boat captain for a number of years. He moved to Quincy in 1987 to finish up his flight training for commercial and CFI. After instructing for a number of years in the Tallahassee area, he became a “freight dog,” then a local corporate pilot, and finally ended up as a pilot for the Governors of Florida. Cap’n Dave has given over 2,500 hours of dual flight instruction, including such notables as the current US Sec. of State John Kerry; FSU president T.K. Wetherell; and NASA astronaut Winston Scott. He holds a multi-engine ATP and commercial ratings in Single Engine Land and Sea airplanes, and is type-rated in CE-500 jets and BE-300 King Airs. Cap’n Dave has also worked for McDonnell Douglas and Boeing as an Educational Technologist, and has over 8,000 hours total time flying airplanes. Many years later, he still very much enjoys introducing folks to the joys and rewards of flying.
Mike began flying in 1986 when he entered the Air Force’s Undergraduate Pilot Training flying the T-37 and T-38. Following pilot training, he served as a primary flight instructor and evaluator pilot in the T-37 jet trainer where he earned his commercial certificate, and multi-engine, instrument, and instructor ratings. The bulk of Mike’s Air Force career was spent flying the AC-130H gunship as a mission pilot and instructor pilot where he flew during in numerous overseas deployments. After retiring from the Air Force, Mike obtained his single-engine rating. Mike now instructs part time, is passionate about general aviation, and enjoys “bringing up” the next generation of pilots.
Lee is an active flight instructor who received his first pilot’s certificate in 1992 and currently serves as an airborne law enforcement officer. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate for multi-engine airplanes and helicopters and is a Flight Instructor as well as an Instrument Flight Instructor in single engine airplanes and helicopters. He also holds an Advanced Ground Instructor certificate, and is a licensed Aerial Applicator. He’s an FAA Safety Team Representative, and has experience building and refurbishing airplanes.
Winston began flight training at the Commercial Airport in Tallahassee during high school. Shortly after soloing, being a Student Pilot went on hold and gave way to Aviation Maintenance training. After working as an Aircraft Technician at the Florida Bureau of Aircraft and Florida Division of Forestry, flight training again resumed. During this time, he attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and obtained the remainder of his certificates and ratings while gaining a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Technology. Winston now flies commercially and for fun, and particularly enjoys sharing the enjoyment through flight instruction.
Andy Anderman has been a private pilot since the early 1960s, going on to add his instrument and commercial helicopter ratings in Army flight school in the mid-60s. Andy then earned his mutli-engine and ATP ratings in the mid-70s, and has been actively involved in aviation education ever since. Andy currently holds instrument flight instructor certificates for rotorcraft and airplanes (multi-engine land, and single engine land and sea) as well as gliders. Little-know facts about Andy: he holds a Flight Engineer rating on the 727, and his favorite hobbies are playing guitar and soaring.
Vick Patel is a Marine combat veteran. He served as security forces and civil affairs in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 03-08. Patel became a licensed pilot in 2009 and has experience working with the Civil Air Patrol.
Patel’s passion for flying began at the very early age of 14, when his grandfather took him to the airport for his first discovery flight. He went on to pursue this passion, earning his ratings and becoming a flight instructor, but Vick didn’t stop there. He also holds a bachelors degree in Aviation Science from Utah Valley University, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
His goals are to train safe pilots, research new energy efficient aircraft system ideas for the industry, and eventually to fly for the airlines.