Staff


Tony SperanzaDirector of Operations


Tony joined VFA last Fall and has been helping to restructure and update our procedures to better support our flight instructors and students. Tony’s prior experience focused on development and manufacturing of advanced semiconductor products. He was a Sr. Engineering Manager at IBM Microelectronics and holds more then 12 US Patents. His education includes degrees in Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Material Engineering (MS). He also worked as a technical business consultant through both SEMATECH & ISMI in Austin, TX.

 Tony is also a Certified Flight Instructor (CFII) since 1997 and operates his own aircraft & flight instruction business. Hi is also an FAA Certified A & P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization privileges. Tony built his own aircraft, N956TS, a Van’s RV-180 which is certified for night, instrument & Aerobatic flight. He specializes in RV-6 training for which he has an FAA approved training program (under LODA).

 Tony has been involved in STEM & youth education for many years. He taught at the College Level (Midlands Tech, Columbia SC) and is actively engaged in youth & aviation education through the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).


Janel SofkaOffice Manager


Janel has been Office Manager and a part of the VFA team since Fall 2014. She has been instrumental in assisting VFA during the last few years to accommodate our student growth and facilitate efficient operations.

Janel has over 10 years of experience working in a variety of office positions; giving her unique experience and the ability to take on multiple tasks at once. She has worked in data entry psotions, then moved up to becoming a legal admin. Her previous position  in California before moving to Vermont was working for a manufacturing company, assisting in production and accounting. Janel is very hard working, and dedicated to VFA and its success.

Being from Southern California, Janel enjoys Vermont summers. She loves to go paddle boarding on Lake Champlain and taking her Boston Terrier Beans to Burlington’s many dog parks. You can catch Beans now and then playing with students in our VFA lobby and napping in the sun.


Kenneth MinckMechanic


Ken has been a part of our Maintenance Team at VFA for the past two years. ( more on Ken to come…).


Luke RandallMechanic


Luke has been a part of our Maintenance Team at VFA for the past year. ( more on Luke to come…).

Instructors


Levi Whitaker Chief Flight Instructor


Levi has been with VFA as a Flight Instructor for 2 years and has demonstrated excellent Instruction skills and professionalism. Levi is a new addition to our  Chief Flight Instructor team and will be Chief  Flight Instructor for our Private and Instrument Students.

Levi became interested in aviation at a young age through his fascination with the history of World War II, and military aviation. After graduating from High School in VT, Levi decided to make his interest a career, quickly becoming a Private Pilot.  Levi went on to earn his Commercial rating, CFI and CFII while in college and has recently graduated from Utah Valley University, earning a Bachelors degree in Aviation Sciences.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

David Whitcomb Chief Flight Instructor


David Whitcomb is a Valuable new addition to our Chief Flight Instructor team, and will work with Commercial and CFI students. (more info about Dave to come…)

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

Daniel Lathrop  Chief Flight Instructor


Dan is a new addition to the VFA team specializing in Multi Engine Flight Instruction. He is our Chief Flight Instructor for Multi Engine Land and Multi Engine Instrument.

Dan started flying at the age of 21, after he took a glider ride at the Morrisville airport and totally fell in love. After earning his glider rating he went back to school to earn a 4 year Aviation degree in Long Island, NY. He continued to fly during college by working summers at a glider operation. Dan has been instructing for many years and is currently the pilot of a King Air, and a Cirrus. Dan loves instructing for VFA part time as it gives him the chance to pass on his knowledge and experience to other students and instructors.

When Dan isn’t flying he’s racing a side by side all over New England, riding his motorcycle, hanging on his boat, or snow machining in the winter. Dan’s favorite quote is by Leonardo da Vinci, “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”

Certificates & Ratings
  • ATP Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • CFI Glider

Matthew Barter Lead Flight Instructor


Matt Barter was introduced to aviation as a child when he would help his Grandfather build and fly remote control airplanes. His interest in becoming a professional pilot was fostered by watching aircraft take off and land at the Logan International airport in his home town of Boston, Massachusetts. After High School, Matt enrolled in Vermont Technical College’s Professional Pilot Technology program in conjunction with  VFA. Matt enjoys flying seaplanes and exploring the coves of Lake Champlain the most, but loves all aspects of aviation.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • Seaplane
  • Tail wheel

John Doyon Flight Instructor & Safety Officer


John Doyon currently teaches a History of Aviation course at VTC, and also acts as VFA’s Safety Officer.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

Dick Ferno Flight Instructor


Dick Ferno started flying in 1963 in a J-3 Cub. He spent 36 years as an air traffic controller, allowing him to bring an invaluable perspective on flight safety to VFA. He spent four years as an Air Force controller from 1964 – 1968. Dick especially enjoys teaching the instrument rating and flight in advanced aircraft. He believes that his job as an instructor and mentor is to make every pilot safe and to help them strive to be the best they can be

Certificates & Ratings
  • ATP Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine

Kathy Daily Flight Instructor


Kathy Daily works part time with VFA as a Tailwheel and Acrobatic Instructor. Kathy’s  start in aviation came with a flying lesson that was a gift. She fell in love with the feel of an airplane because it reminded her of riding horses, her first love. She has a background of over nine years as a commuter airline captain, overseas ferry pilot, and professional airshow pilot with a civilian jet team. Kathy enjoys teaching basic aerobatics and tailwheel transitions the most. She has shared these skills with pilots in a Citabria, Decathlon, and Pitts trainers.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • Tail wheel
  • Acrobatic

Hobbie TomlinsonDesignated Pilot Examiner


Hobie is one of VFA’s Designated Pilot Examiners and the Chief Flight Instructor for VTC’s Pilot Technology Program. Hobie got his start in aviation in 1960 as a Line Service Technician (LST) – and later as an aircraft mechanic (A&P) for Northern Airways in Burlington, VT. Hobie is a member of SAFE (Society of Aviation Educators), a 6 Time Master Flight Instructor (MCFI), A Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP), A Gold Seal Instructor and was the FAA National CFI of the Year for 2012. His specializations include Cirrus Aircraft, and other advanced training (Tail Wheel & Seaplane). Hobie’s teaching philosophy is: Train to produce safe, competent pilots who are able to display  professionalism in the cockpit.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • ATP Certificate
  • Designated Pilot Examiner
  • Aircraft Dispatcher
  • Aircraft Mechanic (Airframe & Powerplant)

Doug Smith VTC Program Director & DPE


Doug Smith co-founded Vermont Flight Academy in 2009 and serves as president of the flight school. Over the course of his career, Doug has accumulated the following certificates and ratings: Airline Transport Pilot, Single and Multiengine, Land and Sea; CFI and CFII; Advanced and Instrument Certified Ground Instructor. Doug is also a Designated FAA Pilot Examiner and performs the majority of check rides for VFA students.

Over the course of his extensive career, Doug has served as Captain on a B-727, B-757, B-767, B-777 and a C-172. He has amassed over 34,300 hours total time, and counting.

Doug loves teaching private pilots and enjoys the responsibility of being a Designated FAA Pilot Examiner.  He is dedicated to the health and growth of general aviation.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • ATP Certificate

Joe Kolk Flight Instructor


Joe Kolk had an interest in aviation for many years from watching airplanes fly over his home in Williston, Vermont. In pursuit of his passion for aviation Joe took a discovery flight at Vermont Flight Academy at age 16. From this amazing experience Joe looked to continue his flight lessons and enrolled in the Vermont Technical College Professional Pilot Program.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

Jeremy Noury Flight Instructor


Jeremy Noury’s interest in aviation came at a very young age because of his father’s career as an avionics technician. After High School, Jeremy continued his pursuit in aviation at Vermont Technical College’s Professional Pilot Program in conjuction with  VFA. He enjoys all aspects of aviation, but loves flying seaplanes on Lake Champlain the most.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

Adam Deem Flight Instructor


Adam has had an obsession with airplanes and flying since shortly after he learned to walk. Adam learned to fly at a small flight school in Ohio and contined at the University of Cincinnati. Adam has worked as a commercial pilot since 2002 and his experience includes flying skydivers in numerous aircraft types as well as gliders in Germany. Adam is a 12-year Air Force Veteran and served as an air traffic controller and aircraft maintenance officer. Adam also has a passion for antique aircraft and grass-roots aviation.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • Glider

Rob Lowe Flight Instructor


Rob Lowe’s interest in aviation began in 2002 while flying back and forth to California on long flights. After being surrounded by aviation over that time and watching the planes take off he thought, “It would be amazing to be able to fly one of these planes!” A few months later Rob took his first flight and has had a passion for aviation and flying ever since. Rob enjoys working in the instrument environment, particularly on challenging weather days, which we have plenty of in Vermont. Rob believes you can’t beat real weather as a teaching tool. Rob takes care to get to know how his students in order to discover the best way to instruct them. “There are many methods by which a teacher can teach and by which a student can learn. It is the combination of the two that results in success.”-Rob Lowe

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • ATP Certificate

Jennifer Hoy Flight Instructor


Jenn Hoy works with VTC as a Ground School Instructor, as well as a Flight Instructor at VFA for VTC’s Pilot Technology Students. Jenn got her start in aviation flying out of Franklin County Airport in Highgate, VT after graduating from UVM.  While flying as a commercial pilot Jen has also earned type-ratings in a Jetstream 41, Airbus 319, B-757, B-767.  Half of her time she flew as a captain on the Jetstream 41 but her most satisfying flights were when bringing troops home from the war in Iraq and hearing their cheers as they entered United States airspace. One of Jen’s favorite quotes is by Tony Kern:  “Don’t expect to perform under extreme conditions at levels you do not practice for on a daily basis.”

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine
  • ATP Certificate

Daniel GrantFlight Instructor


Dan Grant has been a part of VFA for the past few years. He is a part time instructor and also flies on the weekends. Dan became interested in aviation when he was in middle-school. His science teacher created an Aerospace Club to help get kids interested in science and engineering. Years later, while on summer break from college, Dan decided to get his private pilot certificate. He loved it so much that he went on to gain his CFI, Commercial, Instrument, single-engine and multi engine land ratings. For Dan, teaching aviation is all about helping the student to relax, learn, and have fun realizing their goals.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • CFI Multi Engine

George Tucker Flight Instructor


George’s interest in aviation was sparked at the age of 11, when he took his first ride in a small aircraft. After that, he was hooked and continued his pursuit of aviation. George ended up soloing on his 16th birthday, and got his private license before graduating high school. He then enrolled in Vermont Technical College’s Pilot Technology Program. George enjoys flying tailwheel aircraft into grass strips and seaplanes around Lake Champlain. In addition to his flight experience, George is also working on his airframe and power plant certificate (A&P).

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • Tail wheel
  • Seaplane

Ryan Merriam Flight Instructor


Ryan Merriam’s love for aviation began from taking frequent trips as a child with his aunt who worked for Continental Airlines. His first flight on a commercial airline was at the age of 18 when he began college at Bridgewater State University. After a year, Ryan transferred into the Professional Pilot Technology program offered at Vermont Technical College. He proceeded to obtain numerous licenses and ratings and was part of the first graduating class in the VTC Pilot Technology program. Ryan also enjoys Vermont’s outdoors and loves to play soccer, run, snowboard, and hunt. He enjoys meeting new people, and showing his love for aviation to others.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • Seaplane
  • Tail wheel

Matthew Fuller Flight Instructor


Matthew Fuller’s interest in aviation began at a very young age when he would travel frequently with his family.  After High School, Matt pursued other avenues with the Marine Corps.  Years later, Matt discovered the Bachelors in Professional Pilot Technology program offered at  Vermont Technical College in conjunction with VFA, and was a member of the first graduating class. Matt enjoys teaching instrument flight, but loves all aspects of aviation.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Multi Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

Patrick Davey  Flight Instructor


Patrick Davey’s fascination with airplanes began at a very early age, and began when he started collecting models of all Major Commercial aircraft. He began his flight training in Chicago, and after learning of the Professional Pilot Program at Vermont Technical College, he enrolled and continued his education. Patrick looks forward to passing on his love for flying to students of all ages.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • Multi Engine
  • Tailwheel
  • Seaplane

Travis Benson Flight Instructor


Travis has been interested in flying ever since he was a young boy going on plane rides, to airshows, and aviation museums. After graduating from high school Travis pursued his career in Aviation starting at the Community College of Beaver County in PA. Travis completed their two-year program then transferred into the 4-year Bachelor’s in Aviation degree at Vermont Technical College; where he graduated in the spring of 2016.

Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • Tailwheel

James Chitwood Flight Instructor


Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument

Stephen Gedney Flight Instructor


Certificates & Ratings
  • Commercial Certificate
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • CFI Instrument
  • Seaplane