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"I did my private pilot's license and instrument training with Gary. I am very impressed with the level of professionalism and dedication provided throughout the training. Gary is very devoted to his work and did everything possible to perfectly prepare me for my checkrides. Also, the planes are in excellent condition and always clean. The flight school facility speaks for itself, spacious and bright... One thing is for sure, I won't fly anywhere else again."

- Vitus Holzner, Munich, Germany and California

 

Our Instructors

 

Over 30 years of aviation experience

 

 

Our dedicated full-time flight instructors will guide you through our flight program.

We will provide you with that sense of accomplishment and completion.

 

 

GARY SPARKS

As a native of San Luis Obispo, Gary has a long history of flying in the San Luis Obispo area. He began his love of aviation at the ripe age of 15. Before he could drive a car, Gary would ride his bicycle to San Luis Obispo airport to take flying lessons.

 

As a flight instructor, Gary’s commitment to working a student through the process of becoming a pilot and fulfill their dream, is evidenced by the fact that he presented twenty-four student pilots to the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner in 2006. That’s more than any other flight instructor in San Luis Obispo County.


PAUL KENDRICK
Paul started flying radio controlled model helicopters with his dad when he was 12. Many of our local RC pilots were real pilots, and that sparked his desire to learn to fly. Flight lessons began at age 14, soloing at 16, and earned his PPL at 17. All of Paul's primary interests and hobbies involve aviation: As an aircraft homebuilder and avid participant in EAA, he still flies RC, and although not a participant, is a big fan of Air Racing and competition aerobatics. As for his day job, he is a business manager for a defense contractor. Paul lives in SLO with his wife and (future pilot) son.

JAMES CAMPBELL
Watching airplanes at age two from the picnic area by runway 29 at SBP, James was determined to become a third generation pilot whose first flight lesson was at age 10. He has been a fixture at the San Luis Obispo airport for almost 20 years. His first flight instructor drove him home after flight lessons, as he was too young to get behind the wheel of a car.

As a young pilot and flight instructor, James is full of enthusiasm, aviation knowledge, and knows what it takes to encourage, lead, and instruct students and pilots to their next level in aviation. As a previous student of Aerocademy, he knows our goals and caters to our philosophies of ensuring that pilots complete their flight training in a safe, professional, and timely manner.

MICHELLE GRACEFFA
Michelle knew she wanted to be a pilot since she was 5, begging for flying lessons throughout childhood to the amusement of her non-flying family. She paid for her initial flight training by washing planes and helping with their maintenance at a small neighborhood airport in Fresno. After studying geography and aviation at UAF, while flying out of Fairbanks, Alaska, she graduated from Reedley College's Airframe & Powerplant course. Michelle enjoys wrenching on her airplane, and is a proud member of AWAM (Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance).

Aside from flight instructing, Michelle volunteers much of her time as the SLO County 4-H Aeronautics project leader. And, in her spare time, she enjoys exploring the sky with her pilot husband and two future A&P/pilot kids.

MIKE POGVARA
Mike had his first intro flight in 1998 at the age of 17 and has loved every hour of flying ever since. Although only able to devote part time schedule availability, flying is his full time passion. He has had the unique opportunity of flying Cessna 172s in Japan, and enjoys sharing his love of flying with new and experienced pilots alike.


ANDREW MILLIGAN
Andrew grew up fascinated by aviation and dreamed of one day becoming a pilot. His grandfather is a pilot and took him for his first ride in a Cessna 150 at the age of 11. He was instantly hooked and took to remote control planes to fulfill the void. Fast-forward several years and he is now certified as a flight instructor and shares is passion for aviation with his students. Most of his training was done with Aerocademy and he is determined to provide instruction to the same high standards.