There are many things that contribute to the success of a company, no matter the industry it serves. A flight school is no different. Taking care of customers, focusing on safety, and taking care of and choosing the right employees are all a part of makes a flight school great. Since 1939, American Flyers has set itself apart as one of the oldest and most successful schools in the business, largely due to some incredible people that we’ve been fortunate to have worked with us over the years. It’s an even greater thing when those wonderful people become long-term employees who continue making valuable contributions through their experience and insight.
Mike Bliss started working for American Flyers in 1989 as a flight instructor at our school in Addison, Texas. After instructing for a period, he soon became involved as chief pilot manager. He has always had a passion for carrying forward American Flyers’ teaching philosophy and core values. In fact, there was a period of time where he flew around regularly visiting each of our school locations in order to meet with and mentor instructors and chief pilots. Currently, he serves as Chairman of the National Safety Board for American Flyers, and although he is partly retired, he still plays an active role in helping raise up the future generation of aviation professionals.
Doc Elliott started as flight instructor out of Midway airport back in 1969. He quickly earned a reputation as one of the finest instrument instructors in the entire company. As he built his experience, it became apparent that he had a passion for the operational side of the company. One of his continual areas of focus was on programming, which helped ensure students finished on time and on budget. At the present time, he uses his love for teaching to help mentor future instructors and shape the education of students by writing the curriculum that we use to train our students. He also lends his insight as a member of the National Safety Board of American Flyers.
Clark McCormack started as an instructor in 1969 out of Midway airport, where he fell in love with teaching. He also fell in love with management, specifically as it related to running schools. That love was quickly identified and Clark was asked to leave Midway and move to Ohio in 1973 to run the school out there. After several years in Ohio, he was asked to move to Texas to take on a national leadership role in the company, where he served as President. One of his strengths throughout his many years of service has been helping train school managers how to communicate effectively with their teams. Clark is retired from day to day operations, but now lends experience in an advisory role on the board of directors and is involved in strategic planning as it pertains to the growth of the company as a whole.
Sherry Magno became involved full-time with American Flyers in 1990, where she was the Registrar of the American Flyers Junior College. Although the college closed in 1996, Sherry has continued her involvement with admissions, enrollment, etc. Other notable contributions include spearheading the Judith Resnik scholarship fund, which assists female pilots in obtaining their Flight Instructor ratings. She has also been an integral part of establishing and maintaining relationships with lending institutions on behalf of American Flyers. In fact, many of our past and current students have her to thank for helping make their dream a reality by aligning strategic lending options for them to take advantage of. She also plays a huge role in making sure our Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC) students get taken care of on a monthly basis by making sure their paperwork is accurate and complete before turning in to the FAA for renewal.
Dave Menconi started years ago at Midway airport in 1978 as a flight instructor. After teaching for a few years, he then went to work for Delta Airlines as a manager in their customer service department. Although he was working full-time at Delta, his desire to teach never went away, so he continued to work part-time as a flight instructor. Soon after retiring from Delta, he came back and worked full-time for American Flyers in multiple roles, including the National Chief Pilot position for several years. An expert at interpreting FAA regulations and communications between the schools and FAA, he still plays a vital role in helping our students and instructors. With such a strong history and level of experience, as a member of the National Safety Board, he is frequently called on to lend insight to questions regarding regulatory statutes and requirements as they pertain to the flight school. In fact, one of his primary roles in the NSB is to follow up on any significant occurrences within the company and talk directly to the student and instructor involved to help determine if internal policies/procedures need to be adjusted, while using the situation as a learning opportunity for those involved.
There have been countless people over the last 80 years that have made American Flyers who we are today. We appreciate that all of our staff, from our front desk team to our mechanics, to instructors, to administration, to our national support team, our safety board, and the leadership team have all played a major role in our passionate mission to train pilots.