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Andrew Henley


Q & A With American Flyers’ President Andrew Henley

Q & A With American Flyers’ President Andrew Henley

This month, we asked the president of American Flyers, Andrew Henley, to share a bit about himself and why he does what he does.


My grandfather, a retired Sears Roebuck executive, possessed an adventurous spirit and found an outlet in the skies. He owned a Cessna 172, symbolizing his deep-seated love for flying and paving the way for my aspirations. His passion for aviation was contagious and became imprinted in my heart, shaping my dreams to embark on my own piloting adventures.

My uncle, a corporate pilot, and my cousin, a commercial pilot, further solidified my passion for aviation. They instilled in me a sense of ambition, pushing me to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the field. Their stories of navigating the complexities of the cockpit, demonstrating exceptional airmanship, and exploring the world from a unique perspective fascinated me beyond measure.

The tragic loss of my father at a young age magnified the significance of these aviator role models in my life. As male figures who not only pursued their dreams but excelled in them, they became beacons of inspiration. Each time I entered an aircraft or studied aviation-related subjects, their spirit resided within me, urging me to honor their legacies and carry forward their love for aviation.


My first solo flight took place on April 27, 2007, in a Cessna 172 with the registration N3110E. The unforgettable experience began at DuPage Airport, where I departed from runway 28. As I taxied down the runway, a mix of nerves and excitement filled the cockpit.

Once airborne, I couldn’t help but glance to my right, expecting to see my instructor beside me. However, the seat was empty. The realization hit me that I was solely responsible for the aircraft and all decisions during this flight. This feeling of independence and freedom was exhilarating.

During one of my landings, something unexpected happened. My mother, who happened to live in a subdivision on the downwind side of runway 28, caught a glimpse of my aircraft flying overhead. The sight of her son soaring through the air must’ve been a proud and surreal moment for her.

After completing my flight lesson, I headed to my mother’s house for lunch to celebrate my first solo flight.


Getting started with American Flyers was a dream come true. It all began when my mother, who knew about my passion for flying, gifted me a certificate for ten hours of flight instruction at American Flyers, which was conveniently located at my local airport in West Chicago, Illinois. The moment I set foot inside the premises, I felt an instant connection to the company. Everything about American Flyers fascinated me. The staff, consisting of incredible individuals who were not only skilled but also passionate about aviation, created a welcoming and encouraging environment. The aircraft at American Flyers were maintained impeccably, and their efficiency and safety standards further fueled my desire to become a part of this renowned company.

Soon after I started working for American Flyers, my uncle, who had become a private pilot at the young age of sixteen, shared a heartwarming story with me. He revealed that my grandfather had offered to pay for half of the expenses associated with his instrument training if he could manage the rest. This led my uncle to approach American Flyers, which was known as A.T.E. at the time, with half of the required amount in hand. To my uncle’s surprise, the owner of A.T.E. extended an incredible gesture. In exchange for my uncle painting the inside of their hangar, they would bear the remaining expenses of his training. This act of kindness not only allowed my uncle to pursue his passion but also paved the way for an aviation career. Had it not been for this opportunity, who knows if my uncle would have ever shared his love for flying with me? Reflecting upon this incident, which unfolded nearly five decades ago, I’m reminded of the profound impact that American Flyers has had on my family’s life. Inspired by their generosity, I’ve made it my mission to pay it forward. American Flyers showed that a small act of kindness can shape someone’s dreams and aspirations. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities that American Flyers has provided me, and I’m proud to be affiliated with such a remarkable institution.


For 85 years, American Flyers has been dedicated to empowering the next generation of aviators. We’ve cultivated a culture of collaboration, inspiration, and dedication to excellence. Our instructors go above and beyond to ensure that our students receive the highest quality of training, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the aviation industry.

We live vicariously through our students, experiencing both their challenges and triumphs. Whether it’s their first solo flight or preparation for their check ride, we’re there every step of the way, providing unwavering support and encouragement. We understand the magnitude of the journey they undertake, and it’s our duty to celebrate their victories as if they were our own.

My drive comes from the commitment I see everyday from our instructors and other staff members. They are the best the industry has to offer, and I’m proud to be associated with them.


When I first encountered Emmanuel Kipkorir, one of our chief pilots from Kenya, at our Pompano Beach location, I couldn’t help but marvel at his incredible journey. It was astonishing to learn that his arrival in the United States for his initial training marked his very first time on an airplane. With the steadfast support of his family back home, he embarked on a path paved by hard work and determination.

Emmanuel’s training at American Flyers was far from easy, yet he persevered through the challenges fueled by his burning passion for aviation. One pivotal element that played a crucial role in his success was the guidance of another chief pilot, Garry Goddard, who gladly took on the role of his mentor. This partnership proved invaluable, providing the support and guidance necessary to navigate the complex world of flight training.

Upon completing his training, Emmanuel managed to obtain a work permit, propelling him into the realm of flight instruction. It didn’t take long for his exceptional skills and dedication to be recognized as he swiftly ascended through the ranks, eventually becoming a chief pilot himself. This remarkable journey serves as a constant reminder that every struggling student deserves our utmost dedication and commitment. Investing everything we have in their progress can yield immensely rewarding outcomes.

Little did we anticipate that this young man would emerge as one of our most precious assets. His story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and the limitless potential that lies within each individual. Through his extraordinary journey, he’s not only become a source of inspiration for aspiring aviators but also a shining example of what can be achieved with determination, guidance, and unfaltering support.


Education never ends. After you complete your initial training, it’s important to understand that this is where your journey begins. Dedicate yourself to being the best pilot you can be. And remember, American Flyers is your partner for life.