Contract Consultants and Expert Witnesses
The experts at EAC are what make the difference. Below is a summary of the qualifications and experience of our contract aviation professionals. Experts listed only with initials cannot be listed here due to current employment or other contractual status.
Captain Herbert Blake has accumulated over thirty years flight experience both with the United States Air Force and a major U.S. airline. Herbert is a graduate of Texas Tech University and holds a masters degree from the University of Southern California. He is a graduate of the USC/USAF Flight Safety Officer program as well as the USC/USAF Chief of Safety program.
Herbert has flown as an aircrew member on the T-37, T-38, C-130, DC10, B737-200, B757, and B767 throughout North America, Asia, and the Pacific and is currently flying as a Captain on the A319/320 aircraft. He has also performed duties as an instructor pilot on the T-38 and C-130 aircraft as well as a functional check flight pilot on the C-130.
While carrying out military duties as a Chief of Safety, he directed both ground and flight safety programs. As a Flight Safety Officer, he was responsible for investigating multiple flight, as well as ground, incidents and mishaps.
Captain Vincent Czaplyski has flown professionally for over 26 years, and has extensive experience as an aviation consultant and pilot expert witness.
Vince has served as a designated checkairman for over 13 years, working closely with airline Flight Operations management and FAA air carrier inspectors, responsible for instructing and checking airline flight crews operating MD-80, B727, B737, and B757/767 jet aircraft. Vince is currently a B-757/767 captain and checkairman, flying primarily international routes.
He has accumulated more than 21,600 flight hours, on jet, turboprop, and a variety of single and twin-engine types. Vince also published numerous aviation safety articles, and has co-written and contributed to two books.
Vince is experienced as both an aviation consultant and pilot expert witness, having worked on behalf of both plaintiff and defense attorneys in various legal proceedings. He is also knowledgeable in the preparation of Rule 26 expert reports as required in federal proceedings.
Captain Richard “RJ” Johnson has over 25 years flying experience and 20 years as a general aviation mechanic. RJ is currently an Airbus captain with a major airline where he provided training development, supervision, and has check airman status in the Airbus. RJ attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University receiving an MS Aeronautical Science and served 23 years in the US Army/NG as Commander, Instructor Pilot, and Maintenance Test Pilot/Examiner. Qualifying in C26A/B, AH1F, OH-58A/C, UH-1H aircraft. He also has experience working on and flying most general aviation single and multi-engine aircraft. He currently flies, flight instructs, and performs maintenance in antique/general aviation aircraft. RJ possesses an FAA ATP and is type rated in A320, B727, B777, SA227 and BH206 Helicopters. He currently holds FAA Instructor ratings in ASEL, AMEL, Instrument, and Helicopters as well as ground instructor ratings. RJ has been married for 22 years and has two children.
Vaughn R. "Bobby" Ross has over forty-one years of aviation experience. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Army in 1967.
Ross holds and Airline Transport Rating in rotorcraft. He began his aviation career by successfully completing Officers Rotary Wing Aviator's Course 68-16 and UH-1 Instructor Pilot Transition Qualification Course 70-2. Captain Ross served with the 57th Assault Helicopter Company in 1969-70 where he logged 1056 combat flying hours while flying in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
In 1978, Ross co-founded Commercial Helicopters, Inc. headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. As Vice President and Director of Operations, Mr. Ross was responsible for all aspects of flight and maintenance operations for CHI's 34 aircraft and 158 employees. CHI provided helicopter transportation to the offshore petroleum industry and their various service support companies throughout the Louisiana and Texas Gulf of Mexico. Sales generated by the company exceeded $12 million annually.
Ross served as undersecretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development from 1984 to 1988. He headed up the Office of Management and Finance, which was responsible for planning, organizing and managing the Department's $1.8 billion annual operating and construction budgets, 6,800 member Civil Service Employee organization and liaison with the State's legislature and 64 Parish governments.
In 1988 Ross founded V.R. Ross Associates, an organization that provides aviation safety consulting services. Ross provides expertise in aviation accident investigations, aircraft accident reconstruction and pilot issues. The aircrash accident reconstruction typically includes engine tear-down studies, airframe examinations, document research, airworthiness and crashworthiness determinations, human factor issues, as well as many other aspects regarding the accident.
Ross also is an experienced Operational Safety Review (audits) contractor with clients ranging in size and numbers of aircraft from the State of Louisiana to the San Diego, California Sheriff's ASTREA Flight Detachment. The over four (4) decades of aviation experience has provided Mr. Ross and his firm with the breadth and depth of experience in nearly all aspects of aviation transportation, aviation safety and aircraft accident investigation.
Ross has also successfully completed UCS's certificated Aviation Safety Course and has qualified and testified numerous times as an expert witness.
Captain James V. Weatherill. In high school, Jim chopped firewood and washed airplanes to pay for flight instructions. He had a flying license before a driver’s license.
While in the military Jim flew the Boeing tandem rotor CH-47 helicopter in service in the Republic of Vietnam. He flew in the Central Highlands and the coastal region of Vietnam and along the Cambodia-Laos frontier moving firebases, troops, medivacs and supplies from November 1967 to November 1968. Stateside he taught helicopter instrument flight and helicopter transition in the Bell UH-1D and H model Huey helicopter and the Boeing CH-47A and B Chinook tandem rotor helicopter.
After the military, Jim was a project manager and heavy lift pilot for logging operations on timber sales from California to Alaska, flying the Boeing Vertol 107 tandem rotor helicopter. The Boeing Vertol 107 is the civilian version of the U.S. Marine Corps Boeing CH-46 helicopter.
Managing crews of up to 150 people, he supervised operations in remote locations, which mandated building and maintaining self-sufficient camps, including self supplied water, sewer and electricity. He helped prove the viability of night logging, which reduced down time and maintained production schedules when forests were closed during daylight hours due to high fire danger
He placed concrete in dam construction, flying 8,600-pound loads up to men safety roped to structural forms. He worked on power line structure erection, placing double telephone pole structures through residential areas and hilly, steeply sloped terrain. He placed concrete and lift poles for ski lift erection. He flew on numerous forest fire operations dropping water and retardant from 800-gallon buckets onto live fire lines. Flying the Boeing Vertol 107 tandem rotor helicopter, he has flown more than 50,000 precision heavy lift external operations with long line length from 50 to 300 feet.
After helicopter flying, Jim flew as first officer and captain in regional flight operations on the turboprop Beechcraft B-99, Beechcraft 1900 and the Sweringen Metroliner 3 airliner throughout the Pacific Northwest. Jim served as the Air Line Pilots Association union contract negotiator for the regional airline.
At a major airline, Jim flew as a first officer on the McDonald Douglas DC-9-30 and the McDonald Douglas MD-80 series turbojet airliners.
He flew as captain on the Boeing 737-300, 500, 700, 800, and 900 airliners. When not flying in the USA and Canada, his flight choices were south of the American border, i.e. Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean, with qualifications for numerous special airports.
He has been involved in short haul shuttle operations, transcontinental and international flying.
Flight summary in hours: Airplane 19,500; Helicopter 6,300; Multi Engine 25,500; Electronic Flight Instrument Systems 6,000; Turboprop 5,000; Turboshaft 6,000; Turbojet 14,500; Combat 1,341.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Science, Geography, from the University of California, Riverside, California. He is married, has two daughters and enjoys playing his guitars.
Captain Paul Dow’s professional aviation career encompasses over 30 years experience including military and civil aviation. He attained both his B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. He is rated in the T-38, B-52 G/H and the B-1B and was awarded the Air Medal. Captain Dow was selected as part of the initial cadre for the first operational B-1B squadron and was subsequently selected for instructor faculty duties within the B-1B schoolhouse. He continued to complete his Air Force career as Chief, Wing Standardization and Evaluation for all B-1B/C-130 personnel in five operational squadrons where he was responsible for over five hundred fifty pilots’ qualifications while maintaining mission ready instructor pilot/examiner status on the B-1B. Captain Dow is currently employed by a major airline and has flown as Captain in both A-320/B-737 aircraft, First Officer in A-320/B-757/767/737 aircraft, flight engineer in the B-727, as well as various single and multi-engine general aviation aircraft.
Captain John V. Sabel is an attorney and Airline Transport Pilot with over thirty-three years of flying experience and more than 14,000 flight hours logged. He is currently a Captain on the Airbus A-319/A-320/A-321 with a major air carrier. John has extensive experience in the airline flight training environment as a Check Airman and FAA Aircrew Program Designee. His airline flying experience includes domestic and international operations throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. He is an active member of the pilot union’s Safety Committee, Accident Investigation Committee and Violations Committee.
John earned his Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science, an Associate in Science in Aeronautical Studies and an Associate in Science in Aviation Management.
He is an adjunct professor in the Aviation Sciences Department at Community College Beaver County. John’s article, Airline-Airport Facilities Agreements – An Overview, was published in the SMU Journal of Air Law and Commerce. He has also been a guest speaker before the Pennsylvania Bar Association Aeronautical and Space Law Committee.
John serves as an expert witness and consultant and represents pilots before the FAA and NTSB in certificate enforcement actions. He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Douglas “Doug” McHugh has over 25 years of aviation experience and has accumulated over 6,000 hours of flight time as a KC-135 “tanker” pilot for the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. Originally from New England, he graduated from the Boston College School of Management, with concentrations in Computer Science and Finance. He later earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. He holds certificates as an Airline Transport Pilot and as a Certified Flight Instructor.
Upon graduation from BC, Doug worked as a software engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation. He joined the Air Force in 1983, and served on active duty as a KC-135 pilot for seven years prior to joining the Reserve. As a Reservist, he held many full and part time positions, including Chief of Safety, Chief Flight Examiner, Squadron Commander, and Group Commander. He has commanded two deployed flying squadrons, and flew 85 combat support missions in Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.
Most of Doug’s flying career was centered on training and evaluating. He conducted in-flight and ground initial qualification training in the KC-135, as well as currency and proficiency training. Safety was also a focus, as he has received extensive specialized training in mishap prevention and in mishap investigations.
Doug’s most recent position with the Air Force Reserve was as a Mission Support Group Commander. In this role, he directed the activities for all of the support functions on the base, including security, IT, personnel, dining, lodging, civil engineering, aerial port, logistics planning, transportation, supply, and contracting. He served a 120-day tour at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, where he directed these functions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Captain Blair Mitchel has 28 years and 16,900 hours of accident and incident free aviation experience, including over 20 years as a major airline pilot. During her 20 years with the major’s she has been a line pilot, training center instructor/ evaluator, line check airman, management pilot, and has union experience with the Airline Pilots Association Professional Standards committee.
Captain Mitchel is a domestic and international qualified, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 captain and check airman current in the following areas, U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, South America, Europe, including Eastern Europe (Russia). She has been a Captain for the past 13 years and has flown as such on the Boeing 737-200, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, and Airbus 320/319. Captain Mitchel has flown as a First Officer on the Boeing 737-300, Boeing 757, and Boeing 767 and has a Flight Engineer turbojet rating acquired on the Boeing 727.
She has written numerous Fleet specific training center and safety articles for her company including articles on; “Predictive and reactive windshear during the approach/landing phase”, “VNAV descents”, “Two- way radio communications failure,” “Altitude Deviations”, and “Landing performance data briefing”.
Blair lives in the South Bend, Indiana area with her spouse and children which includes twin boy/girl. She is an avid Notre Dame Football fan. Blair also enjoys boating, biking, running, tennis, and reading.
Captain Jeffrey Legge has twenty years of flying experience including US Commercial Airliners, Charter Operations and Corporate Airline Management, running both part 91/135 operations.
Jeff graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology. In addition to having a varied background in multiple types of aircraft including single and multi engine, turbo prop and jet, Jeff also held CFI/CFII /MEI and ground school instructor ratings and instructed in a Part 141 flight school. He then moved on to serve as Captain for their Part 135 Charter Operation.
After joining the commercial airline industry, Jeff served as a Captain on the Embraer 120 and 145 at Continental Express, transferring to Continental Airlines and eventually United Airlines as First Officer on the B737 300/500/700/800.
Jeff returned to corporate aviation as a Captain on the Falcon 900EX for Tag Aviation and Executive Jet Management, where he flew for many high profile clients including Foreign Leaders and Royalty. His corporate flying has taken him all over the world from Asia to Europe.
Currently a Captain on a Falcon 900 running a part 91/135 operation for a private Corporation, Jeff is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the Flight Department. He lives in Northern California with his wife of 15 years and their three sons.
Jeff Kralik is a current and qualified pilot on the E175 flying both domestic and international operations. Jeff has amassed over 11 years of airline experience in a variety of aircraft and leadership roles. Jeff flew as a first officer in the Beachcraft 1900 (B and C model), British Aerospace Jetstream 4100 (BAE 4100) as a first officer for the first 4 years of his flying career. He then upgraded to captain in the Jetsream 41 (BAE 4100) in 2000, and then also added type ratings and flight time in the Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-65) and Embrear 170/190. During December of 2004 Jeff was selected to become the Chicago (ORD) Domicile Chief Pilot for Atlantic Coast Airlines, a United Express Carrier. Jeff was responsible for maintaining operational integrity and safety at one of the United States busiest airports. Many programs that were addressed on a regular basis were US Customs entry and exit procedures, ramp and ramp equipment (safety), pilot staffing and attendance policies, discipline, and maintaining communication with pilots.
As Atlantic Coast Airlines embarked in the effort to rebrand itself as a low coast carrier, Independence Air, Jeff was a part of the flight operations leadership team that consolidated five domiciles into one domicile and communicated a new culture of customer service that was to be the standard at independence air. After closing the Chicago Domicile in August of 2004, Jeff transferred to the Washington DC (IAD) domicile as a Chief Pilot and also became the flight operations leadership team member responsible for working with Airline Pilots Association on grievances, scheduling and staffing issues. During the execution of these duties Jeff participated in disciplinary and contractual grievance hearings, presented at System Board of Adjustments and was a member of a 5 member arbitration board with a National Mediation Board arbitrator for a pilot discharge related case. Jeff also grew his experience in Operational Control (Dispatch and Scheduling) with his participation in schedule and staffing groups as the flight operations manager representative. Jeff added to his knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration regulations and contractual law by learning the systems used in System Operation Control (SOC or OC) like CrewTrac and Dispatch Manager, a Sabre designed platform extremely prevalent in the airline industry. Jeff also learned the many facets (military Leaves, Medical Leaves, Vacation, Sick, Training requirements just to name a few) that effect daily and monthly pilot staffing at an airline operation and worked with a group of managers to better project and anticipate pilot overages and under staffing. Due to the economic conditions at the time Independence Air was forced to slowly contract in size and enter bankruptcy and later liquidated. Jeff was responsible for continuing to maintain a positive and safe environment during the contraction and helped pilots during a very difficult time.
In January of 2005 Independence Air ceased operation as an airline. Jeff saw an opportunity to work with banks and other companies that owned assets at Independence Air and helped facilitated their transfer and or sale. To that end Jeff formed a company, Flight Crew Solutions, to support that effort. The goal of Flight Crew Solutions was to ferry aircraft owned by banks to MX and long term storage facilities inside the US. Jeff and his team recruited a group of highly qualified pilots and organized them into teams that ferried over 30 aircraft in a 2 month period of time. Flight Crew solutions handled transportation and housing for pilots flight planning and performance for ferry flights and provided a one payment “turnkey” solution for banks at a reasonable price and with great customer service. Flight Crew Solutions later acted as a purchasing agent for assets sold at the bankruptcy asset auction for a variety of Airlines. During his activities with Flight Crew Solutions Jeff was introduced to the management team of a new start up airline sponsored by Northwest Airlines called Compass Airlines.
Jeff joined the Compass Airlines Team in August of 2006 as the 36th employee of the newly formed company. Jeff was able to observe and assist in the development and certification of a new part 121 scheduled carrier. Compass was also the first airline that was certified under the Air Transport Oversight System (ATOS) standard from the ground up. The Air Transport Oversight System is a process developed by regulators to ensure better manual coordination and regulatory compliance of those manuals. The process uses tools called SAI’s and EPI’s as well as regular checking of portions of the airlines manual system but ensuring a complete manual review at least every 5 years. Jeff helped coordinate activities and support the certification process during proving runs and start of the operation in April of 2007. While also helping the certification effort at Compass, Jeff was taking a leadership role for the company in the bargaining of a pilot contract with the Airline Pilots Association. In March of 2007 the Company and the Airline Pilots Association came to a tentative agreement on a collective bargaining agreement for Compass Airline pilots; that agreement was later ratified August of 2007.
In late April 2007, Jeff officially took over as the System Chief Pilot of Compass Airlines. Some key areas that Jeff provided leadership in as System Chief Pilot was in building a pilot recruitment process for Compass Airlines, implementing Flightline (FLICA) crew member suite (trip trading, vacation trading, system bid, and reserve preferencing system), was leader in the area of contractual compliance and negotiations of the Collective bargaining agreement, worked on the team that tested and selected the PBS vendor for Compass Airlines, was a member of the group that reviewed airline staffing and developed projections for future requirements and ensured consistent communication to employee’s via email, face to face communications and crew room visits.
Jeff is a graduate of the University of North Dakota, class of 1997, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Aeronautical Studies – Air Transport Emphasis. Jeff is married to his wife of nine years, Angie, and has two children John and Katharine. They enjoy an active life of outdoor activities and travelling the world to visit friends and family.
Captain Enrique (Rick) Valdes started his flying career in 1975. Currently he flies the Boeing 767 and Boeing 757. He has over 21,000 flight hours, his airline experience exceeds 31 years. Captain Valdes is also rated as a captain and has flight experience on the Boeing 727, Boeing 737, Boeing 757/767, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777, and Cessna Citation 500. He has extensive international experience including North and South America, Europe, and the Far East.
Captain Valdes has held several Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPAI) safety offices for over 20 years. He graduated from ALPAI basic and advanced accident investigation courses and ALPAI basic and advanced safety schools. During 1998–2000, he was the Chairman of ALPAI Latin America and Caribbean Air Traffic Advisory Group (LACATAG). He is highly regarded for his expertise in Latin America flight operations and air traffic control issues.
As his airline’s ALPAI Vice-Chairman of the Central Air Safety Committee (2002-2007), he was one of the first responders to any domestic or international incident/accident involving pilots. Rick was in-charge of the ALPAI program responsible for representing pilots during Flight Safety Investigations (FSI). He participated and coordinated in FSIs, assisting pilots involved in accidents and incidents. He made recommendations related to flight procedures, the flight hand book, and the flight operations manual. He has conducted airport and facility inspections throughout Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, on behalf of his airline. Capt. Valdes is the 2006 recipient of the highly prestigious United Airlines ALPAI Master Executive Council - D.B. Robinson award for safety
Since 2000, he has been and member of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) air traffic services committee and IFALPA’s representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) study group, called Proficiency Requirements In Common English Study Group (PRICE SG). This group created the new English language proficiency requirements for pilots/controllers, which ICAO adopted into their annexes, effective March 5, 2008. Rick was awarded the 2006 ALPAI Presidential Citation for his work with ICAO.
He is a former U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector-Operations. He assisted in several investigations dealing with violations of Federal Aviation Regulations. As the assistant Principal Operations Inspector (POI) for an air carrier, he was directly involved with the oversight of their operation, including pilot and flight attendant training.
Capt. Valdes is a graduate of Barry University in Miami, Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies. He is also a graduate of Miami Dade Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts.
Rick is a native Spanish speaker. He is quite familiar with Latin cultures and finds himself at home in the Americas. He has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America. He is a former Miami Dade County Deputy Sherriff (1971-1974). He volunteered and served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) 1966 - 1971. He is a Viet-Nam veteran.
Captain Steven Cox has been flying professionally for over 33 years. Steve began his aviation career as one of the first flight instructors at an upstart FAR 141 program at Henderson State University in Arkansas. He graduated from Henderson with a bachelor of science degree in Aviation and held all flight/ground instructor ratings the university offered. Steve is a retired US Navy fighter pilot with five operational combat cruises aboard aircraft carriers, two instructor tours in the Advanced Jet Training Command, graduate of the US Navy’s Top Gun course and Aviation Safety Officer Course at the Post Graduate School in Monterey, California.
During his career as a Naval Officer/Aviator he held department level positions of Administrations Officer and Operations Officer. He has experience in accident investigation in both flight and ground mishaps. Steve has been the Officer in Charge of a reserve F/A-18 squadron and the Commanding Officer of a reserve Advanced Jet Training detachment. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Commander (O-5).
Steve is currently a line Captain qualified, current, and typed rated in all B-737 aircraft. He has 15 years pilot experience at United Continental Holdings (United Airlines) and is active as a Pilot-to-Pilot volunteer for the Continental Airlines Master Executive Counsel of the Air Line Pilots Association.
Paul Hernandez is a former Air Traffic Controller and has over 27 years experience. Paul started his career with the Navy in 1982, where he was sent to Air Traffic Control (ATC) School at NAS Memphis in Millington, TN. His first assignment after graduating was Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC) Jacksonville where he controlled military traffic in the Operating Areas (OPAREA) and Warning Areas from Charleston, SC to Daytona Beach, FL. Paul also controlled traffic at NAS Meridian, MS as a GCA controller. Paul moved on with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in March 1989. He started in the FAA as an Air Traffic Assistant and a year later became an Air traffic Controller. He held the controller’s position in different air traffic facilities for 12 years before accepting a supervisory position which he held for 3 ½ years.
In 2004, Paul was accepted as the Quality Assurance Specialist for the Eastern Service Area Unit. As a Service Area Quality Assurance Specialist, he acquired an extensive knowledge of the agency’s Quality Assurance program. He provided assistance to FAA Air Traffic Control Towers and Federal Contract Towers. On a daily basis Air Traffic Managers (ATM) counted on him to provide expert advice on operating procedures in their respective facilities. With the knowledge of procedures and policies, others in the agency have asked for his assistance in completing numerous tasks, and at times, put it into practice.
Paul then continued his career by joining the System Operations Litigation Office 2 years later, and became a Litigation Investigator for the Air Traffic Organization (ATO), where he was the liaison between the Government attorneys and the various ATO Service Units, service areas, service centers, offices, facilities, and personnel.
Paul has been involved with the automated air traffic accident package generator for 2 ½ years. He was also involved in improving the generator to an automated and enterprise-based solution, utilizing lessons learned in building the current application that will help allow for national deployment and supportability, reduce areas of manual processes, improve package turnaround time, and reduce the rate of errors in package generation.
He was also involved with other duties which include the Digital Audio Legal Recorder (DALR), Digital Voice Recorder System (DVRS), radar replays on all radar equipment used in the National Airspace System (NAS) and he maintained the highest standard of credibility and posses the working knowledge of every aspect of the ATO, including all appropriate guidelines, regulations, and procedures. Paul also commonly provided lectures on air traffic evidence preparation and Quality Assurance across the country to regional headquarters staff, air traffic controllers, support managers, operation managers and facility managers.
Paul also provided lectures to the Lawyer Pilot Bar Association, which he is a member as well. Paul is working as an air traffic control consultant and is currently working on air traffic cases.
Michael Price has over 25 years of dedicated investigative leadership for the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Aviation Unit that has been supplemented with Certificates of Distinction from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), University of Southern California (USC) Safety/Security Program, and American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) (Certified Protection Professional). This is in addition to his 7500 safe flight hours in both fixwing aircraft and helicopter operation in a demanding Law Enforcement Aviation arena. During his tenure as the Resident Agent in Charge of DEA Aviation for the State of Florida, and the Caribbean he successfully guided his team through 50,000 hours of safe and logistically sound missions.
Mike’s unique background sets the stage for his extensive knowledge, and professionalism implementing Aviation Security/Safety Management Systems (SMS), and aviation related investigations. Mike, has also successfully promoted a business development strategy utilizing “Strategic Interview Techniques” with DHS, DoD, State and Local Law Enforcement units. He has used this business strategy to research manned and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs, Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) programs. His mission statement is simple: Provide his clients with the best possible guidance to implement the best possible Security/Safety Management System or Product Development program for their aviation assets, facilities, or innovative security initiatives.
Mike is always willing to help design, manage and implement the most efficient ways to protect your personnel, your physical assets, and your reputation. As part of his Management Systems program, Mike will custom design Management and Leadership presentations for middle management personnel. He looks forward to the opportunity to assist your business achieve and exceed its goals with trusted integrity
Additional Expert Aviation Consultants
Aviation Product/Service Business development
Aviation Law Enforcement program development
Aviation Law Enforcement product development, and product research utilizing Strategic investigative interviewing
Strategic investigative Interviewing, for prosecutors and defense attorneys concerning aviation related investigations and crimes
Aviation research investigations
Corporate/commercial Aviation Security program development
Aviation employee security briefings and research
Technical Project Integration and Management
David Walker has over 30 years experience in the sales, contract negotiations and implementation of large scale, high-tech IT projects throughout the US and the world. The companies involved range from semiconductor manufacturers to major international airlines.
David was one of the first software sales executives to understand the importance of buy-in by both management and front line employees when it comes to a corporation’s decision to implement complex management systems.
Over the years, David has been involved in numerous projects that include all phases of crew management. These systems control manpower-planning, crew pairing creation, preferential crew bidding, and aircraft and crew recovery from irregular operations. His understanding of the effects these systems have on a business and its employees has the potential to help an organization protect and retain its hard-fought for position within the industry all while providing for quality of life for their employees.
Currently, David is a principal and co-founder of Gray Hawk Strategies, an Austin, Texas based firm. Gray Hawk specializes in governmental affairs, business development and corporate negotiations.
Previously, David served as Vice President of Sales Operations – The Americas, for Carmen Systems (recently acquired by Jeppessen) based in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Prior to working for Carmen Systems, David was involved in the start-up and funding of CALEB Technologies, an Austin, Texas based software firm specializing in crew and aircraft recovery from irregular operations. While with CALEB, David served in the capacity of World Wide VP of Sales.
Dave is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and currently resides in Austin with his wife Susan of 31 years and their four children. They are both very active in high school sports and various charitable organizations.
Captain Robert “Bob” Nester has accumulated over 45 years of aviation experience and over 25,000 hours flight experience. He is a graduate of Parks Aeronautical College of St. Louis University with a bachelor of science in Aeronautical Administration. He served for 37 years as a pilot and commander in the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserve with 189 combat missions in Vietnam. He retired as a Major General. He flew commercially as an airline pilot for 24 years and subsequently spent 12 years as an Aviation Safety Inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration as both an Aircrew Program Manager and a Principle Operations Inspector.
Bob has an ATP and is type rated on the B-757, B-767, DC-8, DC-10, FK-100 and L-1011 aircraft. He has extensive crewmember time as a both a pilot and flight engineer on the B-727 and A-300 aircraft. His military flight experience includes the T-37, T-38, T-33, F-4, A-37, A-10, F-16, F-15, KC-10, KC-135, C-130, and C-5 aircraft. He has been a flight lead, instructor pilot, check airman, flight examiner, director of training, director of operations, squadron commander, and vice commander of a wing and numbered Air Force.
His duties with the FAA included approving and monitoring air carrier training programs, check airman and aircrew program designated pilots. His experience includes air carrier certification, certification of new aircraft on existing air carrier certificates and air carrier certification for polar operations as well as long range navigation. He has experience investigating aircraft accidents and incidents in both air carrier and general aviation.
Bob has served as National President of the Reserve Officers Association of the U.S. and as the U.S. Vice President for the Confederation of International Officers Reserve. He is married and has three grown children, and five grandchildren. His oldest son is a forecaster with the National Weather Service, his daughter is a teacher, and his youngest son is an airline pilot and a pilot in the Air Force Reserve.
Captain Ted Steffens has over 30 years flying experience and 5 years as a general aviation mechanic and shop foreman. Ted also has 2 years experience as a mechanic for a major airline. He is currently an Airbus captain with a major airline. Ted attended Southern Illinois University - Carbondale majoring in Aviation Technologies. He has experience working on and flying most general aviation single and multi-engine aircraft. He also flies and flight instructs in T-28 aircraft. He posseses an FAA A&P mechanics license as well as all flight ratings with an ATP and type ratings for the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 series aircraft. He has crew experience in the Boeing 727, DC-10 ,737, and Airbus 320.Ted also has experience in major airlines maintenance practices and procedures. He has worked on the Boeing 737,727, 747, the DC-8 and DC-10. Ted is also a former safety committee member for his local council of the Air Line Pilots Association.
He has also restored and flown an award winning Cessna 195 in his spare time. Ted has been married for 26 years and has two children.
Hal Stephens Multi-talented, world travelled, aircraft maintenance professional with extensive background within the corporate aircraft field, including over fifteen years as an international corporate flight engineer. Qualities include excellent management skills and strong consulting and customer service experience. Proven track record in troubleshooting, evaluating and calculating risks along with the ability to negotiate through effective communication skills.
Acquired an industry reputation as being flexible, organized and extremely responsible when assigned any given tasks. Determined to invest time and effort to obtain the desired results for any assignment.
Over the last twelve years I have been extensively involved with the Challenger 300, the 605 and the Global Express line. Some of the aspects that I covered were green aircraft inspection, paint inspection, interior inspection, log book review, acceptance and final delivery.
FAA General Aviation Safety Inspector - Helicopter / Maintenance Expert
Doug Tate started his aviation career in 1967. He joined the U.S. Army enlisting as a UH 1 mechanic. Upon completion of the UH 1 course and graduating in the top ten of his class, he was selected for CH 47 Chinook training.
After completing training at Ft. Eustis, Virginia, he was sent to Viet Nam and completed 18 months of flying on and maintaining CH 47 A and B models. Following an honorable discharge from the Army in August of 1969, he started college but decided to go to Northrop Institute of Technology to get an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate. Graduating in March of 1972, he went to work for Briles Wing and Rotor, where he gained experience on Bell 206's. In 1973, he went to work for the U.S. Army Reserves working on both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. He went back to the private sector in 1978 and went to work for Rocky Mountain Helicopters and six months later Continental Helicopters. After spending four years working in the inter mountain region on a number of different makes and models, he headed east and worked for six months in Tennessee. It was during this time that he first gained experience on the AS355's. In 1982, he moved to Wisconsin to work for Omni Flight Helicopters. During the next ten years, he gained valuable experience on a wide variety of helicopter makes and models. During this same period, he had many assignments as Quality Assurance, Shift Foreman, Crew Lead, and FAA Liaison.
Michael Grady From 1988 to 1993 Michael Grady was employed by Aviation Underwriting Specialists as a Claims Examiner and Senior Claims Examiner. From 1993 to 1997 he was employed by Comav Managers, Inc. as Senior Claims Representative and Senior Claims Supervisor. From 1997 to 2007 he was employed by AIG Aviation, Inc. as a Claims Specialist, Claims Manager and Assistant Vice President.
Michael holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument rating and a Mechanic Certificate with Airframe and Powerplant ratings. He received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Maintenance Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology. He holds a number of investigation and claims related licenses and designations. Michael owns, operates and maintains a Cessna 182 single engine aircraft.
Michael has conducted field investigations of accidents involving aviation and related exposures throughout the United States. In addition to his investigative responsibilities he also examined hull and liability claims involving airlines, airports, corporate aircraft, fixed base operators, manufactured products, agricultural aviation and general aviation aircraft. He prepared demands for arbitration and subrogation, managed and directed claims litigation and directed independent investigators and consultants. Michael hired, trained and supervised claims department personnel. He served as an Arbitrator and Director for the Aviation Defense Managers Council.
Michael provides accident investigation, accident reconstruction, background investigation, asset investigation, fraud investigation, witness location, safety surveys, damage analysis, bodily injury evaluation, expert testimony, claims adjusting and consulting.
Leonard Swope graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in 1967 with both an Airframe and Power plant certificate and went to work for Trans World Airlines in New York where he worked on the Boeing 707, 727 and 747 aircraft. Leonard took a short leave of absence for his tour in the military after being drafted in 1969. In the military Leonard was a Turbine Engine Specialist and an Instructor. After the military, Leonard returned to TWA in New York and stayed with TWA until December 1972.
On January 3, 1973 Leonard began work as an aircraft mechanic for the Federal Aviation Administration at Hangar 6 in Washington DC where he worked on the FAA’s fleet of both general aviation and executive type aircraft.
In September of 1981, due to a reduction in force at the FAA, Leonard transferred to the Engine Shop at Davidson Army Airfield in Virginia where he worked on both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Due to having his Airframe and Power plant certificates, Leonard also worked Airframe, The sheet metal shop, The prop and Rotor shop and the Paint shop.
In August 1984, Leonard accepted a position as an Air-carrier Aviation Maintenance Safety Inspector at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Indianapolis, IN. Leonard worked his way up through the ranks from inspector to Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) for Britt Airlines with their fleet of Swarengen SA226, Beechcraft 99 and Fairchild FH227 aircraft. Leonard was instrumental in the merger and transition of Britt Airlines into American Express Airlines which still exists today. Leonard then became the Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) for American Trans Air Airlines and helped them grow from a vacation airline to the 10 largest passenger carrying airlines in the United States. Their fleet grew from 1 Boeing 707 to 24 Boeing 727-200 aircraft, 30 Boeing 757 aircraft, 14 Lockheed L-1011 aircraft and 30 some Boeing 737 series aircraft. After 20 years as a PMI, Leonard became the Supervisor of the Airworthiness Section at the Indianapolis FSDO and maintained that position until he retired in November 2010.
Leonard’s duties as a PMI included approving and monitoring the approved aircraft maintenance and inspection programs for each fleet of aircraft including the Minimum Equipment List and Configuration Deviation list and time limitation list. Provided accident, Incident and occurrence investigations. Assured compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations. Worked with the air-carrier and the FAA aircraft certification office to put new production aircraft on the certificate. Worked with the air-carrier and FAA engineering for approval of minor and major changes to the aircraft including changes to the seating configurations and adding new equipment. Worked with the air-carrier to approve and monitor their Reliability Program, and the aging aircraft maintenance and inspection program, Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM) .
FAA Management/Air Traffic Control
David Canoles has over 40 years experience in air traffic control. He began his career with FAA in 1971 as a controller, and qualified in three FAA terminal facilities. He then progressed out of the controller ranks and became a training instructor, first line supervisor and went on to manage two FAA facilities. In 1987 he was promoted into the Senior Executive ranks and held a succession of line and policy making positions. From 1987 to 1990 he headed the Eastern Region Air Traffic Division and was responsible for over 3500 employees and approximately 90 air traffic facilities.
Dave managed the air traffic procedures Division before moving on to lead the Evaluations and Investigations Directorate. He retired in 2006 as the safety regulator for all air traffic facilities in the US after forming that organization. He is experienced in the development and evaluation of both domestic and international ATC procedures.
Since his retirement, Dave has served as consultant and expert witness in a number of ATC related cases.
Captain Fred Medlock is President of an Aviation Consulting Firm that specializes in Aircraft Appraisals, Buyers Agent Services, Maintenance Audits, Flight Instruction, Pre-Purchase Inspections and Safety Consulting. He has consulted on complex aircraft and overseas transactions, refereed maintenance and insurance disputes. He has worked for Federal Judges, Lawyers, High Net Worth Individuals, Insurance Companies, Financial Institutions and Corporations. His reports have been admitted before the courts, loan committees and the Internal Revenue Service in establishing Fair Market values for Aircraft, Rotorcraft and associated Aerospace Machinery.
Captain Medlock is a Senior Certified Aircraft Appraiser with the National Aircraft Appraisers Association with USPAP endorsement. He also maintains membership with the American Society of Appraisers (Aviation Specific). He is an actively engaged A&P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization. His experience includes FAA part 135, FAA part 141, FAA part 91 and FAA part 121. He is a Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) with the National Business Aviation Association and a FAA Safety Team Representative. He currently maintains memberships in the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association, Kentucky Aviation Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and is the designated Airport Support Network Volunteer for the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Airport.
He is also a three time recipient of the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award and a Kentucky Colonel. He resides with his wife and son in Florence Kentucky just outside of the Cincinnati area.
Donald Marquez is a Professor Emeritus from Vincennes University. During his 31 year tenure at the University he served as a member of the Aviation Flight teaching faculty, as Department Chairman of Aviation Technology, and retired as an Interim Dean.
Don remains an active pilot and holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and Flight Instructor Certificate and is also a Federal Aviation Administration Designated Pilot Examiner. As a DPE he has administered more than 3000 FAA Practical Tests for Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multiengine, Flight Instructor and Instrument Flight Instructor Certificates/Ratings. He also served the FAA for many years as an Accident Prevention Counselor prior to that program being discontinued.
Don is married and has two grown children, one an airline pilot and the other a college professor. His favorite retirement activity, other than his grandchildren, is travel, both domestic and foreign.
Captain Nancy Novaes is a recently retired Airline Captain with over thirty years of flight experience, including twenty-two years at CAL. She is a graduate of the State University of New York (S.U.N.Y.) with a degree in Aviation Technology. Her flying experience includes the Boeing 777, B757, B767, and all models of the B737. She is experienced in airline and aircraft operations both international and domestic.
Nancy has considerable experience in Human Factors in Aviation. As the National ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) Chairwoman of Pilot Assistance, she worked on organizational and pilot support issues at national and local levels. In this capacity, she has worked with Managements, the FAA and the flying public to ensure the highest standards of safety consonant with pilot comfort and career expectations. This work includes assisting pilots and their families with problems of chemical dependency, addictive behaviors and other related issues.
She was also co-author and training developer for Professional Standards in 1997 when her company reorganized. This class taught basic listening skills and conflict-resolution techniques. She has also written about her work in various publications.
Nancy has done extensive work for the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. As a Board member of ISWAP, she co-wrote ISWAP Bylaws and incorporated the group as an educational and charitable organization in the State of Nevada. She has represented ISWAP at IFALPA conferences (International Federation of ALPA).
Aircraft Dispatch Expert
A 1984 graduate of Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Administration, Phil Brooks has more than 25 years of aviation industry experience.
Currently employed by a major U.S. passenger airline, he started his Dispatch career in 1989 in the air cargo industry. Phil is active with the Professional Airline Flight Control Association and The Airline Dispatchers Federation. He has been a Private Pilot since 1982.
Having extensive air travel experience, Phil has contributed articles and photographs to various aviation publications. An aviation enthusiast since childhood, he continues to expand his knowledge of all aspects of aviation. Over the decades, he has developed a wide range of Industry contacts.
Phil and his wife Pam have two grown daughters, and reside in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Sarah Marie Deal was born to Richard and Marjorie Deal, in Bowling Green, Ohio on 14 September 1969. She is the 4th child of five; brother and sisters include: Rachelle, David, Darlene and Denese. She lived in Ohio until joining the Marine Corps in 1992. Sarah graduated from Eastwood High School in 1987 and then went on to Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Majoring in Aerospace Flight Technology she earned her Private and Commercial Pilot licenses along with her Instrument, Multi-engine and Certified Flight Instructor ratings before graduating in May 1992.
Sarah went through the process of joining the Marine Corps while still in college. On 16 March 1991 she was sworn in. She attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) between semesters in the summer of 1991.
Following graduation from Kent State, Sarah was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. She reported to The Basic School (TBS), in Quantico, VA in August 1992 and graduated in February 1993. Her first assignment was as a student at Air Traffic Control (ATC) School, NAS Memphis, Millington, TN. While attending ATC School, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin announced that women would be permitted to fly combat roles. Due to the fact that the Marine Corps had no women pilots they had to select women to enter the pipeline. Sarah was delighted with the chance to be in the Marine Corps and to fly also. She wasted no time in submitting an application package to the fleet accession board and was selected on 23 July 1993.
After completing ATC School July 1993 Sarah was transferred to NAS Pensacola for Flight School. Her Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API) course began in October 1993 and she joined VT-3, at NAS Whiting Field, in January 1994 to start military flight training. During Primary Flight School, she selected helicopters and received orders to HT-18, NAS Whiting Field, Milton, FL. On 21 April 1995, then 1st Lt Sarah Deal was winged as a Naval Aviator and became the First Female Marine Corps Aviator.
In HT-18 1st LT Deal chose CH-53’s as her preferred aircraft and was awarded a billet in California. She reported to HMT-302 in June of 1995 to learn how to fly the CH-53E, Super Sea Stallion. Her first Fleet Squadron was HMH-466, the “Wolfpack”, based at MCAS Tustin, Santa Ana, CA where she reported for duty in October 1995. She deployed twice with the “Wolfpack” through the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) to Okinawa, Japan.
Upon returning from her second deployment CAPT Deal transferred to MAG-16 HQ (which had now been relocated to MCAS Miramar, San Diego, CA) to be the Group Adjutant. She was at the Group from January 1999 until the end of June 1999 when she went back to a squadron which was short on pilots. She spent four months with HMH-361, the Flying Tigers, prior to her scheduled rotation to Fleet Aviation Specialized Operations Training Group Pacific, (FASOTRAGRUPAC), NAS North Island, CA in November 1999.
At FASOTRAGRUPAC, she was the Senior Marine and an Instructor at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School. Sarah rotated back to HMH-465 in April 2002 and was deployed to the Middle East for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Upon returning from the war on July 25th 2003, then Major Deal was assigned as the Executive Officer (2nd in command) of Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3 at Miramar, CA. After 12 years on active duty, Major Deal elected to transfer to the Marine Corps Reserves at the end June 2004. As a reservist she coordinated all the static display aircraft for Miramar Air Show for three years. The Miramar Air Show is the largest military air show in the world.
Recently she was asked to join HMH-769, a Reserve Marine CH-53E unit based at Edwards AFB in California. She is again flying the Super Sea Stallion, renewing her qualifications and adding new ones.
Sarah is married to Philip Burrow, former Navy F-14 pilot and still an Active Reservist. Phil is currently a Captain on the Airbus 320 for United Airlines and is assigned to a Naval Reserve Unit in support of Commander Third Fleet in San Diego. They are the proud parents of three boys; twins, Troy and Brandon Burrow, born 18 September 2001 and Eric Burrow born 2 November 2006.
Captain Steven C. Ellis is an expert specializing in all aspects of icing Issues (Ground icing and Inflight icing). Steve has 39 years of professional flight experience with approximately 23,000 flight hours.
Currently an Airbus Captain for a major U.S. airline, Steve's experience covers extensive time in propeller driven aircraft, and large transport jets. He is also a U.S. Army trained helicopter pilot with about 1450 helicopter hours.
Steve has about 10 years of experience working with his Airline, and the world wide aviation icing community, on inflight icing and ground icing safety issues. He has written much of the icing material in his airline's Flight Operations Manual. As a member of the Air Line Pilots Association Ground de-icing project, Steve has worked extensively with regulatory and industry representatives on many international icing projects. These representatives include all of the major industrialized international countries, and all of the major aircraft manufacturers of these countries.
Douglas Clark attended the College of Aeronautics at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, for The FAA’s Airframe & Powerplant licenses, Avionics training and the Bachelor of Technology in Aircraft Maintenance. After Graduation in ’89, he obtained employment with an FAR 121 Carrier at a Maintenance Base located in the SFO bay area. Doug performed airframe maintenance and structural repairs to the aircraft fleet, which included Sheetmetal, composites, fiberglass and corrosion control.
In ’93 he switched to the Fuel Tank Team, and performed maintenance, leak detection, repair, bladder cell replacements, Negative Air Checks and troubleshooting for the aircraft fleet that was comprised of Boeing 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, DC10, A320 & A319’s.
Having previously passed all four parts of the air carrier’s “Line Maintenance Inspection Exam” on the first attempt (October ’92), he took a transfer (June ’96) to work at the carrier’s Indianapolis Maintenance Center, and became an Aircraft Inspector shortly thereafter. Doug performed Preliminary and Post Maintenance Inspections for ‘C’ Check and HMV level aircraft visits, and support shop inspections. The primary focus of maintenance was for the Boeing 727,737,757,767, A320 & A319 fleets.
In April ’03, he transfered back to the SFO Maintenance Facility, as Jet Engine Shop Mechanic performing maintenance on the: CFM-56, P&W 2000, Air Force F-117, and the derivatives of the P&W 4000 engines. Doug passed the air carrier’s “Engine Shop Inspectors Exam” on the first attempt. He became an Inspector in August ’03, and performed Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Inspections on Airframe and Powerplant parts, Engine Piece Part Inspections, Final Engine Assembly, and Post Test Cell Inspections, for the FAR 121 Air Carrier, and Customer engines under their FAR 145 Certification.
In June ’07, Doug took a transfer to work as a Line Maintenance Mechanic, and he is currently Tow Qualified to transport the aircraft between the Maintenance Base and the Airport Terminal.
Along with these duties, he has been an active member of the mechanic’s union, as a shop steward, shop representative, Flight Safety Committee Chairman, and as the MSAP – Maintenance Safety Awareness Program’s Alternate Representative. Doug investigates and works to resolve Safety and Maintenance related issues between the FAA, the Air Carrier, and the union representing mechanics. He has also participated in the construction of an RV-7 General Aviation Experimental Aircraft.
Scott Hartwig Scott Hartwig is a retired Air Traffic Controller with more than 40 years of aviation experience. As the son of a Fixed Base Operator, he had the opportunity to experience aviation from the ground up, beginning with servicing airplanes and progressing through flying as a Flight Instructor, FAR Part 135 charter pilot, FAR Part 91 Corporate pilot and eventually retiring from Chicago Approach Control after a 27 year career with the Federal Aviation Administration.
During that career in the FAA, Scott performed ATC duties in 3 control towers and as an approach controller for the world’s busiest , O’hare airport, as well as Area/Operations Supervisor and Acting Manager positions, and is the recipient of numerous Outstanding Performance awards.
Scott currently ferries and instructs in WWII warbirds, and teaches part-time at a local aviation maintenance school. He, and his wife of 29 years, enjoy maintaining and flying their vintage 1952 Cessna 195, motorcycling and traveling.