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EVERY DAY: 8am - 6:30pm

OVER 30 YEARS EXPERIENCE

United Flight Systems opened on January 21, 1989 and has been teaching people to fly ever since.  Hundreds of airline pilots started flying at United Flight Systems!

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20119-A Stuebner Airline Rd.

Spring, TX  77379

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© 2018 by United Flight Systems

JOE NIPP

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI / CFII

Joe was born and raised in central Kentucky where the majority of his family still live today.  He worked in the restaurant industry during college.  Joe met his wife Rachael while attending the University of Kentucky.  The two moved to Houston in 2008 after Rachael accepted a job working in the oil industry.  After the move, Joe decided it was time to go back to school and find a career path.

Joe came to United Flight Systems in September of 2009 with no experience in aviation.  He convinced Bob he would be a hard worker and became a ramper while working on his ratings.  Joe's hobbies include skeet and trap shooting, LEGO collecting, cooking and reading.

Joe is excited about being an educator and helping people reach their aviation goals.

Gordon Morrow

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI

Gordon Morrow was born and raised in Houston, TX. From a young age Gordon was inspired by the sight of airplanes and movies like top gun but never realistically considered becoming a pilot. After graduating high school, he decided to try the scientific field like his father, and at 18 enrolled at Sam Houston State University to study Physics while minoring in math. He would obtain his B.S. in three years while holding a 3.9 GPA in his major. However, Gordon wished to apply his skills towards something more hands on. Before graduating, he was offered a position at Texas A&M as a Research Assistant under the tutelage of Dr. Eric Petersen. As a masters student he majored in Mechanical Engineering and studied topics such as heat transfer, numerical methods and material science.

 

But all that changed after an introductory flight at United Flight Systems that reignited Gordon’s passion for flying. In June 2017 Gordon began training towards his private pilot license, and most recently finished acquiring his CFI license. One day Gordon wants to fly for an airline and has no plans of looking back. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and sports, as well as spending time with family.

Shelby LaFerney

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI / CFII

Shelby LaFerney was born and raised in Altus, Oklahoma where he was introduced to aviation by his Grandfather.  He obtained Associates degrees in Mathematics, Liberal Arts, & Business Information Systems from Western Oklahoma State College & a BBA in Management Information Systems with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Oklahoma.  Shortly after Shelby obtained his Private Pilot License and, during his first passenger flight, he proposed to his now wife with the Dallas skyline as the background.  After a decade of working for Ernst & Young, American Airlines, and Mary Kay, Shelby decided to quit corporate life and pursue his passion of aviation.  He earned his Instrument, Commercial, CFI-A, AGI, and CFI-I ratings from United Flight Systems.

In his free time, Shelby enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, running, and playing guitar. He plans on pursuing a career with a regional carrier and then a legacy airline.

Corey Clark

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII, MEI

Corey, born and raised in Houston, developed a love for flying after his first flight in 2017 here at United Flight Systems and hasn’t looked back since. He has had the privilege of flying general aviation all over the country while completing all flight training in Houston.

 

Prior to pursuing a career in aviation, he coached high intensity athletes ranging from ages 3 years old and up. His 8+ years of teaching experience combined with a passion for aviation aided his transition into flight instructing with dreams of becoming an airline pilot. 

 

He spends his free time with his family and enjoying outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, traveling and playing/watching sports.

Jim Powell

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII, MEI & ATP

Jim learned to fly while attending Louisiana Tech University. He graduated with an Arts and Science degree majoring in Professional Aviation, with two minors, Airport Administration and Business Management. After Flight Instructing and part 135 flying, Jim spent time flying for a regional airline. He then joined the corporate ranks flying multi-engine land and sea aircraft.

In 1978, Jim began a 40-year career of Part 121 Air Carrier service. During that time, He performed the duties of First Officer, Captain, Flight Instructor,

Check Airman, Aircrew Program Designee, Training Program Developer, and Assistant Fleet Manager. He holds CFII, SEL, SES, MEL, and ATP Certificates. His Type ratings include; DC-9, B-737, B-777, and B-787 aircraft.

Justin Wong

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII

Justin was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Spring. His passion for flight came when he went on his first overseas flight to Asia on Northwest Airlines. At nine years old, he received special attention from the crew and received his first pair of wings. In 2012, he graduated from Spring High School, where he dedicated his time to the JROTC program. Justin got his first taste of general aviation when his uncle, a Continental MD-80, captain bought him a discovery flight at Lonestar Executive.

 

While he was attending college at the University of Houston Downtown, he came to United Flight Systems in 2013 to begin his flight training. He subsequently graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide in Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics. He earned his Private, Instrument, Commercial, and CFI-A at UFS.

One day, Justin dreams of flying for the airlines. On his free time, he likes to plane spot at Intercontinental Airport and Hooks, travel around the world, and fly to another part of the state of Texas. 

Travis Atchley

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII

Travis Atchley was born and raised in the Houston area. His interest in aviation began when he received an invite to ride along during a friend’s Multi Engine Lesson in a Baron. Two days later he took a discovery flight and has never looked back! For the past 12 years Travis has held a job as a Martial Arts Instructor and looks forward to applying his teaching experience to help others see their goals through. He understands that pursuing a goal isn’t always the easiest but is here to help motivate others to chase what they want. In his free time, you can find Travis doing just about anything, from hunting and fishing to Scuba diving, sports, or billiards. There’s nothing he won’t try at least once.

Travis Long

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, MEI

Travis Long started off with a background in Oil & Gas and technical drafting. After a series of convenient events, such as a downturn in work and a short flight at UFS with a family friend, he found his eyes opened to a whole new career. Since then Travis traded his office chair for an aircraft seat, and hasn’t looked back. Now a CFI, he looks forward to helping others awaken a passion for flight while encouraging safe and positive experiences. His long term goals are to fly for an airline and travel the world.

 

Outside of instruction Travis often spends time watching baseball and road tripping with friends.  

Andre Nieuwoudt

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII, MEI

Andre was born in South Africa and moved with his family to The Woodlands, Texas when he was 9 years old.  After high school, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and Jacksonville, North Carolina. He decided to move back to The Woodlands in 2015 and go back to school. Andre began pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering at Lonestar College-Montgomery.  During his time in college, he began researching flight schools.  He had always had a passion for flying since his childhood and truly wanted to make it a reality.  After careful consideration, he made a bold decision and took an absence from college to attend flight school. 

 

While at flight school, he discovered he enjoyed teaching and continued his training to become a CFI.  His goal is to fly for an airline and teach anyone with the desire to fly along the way. 

On his off time, Andre enjoys spending time with his wife and five kids.  He is an active volunteer at the schools his children attend.  He loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, playing and watching sports and traveling. 

Michael Lam

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII, MEI

Michael Lam was born and raised in Houston Texas. From a young age he has always looked up at airplanes and held a fascination with them. At the age of 14 he had his first flight in a small aircraft. Unknown to him at the time, the experience would stick witch him, giving him the “bug of aviation” that so many pilots get. In 2018 he made the choice to stop his pursuit of engineering and start at a flight school. A year later he finished his commercial single and multi engine ratings, as well as his instructor ratings. Throughout his training, he got the chance to fly all over the state of Texas, Louisiana, and along the west coast, mainly within the state of California. While his end goal is to work for the airlines, he enjoys sharing his passion with others, helping them find the joys of flying. From a little plane to a big plane, he likes to maintain the philosophy that aviation is one big family, no matter what stage a pilot is in. In his free time he likes to attend local HPDE and other motor sports events or dabbling in small home projects

Kyle Rorick

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII, MEI

Kyle was born in Portland, OR and raised both there and Houston, TX. He knew he wanted to be a pilot when he found out at a very young age that his uncle flew for both the US Air Force and Delta Airlines. Upon graduating from high school, Kyle started flight training with no experience and earned his private pilot license in October 2012 here at United Flight Systems. As a private pilot, Kyle loved to take family and friends up and share his excitement of flying. Kyle decided to start University in the Spring of 2013 at Texas A&M University. He graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2016 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and started a career as a Field Engineer with a prominent Industrial Engineering and Construction Company. While there, he traveled across the East Coast and was able to visit with his pilot uncle where Kyle got to hear all the great stories of flying from him. This sparked a newfound passion for flying. In November 2018, Kyle continued his flight training where he earned his Instrument, Commercial, and Instructor ratings here in Houston, TX. Outside of flying Kyle enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Landon Lessmann

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII, MEI

Ask any pilot how they began flying and you will mostly likely hear a feelgood story. 

 

Landon Lessmann first discovered aviation while taking a discovery flight with his father who is also a pilot.  Without question, he quickly realized that flying was the best feeling in the world.  

 

It’s often said that “if you choose a career you truly enjoy then you will never have to work a day in your life”.  It’s also said that “a mile of highway will only take you a mile, but a mile of runway will take you anywhere”. 

 

On a mission to “travel the world” and to “never feel like he was working”, Landon’s career path to become a Professional Pilot was decided.  Landon attended Lone Star College–University Park under the iSchool program where he earned his high school diploma, two years of college credits and his Private Pilot’s License by the age of 18 yrs.  He then enrolled in a fulltime professional pilot program where he earned his Instrument, Commercial, Multi-Engine, CFI, CFII, and MEI certificates.

 

Landon passionately believes the following:  It’s a privilege to be a Flight Instructor.  A positive environment with respect, enthusiasm and encouragement makes it more likely that the student will both perform better and learn more. Constant and Never-Ending Improvement is a good pilot’s mantra. 

Jacoby Hale

Certified Flight Instructor

CFI, CFII

Jacoby grew up in Alaska and the Seattle area, where he began his first career in the culinary field working aboard a cruise ship. After gaining a lot of experience, and a wife, he left the boat and went on to become an Executive Chef in several restaurants, eventually advancing to the role of District Manager for a corporate dining company. Driving under the flight path for a busy general aviation airport every day on the way to his office, he eventually decided to make a huge career change and pursue his childhood dream of becoming a pilot. With the support of his very understanding wife Jenny, and two boys Hendrix and Bennett, they moved to the Houston area to begin flight training and a new adventure. 

Jacoby looks forward to bringing his experience of training from his prior role, along with his passion for aviation and skills to flight instruction. He enjoys fly fishing, cooking, running, sports and spending time exploring with his family in his spare time.

DAVID WRIGHT

CHIEF INSTRUCTOR

David has been a Flight Instructor since 1990.  He enjoys helping students attain their dreams of being excellent aviators.  David’s philosophy is to help a student understand and apply flight concepts and applications through practical and reasonably simple methods. 

 

David is the Chief Pilot for an independent Oil & Gas Production Company in Houston, Texas.  His avocation is his vocation since he gets paid to do what he loves.  David’s corporate aviation job has afforded him excellent experience since 1993.  David has progressed through pressurized twins, turboprops, up to his current steed, a Citation 560XLS. 

 

For 6 years, David has concurrently flown his job as a corporate pilot and held a position as the Chief Instructor for United Flight Systems.  His years as the Chief Instructor allowed him to manage many quality instructors and eager students.  He has honed his skills in teaching difficult concepts using easily understood methods and procedures. 

JEFF GILL

ASSISTANT CHIEF INSTRUCTOR

ATP / CFI / CFII / MEI 

Jeff holds an ATP, CFI/II/MEI and first earned his Flight Instructor Certificate in 1995. Since then he has instructed in everything from experimental ultralights to twin-engine turbo props, and helped numerous pilots go from first flight to Airline Pilot. He is fully bilingual (English/Spanish), and even flew for a while in Spain after obtaining his Spanish Private Pilot License.

 

Having competed in multiple aerobatic competitions up and down the west coast, he enjoys using his real-world experience to help his students learn the practical application of what they’re studying.

 

Aside from instructing, Jeff has worked as a Pt. 121 Airline Pilot flying the British Aerospace Jetstream, and Pt. 135 Training Captain and Check Airman in the twin-engine, turbo-prop Cheyenne II.

 

Jeff holds a BS in Aviation Operations and Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and MBA from Texas A&M – Commerce, and currently manages a Law Firm here in the Houston Area. He enjoys spending time with his wife Claudia and three teenage girls when he’s not instructing.

GIO HANDAL

ASSISTANT CHIEF INSTRUCTOR

CFI / CFII

Giovanni (or Gio for short) was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He caught the aviation bug at the age of 7 when a Southwest Airlines captain let him explore the cockpit of a Boeing 737 during a layover. It was there that he decided he wanted a career in Aviation. Using money he saved from working at a local grocery store, he took a discovery flight at the age of 16 at United Flight Systems where he eventually earned his CFI and CFII. Giovanni then moved to College Station, Texas and attended Texas A&M University where he majored in Economics. After spending multiple years instructing in between classes at the Texas A&M flying club, he gained an interest in air traffic control and was eventually hired by the Federal Aviation Administration as an Enroute Air Traffic Controller. After graduating from the FAA academy in Oklahoma City, he was placed at Houston Center giving him the opportunity to come back to United Flight Systems and instruct where he first learned to fly. When Giovanni is not instructing or issuing vectors, he spends his time running, hanging out with his yellow lab Duke, cooking, or binging a new show on Netflix. 

GARY WAYNE

SENIOR OPERATIONS MANAGER

Gary drank the “Aviation Kool-Aid” in the late 1960’s and became “addicted” to flying.  He obtained his CFI-A, CFI-I, CFI-ME in Atlanta and Houston during the 1970’s to pursue a career as a professional pilot.  After several positions with corporate flight departments, he took a hiatus from aviation in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s to pursue a career in information technology.

Gary returned to his aviation career in 2007 and became an instructor with United Flight Systems for several months before taking a position as an air charter pilot with a local Houston firm.  He rejoined UFS in 2014 as operations manager.  In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, hiking and photography.

BOBBY DOSS

OWNER & MANAGING MEMBER

Bobby has always been interested in aviation, but for one reason or another didn't take a lesson until he was in his 40's.  Bobby took his first lesson on May 3, 2015 at United Flight Systems and has been learning ever since!  Growing up in the area he has always seen planes flying overhead.  

While pursuing his commercial license over the past six months he considered buying a plane to lease back to United Flight Systems.  That conversation about a leaseback turned into a full acquisition with his partner and fellow UFS student, Matt Shaunty.

Bobby has thoroughly enjoyed learning the business and working long hours in the evenings and weekends to start making improvements to the school and the fleet.  When Bobby isn't at the flight school he is working his day job as a technology seller for Dell Technologies.  After aviation, his second hobby is golf.  Bobby has been married to his wife Tammie for 23 years and they have two children Emily (18) who is going to University of Texas studying business and Blake (14) who is a student at Klein Cain High School.  

MATT SHAUNTY

OWNER & MANAGING MEMBER

What started as a birthday gift, has become something so much more. Matt’s wife Jen wanted to give him flying lessons for his birthday since he had commented how fun he thought it would be. With the help of Matt’s golfing buddy and UFS student, Bobby Doss, Jen surprised Matt with a bag full of pilot supplies and gift certificate to begin at United Flight Systems. So, in September, 2017 Matt took his first private pilot lesson and was hooked immediately. 

 

Just a few months and a dozen or so lessons later, Matt met Bobby for coffee to talk about possibly partnering on a single trainer aircraft that they could use for their training, while leasing it back to United Flight Systems. That cup of coffee lead to a conversation with UFS owner Bob Watts about his vision for the future of the school and, ultimately in Matt and Bobby’s acquisition of United Flight.

 

Matt’s background is in business administration with Texas A&M’s Institute of Biosciences and Technology, The Texas Council on Economic Education and his own company, Simplified Communications Group. He also worked for AT&T in telecommunications sales.

 

Matt enjoys spending time with Jen and their sons, Jordan (20), Jackson (16) and Gavin (13) and can be found at the lake, on the golf course or tennis court, or in the kitchen with Jen.