Meet-The-Aerowood-Aviation-Staff

Meet the Aerowood Staff

Brandon Atkinson
Owner, CEO

Brandon Atkinson is the CEO of Aerowood Aviation. He is an aviation enthusiast/pilot who loves every minute of the freedom he possesses when flying. It all started at the age of 8 when he went to a local fly-in. This was the first time he had ever come in contact with an aircraft–needless to say he was hooked! Since then, he dreamed about flying, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he would actually get to fly in a single engine plane for the first time. As he became a pilot the following year he also became an aircraft owner. After owning a few aircraft an opportunity presented itself to become the owner of a flight school. He accepted the opportunity, and it was the best decision that he has ever made. He gets to enjoy flying and running a business side by side. This is the best of both worlds for Brandon. Aerowood is a growing company that treats our customers as family, and we look forward to you being a part of ours.

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Megan Slater
Customer Service Representative - Monroe

Megan was raised in Florida and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree from USF. After working in healthcare for a little bit, she realized she wanted something more. When she was growing up, her father, a retired commercial airline pilot, would take her and her siblings to airshows, where she fell in love with the aviation atmosphere. After watching her brother earn his Private Pilot certificate and her sister become a CFI, she decided to follow in their aviation footsteps. She earned her Private Pilot certificate and is excited to share her passion for flying and give the best experience possible at Aerowood!

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Adam McClinton
General Manager
Flight Instructor, CSIP

Adam’s love for aviation began at a young age when he worked in his family business in Louisville KY flying hot air balloons. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, he decided to make a career out of his passion for flying by transitioning to airplanes. He moved back home to Louisville and earned his certificates and ratings from Private Pilot through CFII and MEI. In 2017 he relocated to the Charlotte area to work full time with us at Aerowood. Adam serves as General Manager for operations at Aerowood. He is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP) and heads up Aerowood’s Cirrus Training Center. He also is in charge of Aircraft Management for aircraft that Aerowood manages for our customers.

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Jong Lee
Flight Instructor

Jong relocated to Charlotte in 2016 following careers in law enforcement, as a military intelligence officer, and as an engineering defense contractor (supporting Naval Aviation).  As a volunteer pilot (CFI, Check Pilot Examiner) in Civil Air Patrol (CAP), he has logged over 900 hours in the G1000 Glass Cockpit platform.

For the first time in July 2019, the USAF started a program of using CAP CFIs to evaluate commissioned officers for their potential continuation into Undergraduate Pilot Training.  Jong was part of this initial CFI cadre of 24 CFIs tasked with flight and classroom instruction for the USAF.  He has also used his flying skills for law enforcement activities and to support disaster relief operations. 

At this time, he does not take on primary students.  But he’d be happy to help you create a plan of action for your aviation goals post primary, e.g., fine-tune private pilot level skills, instrument training, commercial training, instructor ratings.  Additionally, he’s available for flight reviews, instrument proficiency checks, mock check rides, night currency, and mountain flying techniques.

As for mountain flying, he can provide specialized training in actual mountainous terrain near Asheville.  While you may not contemplate flying into some of those short, high elevation airfields, actually doing so can increase your confidence while overflying mountainous terrain.

Incidentally he’s also a helicopter CFI and CFI-I.  So, while we may not have helicopters for the time being, he’d be happy to address your helicopter questions as well.

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Bill Grannis
Flight Instructor

Bill started pursuing aviation in the spring of 1973 at Charleston AFB Aero Club between nuclear fleet ballistic missile submarine strategic patrols. While serving as a qualified nuclear submarine officer specializing in strategic nuclear missiles [Polaris and Poseidon], he attained all the ground instructor certificates and his instrument rating while stationed in Charleston; CFI and multi-engine certificates in Honolulu, HI; and his CFII and Multi-Engine Instructor in Long Beach, CA. During the position as Chief Instructor of a Part 141 flight school providing ground and flight instruction for private, commercial, and instrument ratings, he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor certificate. Bill studied Physics and Mathematics at the University of North Carolina, graduated in 1968, subsequently obtained a Navy Officer Commission, and retired after 20 years of naval service.  He earned a Masters Degree in Quality Assurance Management from Southern Polytechnic State University [now called Kennesaw State University]. He served 22 years in the Civil Air Patrol as a Squadron and Group Check Pilot, Flight Instructor, Cadet Orientation Pilot, and Emergency Services Search and Rescue Pilot retiring with the rank of Major. Bill has more than 4,000 hours flight time and more that 3,800 instructional hours.  He joined Aerowood Aviation when we first established the flight school at Monroe Airport, and became part of the team of instructors establishing a quality flight training school.

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Justin Beard
Flight Instructor, Tailwheel

Justin fell in love with aviation as a kid watching movies about flying. By elementary school he was already building and flying remote control airplanes. While earning his degree in Mechanical Engineering at UNCC he met a classmate who had gotten his Private Pilot certificate as a teenager, motivating Justin to pursue his flight training. He earned his Private Pilot certificate at a flight school in his home town of Albemarle. Soon he was making cross country flights that would normally have taken him 10-11 hours driving, as well as flying his pastor to meetings and conferences. With an eye toward making his flying safer and more professional he earned his Instrument rating followed by his Commercial certificate. He completed his CFI training in May 2019, earned his CFII in January 2020,  and his Multi-Engine Instructor in May 2022. Justin is also qualified to give instruction for CFI candidates, those wishing to become Flight Instructors.  Interested in long range flying? Justin’s logbook includes cross-country flights all the way to Texas and back to NC! Come share Justin’s enthusiasm for teaching flying here at Aerowood Aviation.

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Chris Powers
Flight Instructor, TCI

Chris discovered his interest in aviation in elementary school after a ride in his uncle’s Cessna 172.  That interest developed into a love fueled by books, movies, and any flight simulator he could get his hands on. He earned his Private Pilot certificate a few years after graduation from Appalachian State University. After a 26 year career in Information Technology, Chris could no longer ignore the call to share his passion for aviation with others. In 2019, he earned his Instrument Rating and has gone on to add Commercial Single and Multi-engine certificates. Now as a CFI, CFII, and Cirrus Training Center Instructor Chris can’t wait to help you achieve your aviation dreams.

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Jonathan Twining
Flight Instructor, Content Creator

Jonathan has loved everything about aviation since he was 4 years old. He spent several years in the Civil Air Patrol in Tampa Florida; his first ever GA flight was in a retired USAF Academy sailplane with CAP. After a degree in music and a career in technical production, his love for flying only intensified. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating at Aerowood several years ago before transitioning to flying Cirrus aircraft. After four years of flying, Jonathan felt compelled to make aviation a full-time career, and came back to Aerowood to add his Commercial , CFI, and CFII certificates. Now he provides personalized instruction for those just starting in aviation to earn their Private, and all the way through for Instrument and Commercial training. In addition to flight training, he creates content and media for Aerowood and its affiliate companies.

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Ashton Lozzi
Flight Instructor

Ashton grew up in Charlotte, NC and always loved flying and going to the airport.  She graduated from UNCW with a double major in Criminology and French but was unsure of her career path.  In the meantime, she became a Flight Attendant for American Airlines and shortly knew she wanted to be the one at the flight controls!  Once she took a Discovery flight, she was hooked.  Ashton was accepted into the American Airlines Cadet Academy and began training in Dallas, Texas, where she completed all her certificates and ratings from Private to CFI/CFII.  She is so excited to help others achieve their flying goals and watch them learn and grow as a pilot!

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Harrison McGee
Flight Instructor

Harrison took his first flight at eight years old in his great uncle’s Cessna 205. He has always been very passionate about aviation. While working in construction for the past 17 years, he has had opportunities to fly several different airplanes out of his family-owned airport. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2011 at Fly Carolina, and his Instrument Rating in 2019 at Victory Lane Aviation. In 2020, he came to Aerowood where he added his Commercial, CFI, and CFII certificates. Harrison has now joined our team as a full time instructor and is passionate about helping you to reach your aviation goals!

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Caden Wilburn
Flight Instructor

Caden began his journey flying down in San Antonio, Texas. Once he saw the world from a new perspective on his Introductory Flight, he was hooked. While still in high school, he became a Private Pilot. He elected to further his training and attend Liberty University. After moving to Virginia to pursue a Bachelor’s in Aeronautics, he acquired his Instrument Rating along with Commercial, CFI, and CFII certificates. Caden offers initial and advanced training that will take you all the way through your to your Flight Instructor Certificate. Caden feels that the Lord has led him down to Charlotte so that he may continue his career. He thoroughly enjoys seeing students grease their landing for the first time and excel to the best of their ability. He looks forward to seeing his students succeed here at Aerowood Aviation.

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Garrett Broach
Flight Instructor

Garrett grew up in Seneca, SC and fell in love with aviation while flying model airplanes with his dad and brother. It was a passion that continued to grow once he got in the air and behind the controls while working on his Private Pilot training. He graduated from The Citadel in 2015 and moved to Knoxville, TN where he completed his Private Pilot training. After deciding to pursue aviation as a career, he moved to the mountains of Asheville, NC where he completed the remainder of his certificates and ratings. His journey has now led him to Charlotte and Aerowood Aviation, and he is excited to continue to share his knowledge and passion with fellow aviators.

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Taylor Neblett
Flight Instructor

Taylor grew up in Asheville, North Carolina where his interest in flying first began. His aviation journey started with a discovery flight at the local flight school. After that flight, he knew immediately that he had the flying bug. Taylor would go on to complete his Private, Instrument, and Commercial training in Asheville. Throughout his training he worked at his local flight school both as a Dispatcher and as a Ground Instructor and worked on weekends as a ramp agent for Piedmont Airlines. Taylor moved to Charlotte after finishing his Commercial training and earned his CFI certificate here at Aerowood. Throughout his journey his passion for aviation has only grown. He now looks forward to helping others discover all that the skies have to offer!

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Reid Lilly
Flight Instructor

Reid grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC and was introduced to aviation at 12 years old when he took his first flight at a local flight club. From then on his eyes would always be pointed towards the sky. When he was furloughed from his job as a restaurant manager in 2020, Reid decided he had had enough of the service industry and was ready for a career change. He started working on his Private Pilot certificate in Myrtle Beach before moving to Augusta, GA and finally finishing up here at Aerowood in 2021. He earned his Instrument rating, Commercial Single, and Commercial Multi Certificates at ATP in Concord, NC before returning to Aerowood to earn his CFI. Now as an instructor at Aerowood he is ready to share his passion for flight and to help you accomplish all your aviation goals.

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William Deck
Flight Instructor

William was born and raised in Australia, spending most of his life in Brisbane. He found his love for aviation in his early teen years and took his first GA flight at 14 years old. William moved to the U.S. and attended Purdue University, where he obtained his Commercial Certificate with Instrument and Multi ratings. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation, William relocated to Charlotte and completed his CFI training at Aerowood. He  joined the Aerowood team as a flight instructor and is eager to help you pursue your aviation goals!

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Ron Horton
Flight Instructor, Seaplane, TCI, DPE

Ron soloed to earn his student pilot certificate on his 16th birthday in 1966 – his Dad drove him to the airport (he got his driver’s license the next day). He has logged more than 4,600 flying hours; over 2,500 in the Cessna 172, the airplane Aerowood uses as a primary and instrument trainer. As an instructor, he enjoys helping advanced students realize the dreams that await them in the air, taking students to the deep satisfaction of proficient Instrument flying, and (especially) working with CFI candidates — those who would like to become a Flight Instructor. Ron is a Cirrus Training Center Instructor (TCI). In October 2016 he was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot award for 50 years of safe flying; in October 2018 he was named a Distinguished Flight Instructor by the AOPA based upon feedback from his students. As an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), Ron is able to administer Practical Tests for single engine Private Pilot and Commercial certificates, Instrument-Airplane ratings, and add-on CFI certificates (CFI – Instrument, CFI Reinstatement, CFI Airplane add on from an existing CFI certificate for another Category)  right here at Aerowood.

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Aerowood Aviation