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Meet The Instructors

Colton Harmon


Colton is our Chief Flight Instructor and started training with Blue Ridge Aviation. He completed all of his ratings within 14 months before joining our team as a CFI. Prior to his flight training he was a medic for 6 years with the 116th infantry, Virginia National Guard. In addition to flying, he enjoys skiing and golfing. 

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Jake Shifflett


As a very young child Jake was always intrigued by the magic of flight. At the age of 10 years old he went to a fly-in at the Winchester Regional Airport and took his first plane ride. That flight helped him realize he wanted to become a pilot. Jake started his flight training at 15 years old, soloed at 16 and earned his private pilot's license at 18 years old. At 30 years old he continued his flight training with Blue Ridge Aviation, and within 16 months earned his instrument rating, commercial pilot's license, and flight instructor certificate. He served 9 years in the VA Air National Guard and also served as a police officer for 5 years. He love teaching new pilots and watching them succeed and claims that being a flight instructor is very rewarding.


Kendyll Curry

Kendyll grew up in Nassau Bahamas. A passion for flying was created at the age of four while watching planes come in and out of the islands . He started flight training at Averett University, where he graduated with a Bachelors in Aeronautics: Flight Operations and Aviation Business, and obtained all of his flight ratings. In his spare time he loves listening to music and traveling. He fell in love teaching new and experienced pilots, and has been enjoying his flight journey to the airlines. 
Melissa Smiley

 CFI, CFII, Gold Seal

Melissa grew up in Stuarts Draft, VA, and has also lived in Germany and California. After being a stay at home mom for 7 years she decided to make her dream of flight a reality.
It took her 16 months to go from Private, Instrument, Commercial, and then CFI at Blue Ridge Aviation.
She’s excited to be part of the school where she learned and is ready to share her love of flying with new and seasoned pilots. When not flying, she enjoys spending time with the two best kids in the world.
Sonet Gandhi
Sonet did his entire flight training at Blue Ridge Aviation (Private, Instrument, Commercial and CFI).

He received his Bachelors at Bridgewater College in Business Administration and  played for their Men's Tennis team (4 Years)

Sonet loves traveling and trying new foods  and enjoys playing tennis during summer and snowboarding during the winter.

Vincent Coverdell
Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Vincent's deep-rooted passion for aviation sprouted in his early years. Currently a senior, he is diligently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Technology through the University of Alaska's online program. Vincent's aviation journey took off in the vast Alaskan skies when he earned his private pilot license. Since then, he has expanded his horizons by attaining his instrument, commercial, and CFI certifications at Blue Ridge Aviation. Alongside his love for flying, Vincent finds solace and excitement in engaging in outdoor activities, including skiing and snowmachining.
Zack  Reese
Zack is from Harrisonburg, VA and started his flight training in 2016. After returning to his passion in 2022, he earned all his ratings in just shy of 2 years at Blue Ridge Aviation. When he is not flying, he enjoys competing in disc golf tournaments and attending sporting events.
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Garrett Venn
Garrett, a Shenandoah Valley native, embarked on his journey to becoming a flight instructor after earning his degree from West Virginia University in 2021. Over the next two years, he dedicated himself to achieving all his aviation ratings. Beyond the clouds, Garrett finds joy in golfing, running, and cherishing moments with friends and family during his downtime.
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