Meet Our Instructors

We may be a little biased but we feel like our instructors are the best in the business. After you've worked with our collection of instructors you will certainly agree. While incorporating a safety-first mindset we never forget to have some fun in the air and make the overall experience enjoyable and appealing, which we believe will help anybody seeking instruction retain the knowledge at a more advanced rate. Our top of the line core of instructors are happy to work with any class of pilot, ranging anywhere from new to experienced. A.C.E.S. Flight School offers training toward Sport, Private, and Commercial certifications as well as advanced ratings for High Performance, Complex, IFR, and Multi-Engine.

"A.C.E.S. has taken me from a completely unexperienced student pilot and made me incredible more comfortable behind the yoke. I couldn't have asked for a better group of instructors."- Mitch, 19

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Jeffrey Smith

Our instructor group is led by our Lead Flight Instructor Jeffrey Smith.

Jeffrey owned a flight school in Florida because he enjoys sharing the joy of aviation with others in the community through flight instruction. Flying since he was 19, he became an aviation enthusiast and flight instructor. Jeffrey works with anyone, ranging from student pilots to advanced instrument and multi-engine training. Of his 2,700 total flight hours, nearly 2,000 have been as a flight instructor. He also holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, a Ground Instructor Certificate with advanced ratings, and a certification as an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. Jeffrey lives in the Waxhaw, NC area with his wife and two daughters.

Dave White

Dave is a first generation pilot from southern California. With parents working for Boeing Dave was exposed to aerospace and aviation at a young age. Flying is something he has always been fascinated with because of his love of heights and passion for traveling. As a child he would climb the biggest tree or highest mountain to get a view from the summit. Later in his life he discovered his love for traveling, he has Lived in Aruba, Spain, and the Netherlands where his wife is from. There was never a doubt he would pursue a career in Aviation. He is now a CFI and applying his background in education to help new pilots reach their goals while having fun simultaneously. His dream is to go to space one day. He has a very flexible schedule and is fully focused on his students' success.

Arley Johnson

Arley has been immersed in aviation for as long as he can remember. His Dad is a Captain at American Airlines and his Mother is a former ticket agent, so it's no surprise he has always had a passion to pursue a career in aviation. Arley received his Pilot License in 2018, the summer after his sophomore year at the University of South Carolina. His family has a joint ownership of a Cessna 172 at Concord Regional Airport, where Arley built most of his time. Since graduating college in May 2020, he has obtained his Commercial Pilot License and his Instructors Certificate. Arley is looking to teach full time and is available on weekdays and weekends.

Aaron Harper

Aaron has been around aviation since he was a kid. He took his first flight in a Sundowner aircraft and loved it. He then started his flight instruction and was able to solo at 21 years old. He has grown and gained a lot of experience since then and now has become a commercial pilot and flight instructor.

Brian Cope

Brian has been flying since 1994 after earning his certificate up in PA.  Most of his flying time, however, has been in the Southeast.  He and his wife have enjoyed the flying life in FL and SC with many trips in their Piper Archer.  Brian retired from the Army in 2019 and is a registered Mechanical Engineer in SC.  Besides flying, Brian enjoys his time outdoors with family and with the Scouts and Cub Scouts.  Brian lives just up the road from UZA (Rock Hill Airport) with his wife Anne and their two children

Brian Flaherty

Growing up behind the local airport in Lumberton, NJ, Brian had the unique opportunity to be around aircraft.  His first flight was in a Cessna 172, when his neighbor took him up.  It was then he realized how much he wanted to fly. His opportunity to learn how to fly came when his job required a pilot to be on staff to operate drones.  It was then that the aviation bug hit him.  He is now a CFII and enjoys flying all types of planes.  He especially enjoys new students and helping them achieve their aviation goals.

Guenter Trautmann

Serving in the Air Force for 13 years as a Jet Engine Mechanic and later as a Jet Engine Test Engineer, Guenter was given the opportunity to teach new fighter pilots the technology of their Jet Engines. He earned his Private Pilot's License in March 2012, Instrument Rating in January 2013, and Commercial Certificates for both Single and Multi-Engine Aircraft early in 2016. Guenter became a Certified Flight Instructor shortly after and believes that the greatest reward in aviation is to teach others the beauty of flight.