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Captain Mike E. Pearce
AFA Board President, 777 International Captain
The Aspen Flight Academy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a premier flight training school in the United States, giving students the opportunity to become certified pilots.”
— Captain Michael E. Pearce

Our Mission

The Academy empowers youth and adults to learn about the joys and responsibilities of flying by providing students with classroom and flight training needed to pilot aircraft.

Who We Are

Founded in 2014, we are a group of aviation enthusiasts, professional and recreational pilots, community members, parents, and students united around the passion of flying.

What We Do

  1. We prepare students to obtain their Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, and Commercial Rating at the lowest possible costs to enable them to fly as private, recreational, or commercial pilots.
  2. With the help of the Aspen School District and the Aspen Education Foundation, we offer an elective course in the public Aspen High School that prepares students to fly (while also earning high school credits).
  3. We offer flight training as well to anyone interested in aviation, providing them the most cost-effective way to obtain their private pilot’s license and more.

“We are thrilled Joseph is participating in this program. I think both of our children are more confident from having participated in the AFA.”
— Tom and Megan Clark / Clark’s Market, Aspen

Why we are unique

Our People

Certified aviation flight instructors train our students and a dedicated Aspen High School teacher teaches a one-year elective class at the public Aspen High School.

Our Locale

Aspen, Colorado | The Aspen airport is at a higher elevation than most airports in the world, and it is surrounded by some of the most mountainous terrain on the planet. Unlike most high mountain airports however, Aspen is very busy with both airline and high-performance general aviation traffic. Mountain flying experience helps our students become better and safer pilots.

View over the beautiful Aspen High School campus from the cockpit
View near Taylor Pass looking towards Crested Butte

Our Planes

We own two Diamond DA40 aircraft that we use when teaching our students to fly.
One of our state-of-the-art Diamond DA40 aircraft

Our Classroom

As an elective course, Private Pilot Ground School in the public Aspen High School is dedicated to aviation training and flight training. Safety is first and paramount in all our training endeavors. Among other resources, we also have leading edge equipment:
  1. Redbird full motion flight simulator
  2. Eight Jaybird desktop flight simulators
  3. Multiple large screens and video resources
  4. Radio controlled aircraft equipment and remote control club devices

As a fourth-generation pilot, our son Robert began his formal flight training in 2018. Having logged many hours in the right seat, as co-pilot, Robert learned to track radials while honing his stick and rudder skills. Nothing replaces the feeling of a student’s first take-off and landing in the left seat. It teaches a student to harness the joy, fears, and uncertainty while keeping an eye ahead of the horizon and to plan for what is coming at them quickly.”
— Rob Holton / Parent / Managing Partner / Holton Capital Group / Commercial Pilot Type Rating Held: 525S

The Impact of Your Support

  1. Answering a critical national demand for qualified airline pilots, we are engaging students to help them become tomorrow’s aviation professionals and better citizens of the world.
  2. Given the nature of an increasingly “connected” world from one runway to the next and the number of jobs that the aviation industry provides, we are also helping our nation to prosper today and in the future.
  3. Helping students to soar the skies and striving to operate in the safest manner possible, we are changing the lives of youth and adults, instilling self-confidence, responsibility, and respect – one pilot at a time!
  4. We are giving our high school students who are in this flight academy that “extra edge” for applying to and getting accepted by universities, colleges, and aviation programs around the nation.

Evan, age 16, after first solo flight
This flight academy will help me get into a university or flight training program. AFA put me at the top of the stack without a doubt. The fact that I soloed in Aspen is an enormous benefit. Passing my written exam at fifteen is another big plus, and I will have over 100 flight hours before I ever enter a program is just great!”
— Evan / Age 16

Flying always reminds me to think of the big picture. When I fly, my problems seem so small and this gives me better perspective. AFA supported me throughout high school and provided me with many opportunities to grow and learn. During my training, there were times when I was underestimated or looked over due to my age or my gender. But I learned to stand up for myself and I am incredibly thankful for that. The AFA taught me how to fly planes, but more importantly it gave me the confidence that I can learn anything and become whatever/whoever I want to become.”
— Juliette / Aspen High School Class of 2017 / Stanford Class of 2021
Gary Kraft, flight instructor, Juliette and Jay Cronk, FAA Designated Pilot Examiner

Board of Directors

Michael Pearce, Chairman
Jeff Posey, President
Andrew Doremus, Vice President
Tony Sherman, Secretary/Treasurer

Jim Bruno
Andrew Doremus
Rob Holton
Jon Kelly
Jeff Posey
Robert Scherer