Meet The Team

Instructors

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James Churchward

Chief Flight Instructor

B-Category

James is a B-Category instructor who initially started his flight training with Bay Flight International in Tauranga. James arrived at the Tauranga Aero Club as a C-Category instructor, completing his B-Cat with the club and later becoming the Chief Flying Instructor.

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Mandy de Beer

IFR Flight Instructor

B-Category & Multi-IFR

​Mandy obtained her PPL at the age of 17 in Auckland. She completed her CPL, C-Cat Instructors and Multi-IFR Ratings at Southern Wings Invercargill. Before joining the team at Tauranga Aero Club, she was the Deputy CFI for the advanced IFR training at L3 Airline Academy. When she's not surfing in the clouds she's either surfing at the beach or on a hiking track.

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Isaac O'Kell

Flight Instructor

C-Category

Isaac started flying at the Tauranga Aero Club at age 12 year as a Young Eagle. He has since completed his PPL, CPL, and C-Cat here at the club. During the summer months you can catch Isaac spearfishing or walking up the Mount.

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Josh Smith

Flight Instructor

C-Category

Josh did all his training through the club. He recently completed his C-Cat and is now instructing here with us.

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Ramon Hägler

Flight Instructor

C-Category

Ramon started his training with us here at the Tauranga Aero Club. He then went on to join the Ardmore Flying School. After gaining his CPL & MEIR he came back to complete his C-Cat with the Aero Club and later join our team.

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Harry Bickerton

Flight Instructor

C-Category

Harry started his training with us here at the Tauranga Aero Club back in 2017. He then completed his C-Cat with the aero club in 2019 and joined our team.

Committee

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Dale Radford

Club Captain

Dale is our Club Captain. Behind the scenes Dale works hard to plan out the club competitions and get our team ready for regional and national comps. He owns a Cessna 180 which he flies with his PPL.

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Janelle Mark

Young Eagles Coordinator

Janelle works along side Sky to organise our exciting Young Eagles meetings. Her son is also a member of Young Eagles and has a strong passion for aviation.

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Bruce Johnston

Health & Safety Officer

Bruce has spent many years in aviation, flying in the Air Force and airlines. He's even flown the queen of the skies, the Boeing 747. He looks after our safety here at the club. Be sure to catch him at the bar on Friday night for a drink and a great story.

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James Churchward

Chief Flight Instructor

James is a B-Category instructor who initially started his flight training with Bay Flight International in Tauranga. James arrived at the Tauranga Aero Club as a C-Category instructor, completing his B-Cat with the club and later becoming the Chief Flying Instructor.

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Sky Davies

Young Eagles Coordinator

Sky started out as a Young Eagle and has gained her PPL and CPL here at the club. Recently she also completed her C-Cat with us. She now works closely with Janelle to organise the Young Eagles meetings and share her knowledge to the new generation of Young Eagles.

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Mitchell Kiernan

Deputy Club Captain

Mitchell started flying with the club gaining his PPL and is now working towards a CPL. You'll catch him behind the bar on a Friday night and also working alongside Dale as Deputy Club Captain.

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Sky Davies

Flight Instructor

C-Category

Sky started out at the club as a Young Eagle. During her time at the club, Sky gained her PPL, CPL and she then completed her C-Cat to join us as an instructor. She also works closely with Janelle to organise the Young Eagles meetings and share her knowledge with the new generation of Young Eagles.

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Tom Shaw

Flight Instructor

C-Category

Tom started at the club as a Young Eagle and continued on to complete his PPL. He then moved to Nelson to obtain a Diploma in Aviation before returning to the club to complete a C-cat. Outside of flying, Tom likes to take photos at the top of the Mount for his Instagram.

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Martin Lobb

Club Treasurer

I am a late starter to aviation, having achieved my Microlight pilot’s licence in 2011. I own a RV7 aircraft and I have been a member of the Tauranga Aero Club since 2013. I hold a PPL.

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Trish Stephens

Club Secretary

I joined the club in 1994. I started learning at Waihi Beach in 1995 and got my licence in April 1997 at age 50. We purchased the Cardinal in 1993, my RV6A in 2003 and sold our cub purchased in 1998 in 2005. I fly all of these planes and particularly enjoy aerobatics and formation flying. I have represented NZ three times in Australia flying 3 ship formation in Warriors. I regularly compete in the National Aerobatic championships. I joined the TAC committee in 1997.

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Mark Williams

Club President

I joined the aero club in 2009 gaining my PPL in 2010 flying the 152’s & 172’s and I enjoy gliding. I have been the chairman of body corps and school board of trustees. I have been a business owner since the age of nineteen, employing up to fifty staff. I consulted to Fonterra Brands Ltd for seven years.