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Meet our team

Sporty’s was founded by a pilot over 50 years ago, and from the beginning our company has been for pilots and by pilots. Our broad experience and passion for aviation makes us uniquely qualified to offer only the finest, most unique aviation products. Before we sell a new product, every one is rigorously tested by our team of pilots in the real world of general aviation airplanes. If our panel doesn’t think a product is useful, easy-to-use and reliable, we simply won’t sell it.

Chuck GallagherChuck Gallagher

Ratings: Private Pilot, Multi-engine, Instrument Rating, FAA Repairman Certificate

Title: President–Cincinnati Avionics; President–Eastern Cincinnati Aviation; Airport Manager

Chuck holds the record at Sporty’s for fastest flight training program—he earned his Recreational Certificate in just two weeks. He later added a Private Certificate and an Instrument Rating. Today, he enjoys recreational flying more than anything, “whether it’s a morning flight for breakfast at a nearby airport or a trip with the family.” Chuck is the airport manager for I69 and is also the President of Cincinnati Avionics, Sporty’s on-site avionics shop. His expertise in aviation electronics and new technology is invaluable in developing and testing new products, like the SP-400 Hand-held NAV/COM.

Bret KoebbeBret Koebbe

Ratings: Airline Transport Pilot, Cessna Citation Type Rating, Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor, Master Flight Instructor

Title: Vice President, Video–Sporty’s Academy

As Sporty’s top video producer, Bret is usually flying an interesting airplane, and often with a camera rolling. “I enjoy a mix of both professional and recreational flying at Sporty’s. When instructing, I specialize in Technically Advanced Aircraft, and help pilots make the most WAAS GPS Approaches. And for fun I love taking Sporty’s 1963 Aztec out.” Bret is also known as “Mr. iPad” at Sporty’s, and is the lead tester for the latest apps and accessories for mobile devices.

Paul JurgensPaul Jurgens

Ratings: Airline Transport Pilot, Seaplane Rating, Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor, Multi-engine Flight Instructor, Glider Instructor, Instrument Ground Instructor, Advanced Ground Instructor, Master Flight Instructor, Master Ground Instructor, Aircraft Dispatcher

Title: Vice President, Publications–Sporty’s Academy

Paul is a true aviation educator, and one of only a handful of flight instructors in the world to have earned both the Master Flight Instructor and Master Ground Instructor certifications. “I really enjoy teaching, especially in the Aztec and the Xtreme motorglider. Teaching powerless flight to an airplane pilot is a lot of fun.” Paul also teaches several classes at the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot program, including weather theory. When he’s not teaching, you’ll find Paul flying an Aztec or a Cessna 182 for personal transportation.

Charlie MastersCharlie Masters

Ratings: Commercial Pilot, Multi-engine, Instrument Rating, Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor. “My license says English Proficient, but my Senior English teacher, Lynda McKee, might take exception to that.”

Title: Vice President, Sales–Eastern Cincinnati Aviation

Charlie learned to fly in college, and has been an avid pilot ever since. As the Cessna Sales Team Authorized Representative for most of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, Charlie has visited every public-use airport in the sales territory, “including the expansive 12,000 ft runways of Columbus Rickenbacker (KLCK) and the 24 ft. wide, dogleg right, one way in/same way out, Mallory Airport (WV12) in Charleston.” Charlie is a co-owner of a Piper Cherokee, but his most memorable flight was in a rented Skyhawk over the active Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii.

Eric RadtkeEric Radtke

Ratings: Airline Transport Pilot, Cessna Citation Type Rating, Boeing 727 SIC Qualification, Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor, Advanced Ground Instructor, Master Flight Instructor

Title: President–Sporty’s Academy

It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. “While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice.” He learned to fly at Sporty’s as part of the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Program, an initiative he now directs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.

Doug RanlyDoug Ranly

Ratings: Private Pilot, Instrument Rating

Title: Catalog Manager–Sporty’s Pilot Shop

Doug flies because it’s fun – pure and simple. One of his favorite rituals is to get up at the crack of dawn and and go flying to find a greasy spoon at one of the many airport cafes around Sporty’s. “There’s nothing better than eating biscuits and gravy at a restaurant 70 miles away before starting your day,” says Doug. His airplane of choice is a G1000-equipped Cessna 172S. He is also Sporty’s most active product tester, and as an Eagle Scout and a US Army veteran, his standards are high. “I believe a product should work the first time right out of the box, and preferably without instructions.”

Hal SheversHal Shevers

Ratings: Airline Transport Pilot, Cessna Citation Type Rating, Instrument Flight Instructor, Member of the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame

Title: Founder/Chairman–Sporty’s Pilot Shop

Hal founded Sporty’s over 50 years ago as a young flight instructor, and he’s been flying and teaching aviation ever since. In the mid-1960s, he pioneered the three day ground school, and spent many years traveling the country teaching pilots to earn their instrument rating. Along the way, he logged over thousands of hours in Sporty’s famous red Piper Aztec. Today, with over 12,000 hours in the logbook, Hal still enjoys flying over 200 hours per year. “Some of my most enjoyable hours have been spent in airplanes, and it is this passion that drives the whole Sporty’s team.”

Michael WolfMichael Wolf

Ratings: Commercial Pilot, Multi-engine, Instrument Rating, Cessna Citation Type Rating, Glider Rating

Title: President–Sporty’s Pilot Shop

Michael has worked at Sporty’s for over 40 years, so he knows both Sporty’s and the aviation industry quite well. A pilot for over 20 years, aviation is Michael’s first love: “I just can’t imagine life without airplanes.” While he flies a Citation regularly, most of his time is spent in the left seat of Sporty’s Aztec. “It’s a joy to fly an airplane that’s almost 50 years old, but one that’s been meticulously maintained. It’s like stepping back in time, but I still get excellent utility out of it, for both family trips and business.”

John ZimmermanJohn Zimmerman

Ratings: Commercial Pilot, Multi-engine, Instrument Rating, Helicopter Rating, Glider Rating, Seaplane Rating

Title: Vice President, Catalog Division–Sporty’s Pilot Shop

John was a Sporty’s customer before he was an employee, learning to fly at a neighboring airport in Cincinnati and regularly attending Sporty’s famous hot dog cookouts. Today, he enjoys flying just about anything with wings—fixed or rotary. He regularly uses airplanes for cross-country transportation, for both business and pleasure. “I love the challenge of IFR flying in the system. It’s both challenging and immensely rewarding to manage the aircraft systems, ATC and the changing weather. Seeing the runway lights as you break out on an approach is a thrill.”

David ZittDavid Zitt

Ratings: Commercial Pilot, Multi-engine, Instrument Rating, Glider Rating, Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor, Multi-engine Flight Instructor, Glider Flight Instructor

Title: Flight School Manager–Sporty’s Academy

David comes from a flying family, and one of his first jobs in aviation was as a professional pilot in a corporate flight department. He still enjoys using airplanes for travel, like taking the family on a trip to a beach destination. “Flying along on a cross country that has a purpose gives my flying an important dimension of practicality that I don’t get when I am just flying around on a nice sunny afternoon. This need drives my review of Sporty’s products trying to make destination flying that much easier.” Today, he is involved in the day-to-day operations of one of the US’s most active flight schools.