David Shields, Chief PilotFAA Designated Pilot Examiner

Hello and welcome to WNC Aviation.

It is my privilege to be the Chief Instructor of our Federal Aviation Administration Certificated Flight School. I grew up here in Asheville and am very happy to be back in the North Carolina Mountains continuing the professional aviation career that began when I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1969.

I hold the following Federal Aviation Certificates:

Designated Pilot Examiner
Airline Transport Pilot – Multiengine Land
Commercial Pilot – Single Engine Land & Sea
Flight Instructor – Airplane Single and Multiengine & Instrument Airplane with Gold Seal
Ground Instructor – Instrument
Mechanic – Airframe & Powerplant

My aviation experience began with Airframe Repair Technical School at Chanute Air Force Base which I completed in May 1970. After a very short time at Peterson Field in the Airframe shop I entered the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in July of 1970 and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree and fresh new 2nd Lieutenant bars. Next was Air Force pilot training which I completed in 1976. After specialized training in the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker (Boeing 707) I was assigned to the 913th Air Refueling Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. I served there until October 1981 as a copilot and was selected to upgrade to Captain. It was during my time at Barksdale that I got my start in flight training. I completed my initial flight instructor and instrument instructor certification there, and taught primary students at the Barksdale Aero Club.

I resigned my commission in the Air Force in 1981 to pursue missionary aviation. In turn, this necessitated the addition of a Mechanic Certificate due to the remote nature of missionary flight operations. I accomplished this at Sowela Technical Institute in Lake Charles, Louisiana. After classes it was off to McFillen Air Park where I continued to provide flight instructing for Private, Commercial and Instrument pilot students. During this time, I also conducted Part 135 Air Charter operations and served as a corporate pilot.

After completing maintenance training I went to work with Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS). From 1987 to 1997, I flew in Africa, principally in Cameroon and Chad. Most of that flying was done in Cessna 206 and Piper Aztec aircraft. In 1997, I returned to the JAARS Center in Waxhaw, North Carolina where I worked in the Aviation Training Department, primarily providing Short Takeoff and Landing and Instrument training in the Cessna 206. I became the manager of JAARS Aviation Training in 1999 and continued in my role as a flight instructor.

I came to WNC Aviation in August of 2005 and became Chief Instructor in November of the same year. I have dedicated a significant portion of my aviation career to training both new and experienced pilots. When I began as a flight instructor, I immediately found it to be very rewarding. Helping others learn a new skill, achieve a personal goal, or accomplish something they never thought possible has bought me great joy. As chief instructor of WNC Aviation, it is my responsibility to both you, the customer, and to the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that the aircraft are maintained properly, the instructors are trained properly, the training syllabus for each course is being followed and the training records are being kept up to date. Stage checks, flown with myself or our assistant chief instructor are a part of this process. All of this is to ensure that you are being trained properly and efficiently.

I came to flight instruction with more flight time and experience than the average instructor. My experience ranges from 12,000’ runways in the KC-135, to 800’ runways in a Robertson Cessna 206 and from supersonic flight in the Northrup T-38 Talon to 35 knots in the Helio Courier H-295. It is a privilege to share a portion of that with you, our clients. It is my desire share and teach first-hand when possible but also indirectly by mentoring each of our professional staff instructors. Everyone wants to make your learning experience here at WNC Aviation fun, efficient and safe.

That is my aviation career in a nutshell along with some of my personal instructional philosophy. I encourage you to visit any time. I am usually in the office during during normal business hours unless I am out flying! And, flight instruction is certainly fun! If you have a specific or unique training goal, please give me a call to arrange a time for a private meeting. From there, our team can design a plan for your success.