Welcome to JAXAERO

Meet Our Instructors

Get to know the highly competent and proficient instructors at JAXAERO. With extensive experience and a passion for aviation, our instructors are committed to providing excellent flight training in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Ben Gabriel

Ben Gabriel

As an Atlanta based airline pilot, Ben Gabriel brings the latest in industry experience and training best practices to JAXAERO. With over 6,000 hours and 20 years of flying piston, turboprop, and jet aircraft, Ben has trained pilots in everything from 2-seat single-engine aircraft to airliners. He led the training department of one of the nation’s largest flight schools, helped develop multiple accredited university aviation programs, served as an adjunct professor, and is a recipient of the distinguished National Air Transportation Association’s Excellence in Pilot Training award. Ben is an avid fisherman and lives in Jacksonville with his wife Kim and their two sons.

John Amico

John Amico

John is a critical part of our safety, standardization, and leadership team. John began flying nearly 2 decades ago and has put his CFI, CFII and MEI to good use with over 5,000 hours of instruction given to date and over 100 first-time solos. He was a Training Center Manager and Flight Standards Manager for the nation’s largest flight school for over a decade and has developed and tested training materials and procedures on a large scale. When John isn’t instructing, he loves to cook for his wife Tina and their 4 children and enjoys spending time with his extended family in Buffalo, NY


Robert Lee

Robert is a CFI, CFII and MEI who is also in the Florida Air National Guard with over 20 years of service as an F-15 maintainer and quality assurance inspector. Robert loves flying and enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion of aviation with others. He is also working towards his long-term goal of earning his ATP certificate. Robert resides in Fleming Island with his wife and three children. When he is not flying or working around aircraft, Robert enjoys spending time with his family and being out on the water.


Tripp Lynn

A 19-year Naval Flight Officer originally from South Carolina, Tripp Lynn joined the JAXAERO team after completing his CFI with us. Now also a CFII, Tripp continues to bring a wealth of experience in all aspects of aviation, including basic flight, logistics, flight planning, international flight operations and air traffic control. As a CRM and Operational Risk Management facilitator, aviation safety is his top priority and he loves sharing his passion for aviation with others. When he’s not flying, Tripp enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and watching college football.


Kasen Woody

Kasen Woody is a CFI and CFII from Buckhannon, West Virginia. After learning to fly in 2018, Kasen took a break to become a maintainer on the C130-J in the West Virginia Air National Guard. Upon completing military training, he moved to Jacksonville to continue his aviation career with JAXAERO. Kasen enjoys flying as a hobby, as well as instructing students.


Dr. Rob Zeglin

Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area (Go Steelers!), Dr. Rob Zeglin “Dr. Z” has spent over 10 years in the mental health field, as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and administrator. He is also a tenured professor at a local university, with more than seven years of teaching experience. He has recently discovered his passion for aviation and earned his CFI and CFII with JAXAERO. He enjoys sharing this passion for flying with others through his individualized scenario-based training and instruction, prioritizing aeronautical decision-making and crew resource management. Rob’s favorite airport is KORL or any with an FBO that waives the ramp fee! In addition to providing expert ground instruction, Dr. Z will lead curriculum developments that will enhance safety – particularly with emergency scenarios – improve training efficiency and more fully leverage the use of high-fidelity simulation.


Emerson Blythe

Emerson is a gold seal CFI, CFII, and MEI who’s been flying since he was young. His dad, a designated pilot examiner located here in Jacksonville, surrounded him with aviation growing up. As a result, Emerson fell in love with all things aviation and has been working as a flight instructor now for 3 years. He has helped a multitude of students achieve their flying goals and dreams, from the hobbyist looking to get their private pilot’s license all the way to the dedicated career pilot. He has a huge passion for aviation and for instructing and is excited to help you achieve your goals!


Idris Algabyali

Idris Algabyali is a CFI, CFII. His aviation journey began after high school when he pursued flight training in Schenectady, New York. In 2021, he earned his private pilot’s certificate and soon relocated to Jacksonville to complete his flight training. Idris received his CFI and CFII with JAXAERO and immediately after was invited to join our elite team of instructors. Idris’s dream job has always been to be a pilot. He finds immense joy instructing and helping students achieve their goals, all while working towards his own long-term goal of earning his ATP certificate.


Owen Werner

Owen Werner is a CFI, CFII and MEI who obtained his instructor ratings through Minnesota State University. Originally from Minnesota and now a Florida resident, Owen is committed to ongoing learning and staying on top of industry advancements and is looking forward to lots of flying and instructing here at JAXAERO and throughout Florida. In his free time, Owen’s favorite things to do are play hockey, golf, surf, and fish.


Dara Him

Dara Him is a CFI with an A&P. While in high school, he volunteered every Friday at a Cirrus repair station taking out trash, vacuuming and washing Cirrus and Diamond aircraft just to get close to airplanes. After high school, he even designed and built a homebuilt glider. After becoming an A&P, Dara worked in sheet metal rebuilding DC-3s and C-47s for 5 years before learning to fly. Dara is excited to be a career instructor here at JAXAERO. In his spare time, he enjoys food, naps and spending time with his growing family.

Picture of Frankie Norton

Frankie Norton

Frankie Norton is a CFI who completed his flight training at JAXAERO after graduating with a degree in Aviation from Auburn University. Frankie brings a wealth of knowledge and deep-rooted passion for aviation with a commitment to safety and dedication to student success. Born and raised here in Jacksonville Beach, Frankie enjoys fishing and watching the Jaguars in his free time.


Jonathan Rutledge

A first-generation pilot from Jacksonville, FL, Jonathan Rutledge completed all his training (PPL thru CFI) here at JAXAERO. As a CFI, Jon looks to give back to an industry that has already given him so much. Jon’s end goal is to fly for Delta, but he would issue a retraction if other airlines were to read this. Also our Admissions Specialist, Jon has an enthusiasm and genuine interest in students that allows him to create authentic relationships with everyone he encounters. When he is not flying or instructing, Jon, a Jaguars season ticket holder, enjoys attending games and tailgating with his friends (The Boys), as well as traveling with his girlfriend Kelsey.