Instructor Bios

Judy Phelps

Judy Phelps executing aerobatics in Pitts S2B over Santa Paula,

Judy Phelps, Master Certified Flight Instructor-Aerobatic, CFI – Instrument, specializing in Tailwheel, Spins, Emergency Maneuver Training and Aerobatics.

Judy is the 2011 National Flight Instructor of the Year, the 2010 Western Pacific Region FAA Flight Instructor of the year, the 2008 Professional Woman Pilot of the Year by the Southwest Section of the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots, and the 2006 Woman Pilot of the Year by the Ventura County Chapter of the Ninety-Nines.  She is a charter member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).  Judy’s career in aviation started in 1994 when she met and married Clay Phelps, the CP of CP Aviation.  In 2003 she became a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and has logged over 7,000 hours.

Dennis Magdaleno


CFI-Instrument, MEI, DPE
Dennis is our Chief Flight Instructor, and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner with over 11,000 of flight time.  He has been flying since 1976 and has been at CP Aviation since 2001.

Because Dennis is a DPE, he manages his own schedule. Anyone wishing to fly with him should contact him directly at 805-890-1268.

Berkeley Brandt


Berkeley Brandt, CFII, comes from a family of pilots (mother, father, uncles) and began flying in 1963.  After another career as a cardiac surgeon, he has become obsessed with flying after retirement in 2004 and began teaching at CP Aviation in 2010.  It turns out that there are many similarities between teaching heart surgery and flying.  His main focus has been primary flight training, but he enjoys instrument training as well.  He is a member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).

Luci Galgano

Luci Web Photo

CFI Luci Galgano is a Ventura County native who completed all of her flight training at CP Aviation. Luci recently retired and is now enjoying a second career as a CFI. Luci and her husband enjoy flying to Mexico and Central America. Flying has opened a whole new world of travel, adventure and cherished friendships for her and it is this world that she wants to share with others. Luci has been a pilot since 2007 and she teaches Private Pilots.

Mark R. King

Mark King web

Mark King, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Advanced and Instrument ground instructor,  is a southern California native who was born into an aviation family and began flying in 1974.  Mark has extensive experience flying in Alaska in a turboprop Quest Kodiak, has over 1000 hours flying the Beechcraft Bonanza and is G1000 qualified.   He is a member of the Society of Aviation Flight Educators (SAFE) and the North American T6 formation group called the Condor Squadron.  He teaches Private Pilots, Instrument, Commercial, Tailwheel, Emergency Maneuver Training, and Aerobatics.

Omar Lala


Omar Lala, CFII, Graduated from Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology.  He has been teaching at CP Aviation since 2011 and is the Chapter leader for the Santa Paula Chapter of the IMC Club.  He teaches Private Pilots, Instrument,  and Commercial.

Charles Steiger

Charlie for web

Charles (Charlie) Steiger – Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor – trained for all of his certificates and ratings at CP Aviation. He is currently attending Utah Valley University (online) and continuing his work towards a bachelor’s degree in their professional pilot program. He has wanted to fly since his first time going up in a small airplane when he was 10 years old. Fast forward, and upon graduating from high school he took up flying lessons. It was a few years later that he decided to make aviation a center of his life by pursuing it as a career and has found great joy in flight instructing. When not flying, Charlie is an avid musician and can be found playing in one of the bands that he is in.

Marybeth Martin

Marybeth3 IFR

Marybeth Martin is a Certified Flight Instructor and an Advanced Ground Instructor. After years as an Accountant, Marybeth decided to follow her passion for Aviation and has done almost all of her ratings here at CP Aviation. She is a member of the Ninety-nines International Organization of Women Pilots, Angel Flight, EAA, AOPA, and Women in Aviation. When not flying, Marybeth can be found hanging out with her dog Scooby. She teaches Primary and Commercial.

Peter Lynde

Peter Lynde TW 08.09.14

Peter Lynde, Certified Flight Instructor, began flying after earning an MFA in visual art. He teaches the art and science of flying to Private and Commercial students and certificated pilots of all levels. When he’s not flying Peter is a commercial photographer.

Susie McWilliams

Susie McWilliams for web

“Susie” McWilliams began flying in 1978, and specializes in teaching pilots for the Sport Pilot rating which requires no FAA medical exam. She currently teaches exclusively in the Cessna 162 Skycatcher for CP Aviation. She focuses on providing students with a safe, fun, and direct path to becoming a pilot. She also flies helicopters, seaplanes and acrobatic airplanes. Susie is involved in many aviation activities and is a member of the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots, AOPA, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Whirly-Girls International Women Helicopter Pilots, Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA) and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).

Chad Gustafson

Chad for web

Chad is a Certified Flight Instructor from the Pacific Northwest. He flew general and corporate aircraft out of Port Angeles, WA. Which included- Aeronca Champ on floats, Aeronca Sedan, Avid Flyer on floats, Vans RV7, RV6, Christen Eagle II, Cessna 150, 172, 182, 206T, 310, Citabria Decathalon, Beachcraft V tail, Baron 55, King Air C90, Diamond Twin Star DA42, Embraer Brasilia EMB-120. Avionics- Garmin 400 series, Garmin touch screen series 650-750, G1000, Apollo GNS480, MX20

Chad started flying as a convenient way to travel to water ski tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. The next step was a 1955 Champ on straight floats. An IFR rating and a Baron 55 for the overcast days led to a King Air C90 for work. Naturally when the fuel bill arrived, a Vans RV7 soon followed, which led to a Christen Eagle II. His next plan was to teach his two teenage daughters to fly, so the CFI check ride was checked off. Two unforeseen challenges lay ahead. First, his oldest daughter informed him that she and her sister were not going to learn to be pilots. As she put it, “Dad, you can just fly us wherever we want to go, way easier, ok?” (apparently Dads can’t see the forest for the trees on occasion). Secondly, Chad way underestimated the teaching of said daughters to drive a car! Yes, they are all still friends, however, Chad learned that flight lessons are best left to people that want to learn to be pilots, so if your interested in going for your first flight, a flight review or transitioning to tailwheel, Chad is likely to be hanging out at Santa Paula airport.

Paolo De Censi


Paolo De Censi, CFII, MEI – learned to fly in1992.  Paolo traveled back to Italy after completing his Flight Training and worked at a Sea Plane base on Lake Como.  In 2004 Paolo came back to the states where he worked at various flight schools until coming to CP Aviation in 2011.  Prior to coming to CP Aviation Paolo specialized in working with international students.  Upon coming to CP Aviation he realized there was much more to learn, especially when it comes to Stick and Rudder skills. He teaches Private Pilots, Instrument,  and Commercial.

Kimberly Harty

Kimberly Harty for web

Kimberly, a graduate from USC, is a CFI as well as a corporate pilot, flying private business jets around the country. In 2012, Kimberly won the “Rookie Pilot of the Year” award from the San Fernando Valley Ninety-Nines, where she has since served as a board member. Kimberly is also active in the Los Angeles chapter of Women in Aviation as well as Daughters of the American Revolution and the Junior League. She hopes to inspire the love of aviation in others, and show people that being a pilot is a tangible goal. Kimberly can teach private and commercial level applicants.

Roger Vecchio

Roger Vecchio CFI

Roger is a Certified Flight Instructor, MEI, ATP and holds type ratings in a Jetstream 41 and Boeing 767-757. He was born in Southern California and learned to fly out of Van Nuys airport in the 80′s where he flew corporate turbo props and jets. He has experience flying AT-6, Pitts, Twin Cessna, King Air, Sabreliner, 737 and airbus 320. He enjoys flying and teaching aerobatics, spins, and tailwheel as well as primary flying.

Cory Buck

Cory Buck

Cory Buck is a CFI, CFII, and MEI, born and raised in Santa Clarita. Cory did all of his flight training in the east coast and went from zero hours to becoming a Certified Flight Instructor in just 7 months. He is happy to be back in California and teaching at CP Aviation. He can teach private pilots, instrument, and commercial pilots.

Michael Phillips


Michael Phillips, CFI, CFII, ASMEL, Glider. He is the Managing Partner and Chief Flight Instructor at Aviation Instruction Simulator Training, Chief Flight Instructor for the Cessna Advanced Aircraft Recurrent Training Program (CAART) and a charter member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).

Michael is a seasoned teaching professional with a passion for aviation and all phases of flight instruction. He has a diverse background which provides him with the ability to work with a wide variety of personalities and backgrounds. He has been a Certified Flight Instructor since 1975. He has had an opportunity to fly and teach in a number of regions of the country which provides him with an understanding and appreciation for weather and challenges that other parts of the United States offer to pilots.

A Certified Flight Instructor for thirty-five years he is a Master Instructor and an FAA Gold Seal Instructor with 8,600 total hours and over 6,500 hours of dual given.

Jeremy Dempsey

Jeremy Dempsey

Jeremy Dempsey, CFII, has been flying for over 8 years and instructing for 6.  He has found a true passion for teaching people to fly.  He teaches Private Pilots, Instrument, Commercial, Tailwheel, Emergency Maneuver Training, and Aerobatics.  He has logged thousands of hours in many different types of small aircraft.

Rich Stowell

Rich Stowell

CFI, Rich Stowell’s career as a flight instructor began at CP Aviation in 1987 when he developed the renowned Emergency Maneuver Training — EMT — Program. While part of CP Aviation, Rich’s training techniques and expertise have been featured in numerous articles as well as radio and TV segments. He has published three aviation textbooks and hosted four educational DVD programs while here as well. Among many other awards, Rich is the 2006 National Flight Instructor of the Year — one of three flight instructors from Santa Paula Airport to receive this prestigious honor.  He is a charter member of the Society of Aviation and Fllight Educators (SAFE). Rich now travels the world providing safety seminars as well as spin, emergency maneuver, aerobatic, and tailwheel training; consequently, his time in Santa Paula is limited and so you must contact him directly for instruction at