Mark Hyatt is a passionate educational entrepreneur. His favorite quote is: “If you save one child, you save the whole world”. Calling Colorado home since 1970, He’s served as a fighter pilot squadron commander in the Air Force, advisor to Secretary of Defense, current White House Administration and previous President on school choice, safety, social climate and culture issues. He’s also served as Vice Commandant at the USAF Academy, Director of their Center for Character and Leadership Development, President of the largest charter school in Colorado, The Classical Academy, and Executive Director of the Charter School Institute in Denver. He’s testified at the Colorado Legislature to keep partial funding to public schools for Home school students. Most important job: Married 40 years, three children and five Grandchildren.
John H. Herd-OPS Director
John Herd plans and coordinates the Falcon Aerolab weekly activities, as well as interacting with and guiding students. He brings extensive leadership/organizational management experience. He holds a BS in Organizational Behavior from the USAF Academy and two Master of Science degrees. He's a retired Colonel with over 26 years of service in the US Air Force. His passion for Aeronautics can be traced back to his time in the USAF where he served as an aircraft maintenance officer on a multitude of fighter aircraft including: A-10’s, F-111E & EF-111A’s, F-16’s, F-15C & E’s. John commanded six different times during his career, four Squadrons and two Logistics Groups. These organizations ranged in size from 400 to 1,700 personnel with requirements to manage multi-million dollar budgets. He was also involved in the establishment of an operating location for a seven nation coalition force to engage in Combat Ops. Since retiring he’s worked as COO at Aesir Group International, engaging in team building and leadership training in the Washington DC Intelligence Community. He then worked several years as the Senior Military/Defense Advisor to Congressman Doug Lamborn, 5th District Colorado until starting a consulting business.
LEE CROSS- INSTRUCTOR
Lee Cross has more than 38 years of success in business and defense related leadership roles. He served as an Air Force officer and aviator for 25 years and as a financial advisor/planner for 13 years. He has extensive experience in aviation operations and training, project management, personal financial planning, contract negotiations, new business development, organizational restructuring, and labor relations. His education credentials include an MA degree in Business Management/Industrial Production from Central Michigan University and a Bachelors of Science in Political Science/International Relations from the USAF Academy. Lee is married to Janis Cross and they have six adult children. His interests include volunteer work, fly fishing, hiking, gardening, woodworking, traveling and wildlife photography.
Thomas Neff- INSTRUCTOR
Thomas Neff leads our students in the construction, flight and repair of our R/C aircraft projects. He has been a R/C pilot for over 45 years, earning many titles and taking part in international competitions. He is widely known for his expertise in R/C flying and is current president of the Airpark Elite Radio Control Club. He is also vice president for Academy of Model Aeronautics- District 9. He holds multiple licenses and certifications such as: certified FAA sUAS part 105, certified AMA instructor, turbine instructor, and heavy aircraft inspector. Thomas is a R/C flight instructor for Wings Aerospace Academy. He has experience teaching classes about remote control aircraft, sUAS projects in design and STEM related subjects. He also serves as an Aerospace officer and chief flight instructor for MARC R/C flight academy.
JEFF THOMPSON- LEVEL 1B COURSE DIRECTOR
Jeff Thompson holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and a Masters Degrees in Management from Webster University. He is also a graduate of the Air Force's Air to Ground Operations School, the Army Command and General Staff College and the Air Force Air War College. He retired from active duty as a Colonel and Command Pilot (F-4E, F-4G, F-15A/C aircraft); his years of service included command and staff positions in America, Europe and Asia. Upon retiring from active duty, Jeff taught Secondary Mathematics at the Thomas MacLaren Charter School until joining the Falcon AeroLab. He and his wife have three daughters.
kip Turain- northern colorado course director
Kip Turain joined Falcon AeroLab in 2019 and is responsible to the students to create experiential learning opportunities for the Northern Colorado (NOCO) Falcon AeroLab program. He collaborates with Falcon AeroLab staff to orchestrate the weekly activities. Kip earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the USAF Academy and holds three Master’s degrees. His Air Force worldwide flying career spanned 30 years and throughout that time he held C-141, KC-10, KC-135 and RQ-4 pilot ratings. He also has operational experience with C-5, C-17, U-2 and E-3 aircraft and has accumulated nearly 4,700 flying hours. Kip was selected as Commander throughout his Air Force career at the Detachment, Squadron, Group and Wing levels. Between flying and Commander tours, he worked at a range of staff assignments, from personnel to worldwide mobility/logistics operations. His final assignment as Professor of Aerospace Studies/Commander, Air Force ROTC at Colorado State University/University of Northern Colorado brought him and his wife to Fort Collins in 2015. He and his wife are proud parents of an adult daughter and son.
lindsey johnson- northern colorado instructor
Lindsey Johnson holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Healthcare administration and management. She recently commissioned with the US Air Force National Guard joining an aeromedical evacuation squadron. Lindsey homeschools her three kids and values the time she gets to spend with them. In their free time, Lindsey and her husband Topher, enjoy being outdoors with their kids hiking, camping, vacationing and mentoring youth.
john Norton- IFT gliders course director
John Norton is retired Air Force pilot, part-time professional pilot, and part-time educator. He teaches short courses for Practical Aeronautics, Inc and the National Test Pilot School and flies the Super Cub tow plane at the US Air Force Academy for their cadet glider program. John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Academy and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, and he is the proud Dad of three grown children.
mark dickerson- ift gliders instructor
Mark Dickerson retired from the USAF with over 4500 hours in over 40 aircraft types. He is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School and is also an Associate Fellow with the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. After leaving the Air Force, he spent 7 years as a NASA Research Project Manager, and is the only African American to ever become a Research Pilot at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. Dickerson holds a BS degree in Engineering Physics from Cornell University, an MS degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford, and an MBA from Regis University. He has served on the Adjunct Faculty of Colorado Technical University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is also a Community Emergency Response Team volunteer with El Paso County. In his spare time he recently published his second book “WARNING: This Book May Get You Killed”, a study of heroism by everyday people.
GARY REYNOLDS- IFT POWERED COURSE DIRECTOR/ IFT GLIDERS INSTRUCTOR
Gary Reynolds soloed in 1971 in Tasmania, Australia and has kept flying ever since. Gary does not have a military or airline background but brings a wealth of experience in over 50 different types of aircraft, including gliders and seaplanes. Gary is a past owner of a Piper PA18-150 (Supercub) and a Mooney M20C, which he has flown all over the U.S. and Canada. Gary has been a Certified Flight Instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct in powered airplanes and gliders. After retiring from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, where he retired as Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Planning and Facilities Management, Gary has re-sparked his interest in flight instructing and has been instructing with Direct Connect Flight Academy, Springs Aviation and the High Flights Soaring Club. Gary has a Bachelor degree in Engineering Science and a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering. Gary's additional interests also include part-time ski instructing at the Keystone resort. He and his wife have a daughter who teaches 2nd grade in District 11 and a wonderful grand-daughter.
greg Halleck- advanced drone course director
Greg Halleck received his Private pilots license at the age of 18 in high school (1988). He went on to CU Boulder to study Mechanical Engineering (1992). After working as a Mechanical Design Engineer in the industries of Consumer Product Design, Automation/Robotic and Medical device industries (20+ years) he went on to receive his flight training for the airlines at AIMS college in Greeley (2003). He was an Airline Pilot and Chief Pilot for Air Wisconsin Airlines - flying for US Airways Express (2007). He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from CU Boulder and an Associates Aviation from Aims College in Greeley. He is also a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI/CFII) and Type rated in the CRJ-200 commercial jet. Greg has also started several businesses (Manna Design Inc - Engineering Consulting) including a Drone Services Company (Stratus Drone Services). Real Estate, Promotional Marketing, Engineering Survey and Training are just some of those services offered. He currently is a Senior Flight Instructor for Direct Connect Flight Academy at the Colorado Springs Airport and Part 107 Drone Operator for Stratus Drone Services. Greg is a home school dad of two (13 year old daughter and 18 year old son) with one soon to graduate High School and enter the Cyber Security industry - trained by AeroLab Cyber Security Program. He enjoys golf, piano, spending time with his family, and anything with wings.
JOE MAGIE- SOUTHWEST COLORADO COURSE DIRECTOR
Joe Magie is a middle school science and technology teacher. His grew up on a farmstead in Kansas and comes from a long line of family educators. Joe holds a Bachelor’s degrees in elementary and secondary education with a middle school science emphasis and a Master’s degree in secondary science and technology. Most recently, Joe has been the lead STEM educator at Challenger Colorado in which he leads students on 3 hour simulated space missions, a.k.a Commander Magie! Joe has also been responsible for providing STEM education to students and training to teachers; working with more than 30 districts state-wide. Currently, Joe lives in McElmo Canyon, outside of Cortez, on a small orchard with his wife and two young girls."