Our Team

John Tiplady

My flying career started at the age of 11 when Beverly airport was holding a family day for the public to come and hang out around planes. Unknowingly, they were also giving free rides for young kids. A childhood friend and myself went on our free ride in a 1970’s Cessna 172 and I fell in love. Upon completion of the flight we received a first flight certificate as it was both of ours first time in an airplane. Unbeknownst to my parents on the exciting day I had just had, I handed them the first flight certificate and instantly got a stern talking to. Fortunately, come my next birthday, I had my first flight lesson scheduled.

Chief Flight Instructor

"A childhood friend and myself went on our free ride in

a 1970’s Cessna 172 and I fell in love."

At this point I’ve been infatuated with airplanes. I took on the hobby of photography with the sole purpose of taking pictures of planes, which I of course expanded on later in life. I also joined the Civil Air Patrol with the intent of receiving more flight time and learning a few other things along the way.

Upon graduating high school I had made the decision to take my studies to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to become a professional pilot. While going through my training I realized that I was going to go the CFI route versus the ATP and I’m glad I did. There’s no bigger reward than transferring my love for aviation to someone eager and willing to learn.

Ed Robbins

Certified Flight Instructor

I got got my Private Pilot certificate in 1988 after spending a lot of right seat time with two friends who had received theirs the year before.  My story is fairly typical in that I didn't put it to much use due to starting a family, buying a house, and establishing a career, so I would go long stretches of years without flying.  However, in 2015 I read David McCullough's book, The Wright Brothers, and it once again ignited my passion for flying.  Once I was firmly back in the air, I decided to pursue all the ratings through CFI, my plan being that once I retire, I could teach people how to fly.  While I'm still a long way from retirement, I can't stop myself from teaching others what I truly enjoy.  It's a privilege to be able to share the experience with others and pass it along to those that are both young and old.

"While I'm still a long way from retirement, I can't stop myself from teaching others what I truly enjoy."

 

If you see me around the hangar and want to truly engage me, start talking flying and segue into cycling, which is another passion of mine.  If my head isn't in the clouds, then it's focused on riding that two wheeled mechanical contraption.  My wife and I have come to find that there is no better way to experience a foreign land, and it's people, than astride a bicycle.

Lindsey Mitchell

Certified Flight Instructor - CFII / MEI

When I was 12 years old I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life. "Fly an airplane" was number 2, following play division 1 soccer. While I was attending Kent State University on a soccer scholarship I decided to make that second dream come true. I enrolled in the aviation program and began working on my private pilot certification. I quickly fell in love with the freedom of being in the air and seeing the world from a different perspective. After graduating from college and earning my Certified Flight Instructor certificate, I wanted to share my love of flying with others. I instructed students from primary to advanced ratings at Navy Annapolis Flight Center and Frederick Flight Center in Maryland.

"I quickly fell in love with the freedom of being in the air and seeing the world from a different perspective."

 

After 4 years of instructing, I moved to New England to fly a PC12 at PlaneSense. I was quickly promoted to Captain and flew about 2000 hours in the Pilatus turboprop over a 4.5-year time frame, flying up and down the east coast, Canada and the Bahamas. Today, I continue to embrace the aviation industry as a UAS operator and Certified Flight Instructor. I'm excited to be a part of the CHI team, with technologically advanced aircraft, a full-motion flight simulator, a great team of aviators and the continuing growth to encourage the next generation of pilots. 

Bob Casian

Flight Instructor - ATP / CFII / MEI / Land & Sea / Civil Air Patrol

I started flying in 1960 at 14 years old.  I soloed at 16 and was a Private Pilot at 17... I was still in high school at 18 when I got my Commercial and Flight Instructor ratings.

When I was in school I used to sit by the window and watch the clouds go by. Well, that gave me an idea of what I wanted to do for a living… Sit by a window and watch the clouds go by. So, I hired on with Weyerhaeuser Corp. as a pilot on their Beech 18 and also taught flying.  When the Army called, I joined the 102nd Aviation Company in the Guard and was sent to Ft. Rucker where I taught flying in L-19 Bird Dogs.

"There isn't one day that has gone by that I haven't learned something new."

Allegheny Airlines hired me in 1967, since called US Airways and now American Airlines.   When I was 28 years old I got my first Captains position on a Boeing 727.  After 36 wonderful years and 12 type-ratings, I retired flying an Airbus 330-300 internationally.   Since 2002, I’ve been primarily teaching basic and advanced pilots in the general aviation sector. 

I've also been part of the US Aerobatic Team and flew a Pitts Special.  I had an upset course in Nashua, teaching pilots how to recover from various upset situations and to do basic aerobatics.

Flight Instructing is extremely rewarding for me.  I get to train the next generation of Airline pilots, Military pilots, and I get to help pilots achieve their advanced goals.  What could be better?  I’m having a blast!  There isn't one day that has gone by that I haven't learned something new.  I look forward to helping you make your flying dreams a reality!

Tom Bake

Certified Flight Instructor - ATP

Being a pilot was never really a choice, rather, being a pilot was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I had some detours along the way but seemingly always came back to flying because I knew, in my heart, the sky was where I belonged. I was blessed to be mentored by my father in many ways. He taught me how to use a hammer correctly, a saw, a drill, and even a wrench. He wanted his children to know how to do things, fix things, and what it meant to put in a hard days work. It wasn’t easy nor was it always fun. In fact, he was strict and could be challenging to be around.

 

"After 37 years of flying, I still learn and see new things everyday and that, in part, is what makes this so much fun."

My father had another side of him that I also loved. Three or four days per week, he would dress in his uniform and head to the airport. A former Air Force pilot, he transitioned to the civilian world and worked for what eventually became a major airline. I was so proud to see him dressed like that, wearing the stripes on his sleeves, the wings on his jacket, and the hat atop his head. I traveled with him at times and was able to see him apply his craft first hand. In doing so, I was hooked and my future really was never in question. I wanted to do that too and so I did. And, if you are reading this, you can too. Sure it is a challenge but anything worth doing always is.

After 37 years of flying, I still learn and see new things everyday and that, in part, is what makes this so much fun. Flying has given me the opportunity to see the world from a unique perspective, travel to many countries, and meet the most interesting people. I’m taking those experiences and I am returning to my roots in General Aviation. CHI Aerospace is giving me the opportunity to pass along my passion and love for aviation to you. I am looking forward to sharing in the thrill and excitement you will certainly enjoy as you begin or continue your journey into this wonderful world of aviation.

 

“For once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been and there you will always long to return.”-Leonardo da Vinci

 

Fun Facts:

 

December 17, 1903-Wright Brothers first flight, Kitty Hawk, NC.

December 17, 1934-My father’s birthday.

December 17, 1982-I received my pilots license.

 

Tina LaMontagne

Operations Manager & Student Pilot

My introduction into the world of general aviation didn’t happen until after I graduated college. I graduated from the University of Vermont in the spring of 2018 with hopes of pursuing a career in Sustainable Development and Environmental Sciences. I spent that summer working odds and ends jobs, applying for internships, and searching for something that sparked my interest, but nothing ever felt like it fit.

 

In November of 2018, I received a message from Tad Vaughn that said he was looking for help at the desk for a flight school he worked at in Portsmouth, NH. At that time, I had no knowledge of anything relating to aviation, but was pushed by a gut feeling to accept his offer. A week later I started working at CHI Aerospace.

 

"Being able to see the world from that viewpoint and having the freedom to fly anywhere made me immediately fall in love."

As each day passed, my interest in flying began to grow and fully ignited after my first flight in one of our Vans RV-12s. After a full day of flights, our chief flight instructor, John, let me tag along on a maintenance ferry to Hampton. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at first, but as soon as we took off my entire perspective changed. Being able to see the world from that viewpoint and having the freedom to fly anywhere made me immediately fall in love. For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop smiling! Although the flight only lasted 15 minutes, it’s still one of my favorite memories. Now I am the Operations Manager at CHI and currently working towards my Private Pilot’s licence. It has been extremely rewarding to work with such an amazing community and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Tad Vaughn

General Manager & Pilot

While spending most of my life in manufacturing operations, one of my biggest passions has always been flying and all things aviation. My father became a pilot when I was very young and I, along with my two sisters and brother, became pilots in our teen years. I spent much of my youth at our local airport in Michigan and my Dad eventually purchased the small FBO to help justify all the pilots he was supporting! I gained my instrument and twin rating soon after obtaining my private license when I turned seventeen.

"I am so grateful for the

opportunity I have working at CHI which allows me to combine my passion for flying with helping develop a really great flight school."

Since then I have added on a seaplane and commercial rating. In the past I have owned a Cherokee 180 and a Bonanza. Someday I will work on an instructor rating but for now I am having lots of fun just helping run the business. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have working at CHI which allows me to combine my passion for flying with helping develop a really great flight school.

Johannes Stromski 

Dispatcher & Pilot 

Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming the captain of the largest aircraft. My dad, who was an airline pilot, introduced me to the industry and helped me understand what it would take to become an airline pilot. I went to work with him as often as I could, and spent a lot of time on the flight deck of the Airbus A330, Boeing 767 and Boeing 757 and I loved every minute of it.

"Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming the captain of the largest aircraft."

My aviation career started at CHI Aerospace. I trained with John Tiplady and received my private license in 2018. From there, I went on to get my instrument and commercial ratings in both single engine and multi-engine aircraft. I am now working for CHI Aerospace and pursuing my CFI (certified flight instructor) rating. After getting my CFI, I will begin training for my CFII (Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument) and MEI (Multi-Engine Instructor) ratings. Once I build enough hours, I hope to shift my attention towards the airlines and fulfill my dream of becoming an airline pilot.

Stephanie Nistico

Dispatcher & Student Pilot 

I was introduced to the world of aviation at a young age since my dad is a commercial airline pilot. Aviation always interested me but I never thought it was something I could pursue! There were signs, like how I was always plane watching, listening to pilots talk on the radio, and asking my dad a thousand questions about flying every chance I got. I wanted to learn everything from aircraft type, to knowing what every switch does in the cockpit. Despite my curiosity, I wasn’t ready to pursue any type of career in aviation just yet.

A few years later, recognizing I was still passionate about aviation, I decided that I wanted to work towards my private pilot’s license. I began by taking a discovery flight in a Cessna 172 with my dad in the backseat. What a cool experience! It was a perfect evening over southern New Hampshire and the views were amazing. I’ve been eager to pursue my license ever since!

 

"I began by taking a discovery flight in a Cessna 172 with my dad in the backseat. I've been eager to pursue my license ever since!"

Fast forward to now, and I found myself the perfect job working at CHI Aerospace where I’m surrounded by aviation everyday! I hope to continue my training to receive my private pilot’s license and perhaps advance to higher ratings. Who knows, maybe my dad and I could be co-pilots one day.

Joseph Palmer

Dispatcher & Student Pilot

Serving my country has always been in my mind since a very young age. Inspired by those around me, especially my father, it has always been my dream to protect those I love while wearing the uniform. My motivation to serve has taught me a lot about myself and what my passions are.

The passion that tops them all, is my passion for aviation. Going to air shows, living near an airport, and pursuing my private pilot's license, has grown that passion exponentially. My goal in life has always been to fly for the military and it’s a long road to get there. But I knew the perfect place to start my aviation career, was at CHI Aerospace.
 

"My motivation to serve has taught me a lot about myself and what my passions are. The passion that tops them all, is my passion for aviation"

Beginning my training in the summer of 2019 with CFI John Tiplady was exciting. Flying in the Portsmouth airspace with other military aircraft was a constant reminder of where I could be, and it was a great way to keep me motivated. Ever since I immersed myself in aviation at CHI, the confidence to pursue my dream has soared. 

Christian S. Hosford

CHI Founder & Pilot

I was inspired by my Uncle Bill who was a fighter pilot in WWII. I loved listening to his stories and seeing the respect and adulation he received from others. I built and flew all sorts of model airplanes.

At 12 or 13, I started hanging out with the Civil Air Patrol; washing planes, watching, and listening. Those WWII veterans treated me as an equal and encouraged me as I learned fly. Being in three dimensions seemed to fulfill the dreams that I had while building and flying model airplanes.

"I was inspired by my Uncle Bill who was a fighter pilot in WWII."

Fast forward through 50 years of an engineering career that took me around the world, and I am proud of the company I founded 40 years ago, CHI Engineering Services, Inc. I am grateful to the mentors I had guiding me along the way. If it wasn’t for the special people in my life that supported me as I became an Eagle Scout, learned to fly, and weld pipe, I would not be the lucky man I am today! I would not be able to enjoy flying and helping others learn the same skills I did.

I’ve found that learning to fly teaches important life-long lessons that are applicable to any endeavor. I sincerely hope that CHI Aerospace can help everyone connect to this wonderful sport and potential career.

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CHI Aerospace 58 Durham Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801   |  (603) 380-9951   |   info@CHIAerospace.com