Meet the staff

Mihai Tanjala 
Owner of Seminole-Lake Gliderport since 2008, Mihai graduated the Romanian Air Force Academy, with a degree in Engine structure and the University of Economics. He is a successful business man and owns several businesses in different countries, activating in various area like aquaculture, aviation, real estate, hospitality etc…
Mihai is one of the biggest supporters of soaring in the US.

Rich Owen – Vice-President

Rich started his flying career at 15 years old. After graduating from Auburn University, where he was a flight instructor, he entered the Navy and spent 22 years flying fighter aircraft off aircraft carriers. After a short period as a corporate pilot, he joined the ranks of Delta Air Lines and completed 20 years before retiring in 2017. Only a glider pilot for 11 years, he has already won a National Championship in Standard Class and has won regional championships in Standard, Sports, and 18 Meter Classes. Rich teaches cross country and racing.

Mihaela Luculescu – Office manager

Jan Driessen – Flight Instructor: Jan started flying in 1954 in The Netherlands; in the 1950s he was a fighter pilot in the Dutch air force. He is a Diamond Glider Pilot, having over 10,000 hours in gliders, of which 7,000 were as an instructor.

On March 2018 Jan flew his glider flight no. 25.000.

Steven Gibb – Flight Instructor: Steven has been a licensed pilot for over 51 years and a flight instructor for over 40 years. He flew the OV-1 aircraft overseas in the US Army. He also has flown and instructed in several other military and civilian aircraft. He retired from the US Army after 30 years of service and now enjoys helping airplane and glider students achieve their flying goals.

Ray Smith – Tow Pilot: Ray’s flying career began with gliders in 1978. He began working for Seminole Flying & Soaring, Inc., in 1987 and started towing gliders in 1988. On March 19, 1989, he towed the first glider at Seminole-Lake Gliderport, our current location. Ray has a commercial pilot license with airplane single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, glider, and instrument rating with over 3,000 hours.