Meet the staff

Mihai Tanjala – President

Owner of Seminole-Lake Gliderport since 2008, Mihai graduated in Romania with two degrees in aeronautical engineering and economics. Mihai is a successful business man and owns several businesses in different countries, activating in different fields like aquaculture, aviation, real estate, hospitality and others. Mihai is one of the biggest soaring supporters 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 – Operations Manager

Mihaela first visited Seminole-Lake Gliderport in 2014 and has been running the operations since 2017.  Mihaela grew up in Romania and lived on an Air Force base until the age of 18, where both of her parents worked until their retirement. Her past work experience started as a kindergarden teacher, followed by different business executive positions in Romania. Mihaela is a private pilot glider.


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 13,000 hours in gliders, of which 8,000 were as an instructor. On September 2020 Jan was awarded the Paul Schweitzer Lifetime Service Award by the Soaring Society of America.

As of November 20th, 2020 Jan had accomplished 30,000 flights and graduated 496 students.

Jan Proclamation & Testimonials

Steven Gibb – Flight Instructor

Steven has been a licensed pilot for over 55 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 4,000 hours.

Tom McLinskey – Tow Pilot

Tom started flying on a grass strip in 1982 at Brandon Airport, Brandon Florida. He has been towing at Seminole-Lake Gliderport since 2017. Tom has a private pilot license, single-engine land, instrument and glider rating. He has over 2,600 flight hours. Come on out to Seminole-Lake and get a tow with me. “Let’s Do It”

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