Challenger Aviation’s leadership team is made up of key individuals to serve the needs of our customer base. Each aviation professional brings a unique set of skills, a whatever it takes attitude, and a vast knowledge of the industry to serve our clients.
Mike Challenger - Owner
Mike Challenger is the owner and founder of Challenger Aviation Services. He has been responsible for all aspects of the organization since it was established including implementing clear policies and procedures, sound financial decision making, and oversight of day to day operations. He has experience with light to heavy maintenance, inspections, and repair to multiple types of aircraft including Cessna Citation, Beechcraft, Falcon, Gulfstream, Embraer and Bombardier. Mike has directed the mission, vision, and culture of Challenger Aviation to establish an excellent reputation nationwide.
This includes the implementation of a vital sign report for financial analysis, hiring personnel that enhance the vision and culture of the company, and continuing to develop and enhance the growth of the organization. Other highlights of Mike’s career include leading his team to develop cloud based scalable programs which allow the company to be managed remotely to facilitate expansion, leading a team to write and implement Challenger Aviation’s own FAA certified Repair Station Manual, and to assist the team with vendor and customer negotiations.
Joe Rank – Maintenance Controller
Joe began aviation work in the US Army in 1988 working on Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters and Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters. After serving in the military he acquired an A&P license and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Aviation Management. Joe has worked on various aircraft under FAA part 91, 135 and 121 operators including Mu-2’s, J-31, Beech 1900, ATR’s, and Embraer 120, 135, and 145 aircraft. He has over 18 years of experience working in engineering/maintenance control positions with 121 and 135 operators. Over his career he has worked on a wide variety of aircraft from turbo props to large business jets to regional jets.
Daniel Wilkerson – Quality Assurance Manager
Daniel is an A&P certified mechanic who worked independently as Wilkerson Aviation Services for over 20 years. Daniel is Taxi, Run, and Systems qualified on a variety of aircraft including Cessna Citation 500 and 650, Learjet 20 and 30 series, King Air 90, 200 and 350, Hawker 400A, 600, 700, and 800, Twin Commander 690 series, Westwind 1124 and 1124A, IAI Astra 1125, Challenger 601-3A, Gulfstream 2,3, and 4, and Pilatus PC 12/45 and PC 12/47E series. He is also Heavy Line Maintenance and Inspections certified to include major repair and major alterations on the above aircraft. He also holds a variety of other maintenance and repair credentials and certificates. Daniel also holds RII qualifications for a variety of aircraft and assisted NASA Aviation services with the procedures/processes for obtaining their 14 CFR 145 Repair Station certification by writing and submitting the manuals for NASA Aviation Services which were accepted by the FAA in May of 2011.
Garry Hammitt – Parts Manager
Garry has worked in the aviation industry for over 20 years as an A&P certified mechanic. Over his time in the industry he began working on the line crew. Since then he has also served as an airframe mechanic, hose shop manager, and parts manager.
Paula Zandstra – Lead Mechanic
Paula is an A&P certified mechanic. She has a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Technology from Purdue University. Some highlights of her career include over 7 years with Bombardier as a lead mechanic and playing a key role in the startup of the Houston location Bombardier MRP truck. Paula also served as a lead mechanic for a 135 Charter Company. She has over 12 years of heavy maintenance experience and over 3 years of AOG maintenance experience. Paula is also factory trained on various airframes ad systems and has been the recipient of many FAA AMT Ruby awards for training.
Andy McLaughlin – Avionics/A&P Tech
Andy, an A&P certified mechanic, travels for Challenger Aviation to provide AOG services and Avionics Support. Prior to joining Challenger Aviation, Andy spent 2 years at a Gulfstream Service Center as an avionics/A&P mechanic. He also has over 12 years of experience working on Cessna Citation aircraft as an avionics mechanic and spent 5 years serving in the Marines as an Avionics Tech.