Meet Our Team

Our close-knit and professional staff is ready to assist you with your primary and advanced flight training needs. Our instructors are highly qualified to help you get your wings and maintain your currency.

Shawn Rich, Owner

Licenses & Ratings: ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, Commercial: ASEL, Rotorcraft-Helicopter BE-300, CE-500, CE525S, CE650, DA-10, DA-50, G-100, G-200, IA-1125

Shawn began his aviation career in 1990, and completed his professional ratings after graduating William Jewell College in 1993. Shawn has flown as a Corporate Pilot as well as an Airline Pilot. He has served as Director of Training and Safety and Chief Pilot in corporate flight departments. In 2002, he started Rich Aviation Services to provide a more affordable training option for operators of Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Citation aircraft, without compromising the quality of training.

Along with managing the day to day operations of Rich Aviation Services, Shawn continues to fly regularly and currently instructs in the Beechcraft King Air, Cessna Citation, Cessna Caravan, and Piper Cheyenne II.

Emily Watson

Since 2016, Emily has been a constant for Rich Aviation. Throughout the years she has worn all of the admin hats and has been a valuable asset to our team. As our Operations Supervisor and go-to gal, she can assist you with questions pertaining to just about anything with a smile on her face and caffeine in her hand.
When she’s not at the office, she’s probably at a youth sports events, a Broadway show, traveling or curled up at home with a book and her favorite cat.

Raiya Sellens

Raiya has been sending smiles your way as our Front Desk Coordinator since January of 2023. Originally from Kansas, she moved to Texas six years ago to escape the cold. Knowing nothing of aviation when she started, she has certainly drank enough of the aviation kool-aid to begin the process of getting her PPL here very soon.

She is always happy to help and give you a laugh even on your bad days. When Raiya isn’t at work, you can find her eating chips & salsa on a patio or reading a book at the dog park with her dog, Hazel.

Chris Fries

License & Ratings: Commercial ASEL, CFI

Chris, originally from Arizona started his aviation journey here at Rich Aviation Services. Starting from zero hours and working his way up through our program earning his instructor certificates. Finding his passion to fly after becoming a Flight Attendant he knew he wanted his own office in the sky. He continues to grow this passion through instructing as he watches his student soar.
When he’s not in the clouds, you’ll find him in a yoga studio, gym or along the Trinity River with his dog Honey Waffle.

Matthew Gearheart

License & Ratings: Commercial ASEL, AMEL, CFI, CFI-I

Matthew Gearheart is a CSEL/CMEL-instrument airplane pilot with CFI and CFII ratings and complex, high performance, and tailwheel endorsements with experience in both steam-gauge and glass cockpits across a variety of airplanes. He completed his primary training under Part 141 rules with LeTourneau University in McKinney, TX and Longview, TX, obtaining a bachelor of science degree in aviation management with a professional pilot concentration. He went on to complete his CFI with Thrust Flight in Addison, TX, and his CFII with Nationwide Aviation in Hudson Oaks, TX. He joined Rich Aviation services in November of 2022 and is currently aiming for airline flying in the near future. He lives in South Annetta, TX with his parents and family, and when not in the air, he enjoys fine arts and recreational sports.

Luke Verboski

License & Ratings: CFI, CFII, Commercial ASEL

Luke began his aviation journey in 2019, and obtained his Commercial ASEL and CFI in 2022.
He is from the Fort Worth area and did all of his training at Meacham. Most of his flying time is in a Mooney M20J, and Piper Warrior. Most of his CFI training was done in a Cessna 172. He has
extensive cross country time flying around the country in a Mooney M20J, and his favorite part
about flying is exploring new areas. Luke’s favorite place to fly is the Ozark Mountains of
Northwest Arkansas. In his free time, he is a guitarist and singer who writes his own music and
plays different venues and open mics.

Cooper Buchanan

License & Ratings: CFI, CFII, Commercial ASEL, Commercial AMEL

Cooper is a native Texan that began his aviation journey in 2019. He attended the University of North Dakota where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics with a specialization in Commercial Aviation, and was a flight instructor at the University for just under a year. After graduating in the Fall of 2022 he moved back to Texas and joined the Rich Aviation team in May of 2023. He is a CFI/CFII with his multi-engine rating. When he’s not flying you can find him spending time with his friends and family, or hopefully skiing when the weather is cold!

Craig Despain Jr.

License & Ratings: Commercial ASEL, AMEL, CFI, CFI-I, MEI

  Craig DeSpain is a CSEL/CMEL-instrument airplane pilot with CFI, CFII and MEI ratings to include high performance and complex endorsements. He has experience in steam gauges and glass cockpits. He grew up around aviation with his father being an Air Traffic Controller. In 2018 he and his father started a real estate business that he continues to help manage today. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he is always looking for ways to improve his flight instruction and aviation career. He’s been instructing since September of 2022 with a goal of getting to a legacy airline. Outside of flying his other interests include hunting, fishing and road trips. 

Kevin Parker

License & Ratings: Commercial ASEL, CFI, CFI-I

  Kevin discovered his passion for aviation early in life when his father earned his private pilot certificate and could take him flying. Since then, Kevin has pursued a career in aviation by becoming a commercial pilot and flight instructor. He learned to fly in San Marcos, Texas in a Cessna 172 before earning his instrument, commercial and instructor ratings in Addison, Texas. In his free time Kevin enjoys a day of fishing or golfing, or simply hanging out with friends. . 

Contract Turbine Instructors

Jack Harlow

License & Ratings: ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, Commercial, B737, B757, B767, MU-300, BE-400

Jack began his flying career in 1973 and landed his first job as a flight instructor in 1978. Jack has been flying and instructing in various aircraft, including a Cessna 177 Cardinal, Piper PA-14, Caravan and a Partenavia P68TC. The majority of his instructing is multi-engine training in our Baron 55 and with turbine clients seeking certification in a Cessna 300 or 400 series aircraft.

Ronald Beck

License & Ratings: ATP, CFI, A & P

Ron has over 36 years of flying experience flying aircraft types that range from small single engine Cessnas to Beechcraft King Airs. He received his CFI in 1980 and worked for a Piper and Mooney dealership before moving on to various types of general aviation pilot positions. He has flown air ambulance and forest service contracts in New Mexico and Yellowstone National Park. Currently he teaches in the King Air training program and flies for Justin Industries in their King Air 200.

Instructors Not Pictured:

Hank Kumpunen: King Air
Marvin Ledyard: King Air
Mike Hodge: King Air & Citation 500 Series/Single Pilot Exemption
Tim Carter: Citation 500 Series/Single Pilot Exemption
Dustin Salzer: Twin Cessna, Caravan 208

Don't Be Shy. Get In Touch.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you achieve your flying goals, let us know. We will get in touch with you ASAP.

The overall experience was very enjoyable. Location was excellent as were facilities. Staff treated customers with respect and were very courteous. Supplying lunch during training was a nice “extra”. I am very thankful to have you guys nearby.

G. Barnes / King Air B200