Flight Instructors Team

ActivePILOT Team of Instructors Are The Epitome of Excellence

Active Pilot team of wisely selected professionals who love nothing more than to share their knowledge of flying and help grow the aviation community, the ActivePILOT Flight Academy instructors are the epitome of excellence. Passionate about aviation and driven by a genuine desire to see their students succeed, these instructors are not just skilled aviators but also exceptional mentors. They possess a unique ability to instill confidence, instigate a sense of adventure, and foster a strong sense of camaraderie among their students.

With a diverse range of expertise, Active Pilot team of flight instructors cover every aspect of aviation, from private pilot training to advanced instrument ratings and beyond. Their dedication goes far beyond the classroom; they spend countless hours in the cockpit, providing hands-on, real-world training that prepares students for any challenge they may encounter in the skies.

Active Pilot Team

Sevak Sarkissian


Sevak started his pilot career at an early age and soloed by the time he was 16. He graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Aviation Maintenance Technology, became an Airline Transport Pilot, and earned his certificate as an Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanic before starting his career as a flight instructor. Sevak has been a Certified Flight Instructor, Instrument rated, and Multi-Engine Instructor for the past 25 years and has a lot of knowledge and experience under his name. When asked, he claims his passion is to spread the love of aviation to the future generation.

Active Pilot Team

Ryan Sharp


Ryan is a Southern California native who is passionate about flying. Having achieved many certifications such as Commercial Pilot Multi-Engine (CMEL), Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), and Complex Endorsement, Ryan excels at all aspects of pilot training. In his free time, Ryan likes to go out with friends, build engines and race cars, and do computer-aided design. Ryan has been flying for over 10 years and is ready to give you world-class pilot instruction.

Jennifer Aghakhani


Meet Jennifer Aghakhani, a dedicated and experienced flight instructor with a genuine passion for aviation. With a focus on fostering a positive learning environment, Jennifer tailors each lesson to suit the individual needs of her students while upholding the highest standards of safety and professionalism. Eager to contribute to ActivePILOT’s renowned reputation for excellence, she aspires to positively impact the lives of aspiring pilots through her dedicated and committed approach to instruction. Jennifer firmly believes that creating a supportive and encouraging atmosphere is key to student success and enjoyment, making her an invaluable asset to the ActivePILOT team.

Active Pilot Team

John M Levy


John M Levy has been flying forever. Born and raised in California, John has spent his career flying in different roles. From flight instruction in the 80s to flying delivery to corporate pilot, John has done it all. John is a people person and believes what really makes the pilot industry great are the people. An avid surfer, boater, and fisher, John is always ready for a good time. After being with ActivePILOT for a year now, John says “I’m back at my roots teaching and loving every minute”. When you fly with John you will love every minute too!

Sergio Vasquez


Sergio Vazquez is a distinguished flight instructor at ActivePILOT, where he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the aviation community. Sergio specializes in accelerated programs, designed to efficiently progress students through their flight training milestones. Beyond his professional achievements in aviation, Sergio is also a talented singer and musician, showcasing his versatility and passion for both the skies and the stage. His unique combination of skills and interests makes him a valuable and inspirational figure at ActivePILOT, where he continues to guide and inspire aspiring pilots on their journey to becoming skilled aviators.

Active Pilot Team

Mitch Rittenhouse


Mitch grew up on Long Island, New York and lived there for 25 years. He completed his training in New York earning before moving to California. Mitch has a passion for aviation but also loves to be on the water and sailed his boat all the way from New York down to the Bahamas and back. In his free time you can catch Mitch sewing making clothes, hanging with friends, and playing video games. Mitch strives to provide quality instruction and above all make learning aviation a fun experience.

Evan Silver


Meet Evan, a certified flight instructor who loves to bring his aviation expertise to the skies. He has his CFI, CFII, and MEI so he can help you achieve your aviation aspirations. With a background as an EMT for six years and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Evan combines precision in the air with a strong foundation in business. Born and raised in Southern California, he’s not only a skilled pilot but also a dedicated traveler, exploring the world beyond the clouds.

Active Pilot Team

Said Hage


Said Hage is a dynamic and engaging flight instructor known for his infectious happiness and friendly demeanor. Hailing from Lebanon, Said brings a unique international perspective to his teaching, enriching the learning environment for his students. Currently certified as a CFI, he is in the process of obtaining his Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII) certification, demonstrating his dedication to his professional development and his passion for aviation. Said’s enthusiasm for teaching others to fly is palpable in every lesson, making him a favorite among students who appreciate his encouraging and positive approach.

Active Pilot Team

Zack Jbara 


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Zachary “Zack” Jbara’s passion for aviation ignited at the tender age of 15 when he began flight training. While he initially envisioned a career in the performing arts, earning his Private Pilot Certificate opened his eyes to his true calling. He pursued his dream at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, earning his commercial flight training certification and an FAA air traffic control Collegiate Training Institute certificate. Returning to Southern California, Zack completed his flight instructor training with ActivePilot, ready to share his love of flying with others. When he’s not in the air or instructing, Zack enjoys flight simulation, travel, motor racing, and music. His ultimate goal is to inspire others to achieve their aviation dreams, proving that the sky is truly the limit.

Gian Caterina


Gian, originally from Brazil, brings his lifelong passion for aviation to the classroom. Though he spent 20 years building a successful career in the restaurant industry, the call of the skies proved too strong to ignore. He’s now living his dream, sharing his enthusiasm for aviation with the next generation of aviators. When he’s not teaching, Gian cherishes time with his family, especially watching his son dominate the basketball court. He’s also an avid cook, surfer, sports enthusiast, and passionate soccer fan.

Larry Brennan


Larry is a lifelong aviator dedicated to sharing his passion for aviation. Larry joined the Army on his 18th birthday and retired 23 years later and now flies Boeings for a legacy airline. Larry soloed his Grumman AA1B in 1986, has been an active CFI since 1997, and is an active warbird and formation pilot who led a 57-aircraft mass arrival into the 2017 Oshkosh AirVenture. He holds degrees from Brown University and UCLA Law and actively practices aviation law as a panel attorney for AOPA.

Matias De Lauro

CFI Matias@ActivePILOT.com

Matias De Lauro, a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) with a passion for flying, began his aviation journey as an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic, which endowed him with a robust understanding of airplane systems. This technical foundation has been instrumental in his teaching, as he emphasizes the critical importance of safety while ensuring his students also enjoy the process of learning to fly. Beyond the cockpit, Matias enjoys playing soccer and spending time at the beach, balancing his professional dedication with personal hobbies that keep him active and engaged.

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Offering Full Financing!

We are thrilled to introduce our new comprehensive flight training financing options. Unlock your potential with financing terms spanning a generous 9 to 15 years, accompanied by rates that stand as a benchmark of competitiveness. As a testament to our commitment to your success, we proudly present deferred payment options, ensuring that your dreams take flight without immediate financial burdens.

Flight Support Team

From The Friendly Faces At The Front Desk to The Behind-The-Scenes Administrative Wizards

Flight instructors are not the only stars of our team; the support personnel at ActivePILOT Flight Academy are equally vital. From the friendly faces at the front desk to the behind-the-scenes administrative wizards, our support staff ensures that every aspect of the student’s journey is smooth and seamless. Always approachable, they are ever ready to offer guidance, answer questions, and provide unwavering support throughout the flight training process.

Active Pilot Team

Jean Carlo Diaz

Office Manager, Student Pilot

Jean is the muscle of operation at ActivePILOT. While being a student pilot, Jean oversees the day-to-day operations of the school, and nothing gets passed him unchecked. His love for flight training and bright thinking has made him a valuable asset to our team and his generosity to help newcomers into the flight training programs has made him a devoted resource to his fellow students.

Amelia Brennan

Office Coordinator, Private Pilot

Born and raised in the vibrant aviation community, Amelia is a private pilot involved in different non-profit organizations that foster flying like the Mooney Caravan and Women in Aviation International. She is on the career-track here at ActivePILOT, focused on obtaining her ratings and eventually becoming a Certified Flight Instructor. With her positive energy, passion and personal experience, she has become a valuable asset to our school.

Management Team

From Paperwork to Propellers: The Engine Behind Our Success

And driving this cohesive unit is our visionary management team, whose passion for aviation and dedication to excellence set the tone for the entire academy. Comprising aviation industry veterans and skilled professionals from various fields, they meticulously curate the curriculum, establish safety protocols, and continually seek innovative teaching methods to ensure the highest standard of flight training.

Active Pilot Team

Ari Hovnanyan

Executive Director, CFI, CFII, ATP

Ari has been flying for over 25 years and has experience with flying various aircraft. As Director of Operations, Ari oversees multiple aspects of the organization. Some of his tasks include aircraft management, student relations, program development, and recruitment. However, what gives him the most enjoyment is flying with students and conducting stage checks throughout their flight training.

Active Pilot Team

Leonardo Aristizabal

Director of Training, CFI, CFII, ATP

Leo was born in Cali, Colombia, and was accepted to the Colombian Naval Academy where he graduated as an officer and earned a bachelor’s degree in Naval Science. After 11 years of service in the Navy, he moved to California in 2009 and served in the US military.

Active Pilot Team

Amin Siavush

Director of Operations, IA, CFI, CPL

Amin is a certified flight instructor with two bachelor’s degrees in Business Communication and Organizational Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara and a certificate in Business Leadership from the UC Santa Barbara Extension. His immersion in the field of communication arts has enhanced his capabilities and strengths in marketing and has featured extensive experience in venture capital projects. Additionally, his experiences in the aviation sector have given him great insights and passion as to where he intends to devote his strength.

More About Our Team

Together, the Active Pilot team forms a tight-knit family, with a shared vision of fostering a new generation of skilled, safety-conscious, and confident aviators. Whether a student dreams of soaring through the clouds as a commercial pilot, pursuing a career in the military, or simply exploring the wonders of private aviation, Active Pilot team is devoted to providing the guidance and support needed to make those dreams a reality.

At ActivePILOT, we believe that the sky is not just a destination; it is a limitless canvas for dreams to take flight. And with our exceptional flight instructors, dedicated support personnel, and visionary management team, we invite you to join us on this incredible journey towards the skies. Together, we’ll turn your passion for flying into a lifelong adventure, creating memories that will soar far beyond the horizon. So come, take the leap, and let us be your wings to success. Welcome to ActivePILOT Flight Academy, where the sky is just the beginning.