About Us

Philosophy We Strive For

In General Aviation, flight instruction doesn’t always fit around the pilot’s schedule. At the core of all of our programs we recognize the value of time while maintaining the highest level of safety. Our programs are industry leading and our instructors are among the top in their field.

Flex Air By The Numbers

Miles Flown
Pilot Career Placements
Cups of Coffee
Cockpit Selfies


Paul Wynns – Chief Executive Officer

Paul Wynns has worked in aviation and aerospace his entire career, with experience including combat flight operations as a Navy pilot, leadership of military aviation maintenance programs, and management of leading-edge industry prototyping projects. He’s led teams in cultures and environments ranging from military to startup to the world’s largest aerospace company. Paul retired as a Naval Aviator from the S-3B Viking sea control community with over 20 years of combined active-duty and reserve service that included leadership of the aviation safety, training, standardization, and operating procedures program for all Navy Viking pilots, world-wide. While a program manager at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, he and his engineering teams were awarded two patents for their prototyping work. His educational background includes aerospace degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy and Stanford University, with an internship at the NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Paul is currently enrolled at the University of California, San Diego Rady School of Management in an MBA program emphasizing entrepreneurship in rapidly growing aviation training markets.

Charles Copeland – COO/Director of Flight Operations

Charles began his pilot training in 2006 while still in high school with a goal set to become a professional pilot. When he graduated in 2007, the airline industry was still in turmoil, so he initially went into a career as an operations manager and accountant. In 2013, he was going through instrument training and decided to continue his professional training and soar into the aviation industry. After obtaining his multi-engine instructor rating in 2015, he started Flex Air with a vision of creating affordable instruction with a holistic approach to training students. Charles flew the Citation Latitude and X+ for a few years while instructing at Flex Air. He now flies a 737 for a major cargo carrier while also managing the operations of Flex. Charles is actively involved in the National Gay Pilots Association, AOPA, NBAA Safety Committee and the Civil Air Patrol.

Board Advisors

Charles Johnson

Charlie Johnson

Charles (Charlie) B. Johnson is a veteran aerospace industry executive with a storied career of aviation and industry leadership. His career began in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot flying the F-105 in combat missions over Southeast Asia. In his civilian career, he was a pilot for golfer Arnold Palmer, Chief of production flight test for Learjet, Production flight test manager for Cessna Aircraft, Aviation manager for Koch Industries, and the President and Chief Operating Officer for Cessna.

Mr. Johnson has over 15,000 hours of flight time, including 5,000 hours as a test pilot. During his time at Cessna and Learjet he was involved with the certification of over 25 new models of aircraft. Mr. Johnson is also a well-known advocate for electric aviation and has worked in leadership roles at Bye Aerospace, the industry-leading manufacturer of the eFlyer 2 all-electric trainer aircraft.

As flight instructor, Mr. Johnson has helped many pilots solo on their 16th birthday and spread the love of flight to thousands of people through volunteer work at the Kansas Aviation Museum and Denver Wings over the Rockies Museum. He has been inducted into both the Kansas and Colorado Aviation Museum Halls of Fame.

Dr. Josh Shapiro, Ph.D.

Dr. Josh Shapiro is the Assistant Dean of Innovation and Research Affairs at UC San Diego Extension. His current evaluation projects cover a wide range of topics from healthcare, advanced manufacturing, STEM education, to the role of philanthropy in economic development. He has worked on a number of labor market and innovation reports including a grant from the National Science Foundation on the role social and cultural dynamics play in regional economic development. Dr. Shapiro was one of the core evaluators on the effectiveness of the Department of Labor’s $500 million WIRED initiative, which involved 15 regions across the United States. Additionally, he has conducted a number of community based research projects building indicators and dashboards to measure collective impact as well as working with non-profits throughout San Diego to demonstrate social change. Dr. Shapiro was instrumental in the creation of the first Income Share Agreement between an Extension school and a Workforce Investment Board. He has been awarded 5M in grants and philanthropy for this initiative and gained local and national media attention for this innovative program to serve underrepresented and unemployed individuals. Dr. Shapiro also leads UCSD’s Extension’s market research team, which focuses on assisting educational programs to conduct market research and curricula development for workforce and education training programs. He has taught classes on Research Methodology for UC San Diego and is trained in both Qualitative and Quantitative methodologies with a specialization in labor market data. Before attending graduate school Dr. Shapiro worked in the Conflict Resolution field in Washington D.C., was a public school teacher in South Carolina, and built homes with Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana. Dr. Shapiro holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and a B.A. in Social Thought and Analysis from Washington University in St. Louis.


Hanna Fowler – Chief Pilot

Hanna is a CFI, CFII, MEI at the San Diego location of Flex Air. A native of Atlanta, GA she was exposed to every facet of the aviation industry from a young age by her pilot parents. She has experience in airline pilot-pipeline programs, business aviation, general aviation, and both Part 61/Part 141 flight training programs. Hanna is very active in aviation philanthropy and works with professional organizations and youth development groups such as the Aviation Explorers, Women in Aviation, The Ninety-Nines, National Gay Pilots Association, and the Wingscouts. After graduating from Auburn University’s Aviation Management degree program she set out on a career path towards the airlines, where she ultimately met Charlie Copeland and learned of Flex Air’s mission to provide flexible, affordable flight training. Today she instructs full time in San Diego, teaches a private pilot course at the nearby Miramar College, and remotely manages the flight operations of the other Flex Air locations.

Matthew Curtis – Chief Safety Officer

Matthew began his adventure in aviation in 1996 at the Manhattan Regional Airport. Working at the airport, he traded hours fueling planes for dual flight instruction. Soon, at the young age of 16, he found himself a new Private Pilot! In 2003, after attending UND Aerospace in North Dakota where he completed all his professional licenses, he moved with his new wife to Minnesota where he owned and operated a Part 61 flight school for several years in Little Falls (KLXL). It was amongst those tall trees of Central Minnesota that Matthew accumulated more than 1500 hours of dual flight instruction given in countless makes and models of airplanes. His favorite flying to date is the old PA-12 on EDO 2000 floats in Northern Minnesota! In 2007 the smell of jet fuel (and a better paycheck!) lured him away to fly corporate jets for Ashley Furniture in La Crosse, Wisconsin. After 7 years of flying corporate jets, Matthew “packed up” his wife, kids, and dog and moved back to his hometown of Manhattan in June of 2014. He now considers international sales his career at Agtech, Inc. Matthew holds an ATP license and type ratings in the Citation 500 series, Learjet 45, Challenger 300, and Challenger 604 / 605. He has never forgotten the excitement of a new students and the real reason people fall in love with aviation. Matthew looks forward to sharing the dream of flight with you soon!

Jeremy Deckinger – Advanced Flight Instructor

Jason Date – Advanced Flight Instructor

Michael Bower – Sales Team Lead


Kirk Iseli – Pilot Development Coach