Meet the Desert Jet Team!
Denise Wilson, CAM, President and CEO, Director of Operations
Denise Wilson founded Desert Jet with the intent of bringing the desert’s corporate flight departments together as a cooperative to reduce the cost of aircraft operating expenses. This cooperative expanded to fill the need for a quality private jet charter service in the region.
Denise’s experience prior to forming Desert Jet includes both flying and management positions for several airline, charter and corporate flight departments. Her expertise is in aircraft acquisition and management as well as in the implementation of programs to enhance the safety of flight operations. She provides turbine transition, initial operating experience and standardization training for pilots new to aircraft type, specializing in the Citation family of aircraft.
Denise is qualified by the National Business Aviation Association as a Certified Aviation Manager (CAM). She has approximately 7000 hours of flight experience, with over 3000 hours of pilot in command and single pilot experience in Citations (Citation Encore, Bravo, Ultra, Excel, 501, II, S/II, V, CJ, CJ1, CJ2, CJ3). She has type ratings in the Citation 500 and 525 series, Gulfstream III, Boeing 737, Hawker 1000, Westwind and the Saab 340. She is the company’s Check Airman.
Denise was named one of 2013′s Enterprising Women of the Year. Denise was a finalist in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2010 contest, in the Emerging Entrepreneur category. She was the keynote speaker at the Women in Aviation, International Conference in 2010 and a presenter on the topic of vetting business jet providers at the National Business Aviation Association’s Annual Conference in 2011. She has been featured, published, and quoted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Aviation for Women Magazine, Palm Springs Life, Twin and Turbine Magazine, AutoPILOT Magazine, FlyCorporate Magazine, NBAA’s Business Insider as well as several local and regional publications.
Denise attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Music Performance (Oboe), and attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree and minored in Aviation Safety. She is a member of Angel Flight West, Women in Aviation, Women in Corporate Aviation, Women Presidents’ Organization, CEOs Against Cancer and the National Business Aviation Association.
James Silverman, Director of Maintenance
James Silverman brings over 25 years of aircraft maintenance experience and expertise to his role as Director of Maintenance for Desert Jet. In addition, James is the Manager for Desert Jet Maintenance, specializing in maintenance specific to the Cessna Citation model aircraft.
James grew up in an aviation family and recalls going to airshows with his family. His father recently retired after 46 years with the Grumman Aerospace Corporation as an engineer. His brother is also a retired Lt Colonel & pilot in the United States Air Force.
James’ extensive experience includes key positions such as Citation fleet manager at a large aircraft charter and management company as well as Director of Maintenance for a Part 135 operator. Jim has had factory training on most Cessna Citation model aircraft as well as P&W and Williams International engines. He holds both FAA Airframe & Powerplant licenses plus an Inspection Authorization.
James loves spending time riding motorcycles and off road vehicles at the desert with his family as well as boating and other outdoor activities.
Nick Sanders, Director of Safety
Nick Sanders joined Desert Jet as a captain on the Citation fleet. Nick began his aviation pursuits at a young age and earned his pilot’s license while still in high school. Nick’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start-up his own aircraft management company right out of college. He continues his entrepreneurial pursuits today as the founder and President of a janitorial company with over 30 employees. Prior to joining Desert Jet, Nick served as Chief Pilot for a Las Vegas-based aircraft charter and management company. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology – Professional Pilot from Utah State University, with type ratings in the Citation 500 series and the Lear Jet.
As Desert Jet’s Director of Safety, Nick has instituted several safety initiatives and promoted safety as an integral part of every team member’s responsibility. Nick was the recipient of NBAA’s Corporate Aviation Management scholarship award in 2012.
Nick takes pride in ensuring that his passengers feel safe and always have a positive and comfortable flying experience. Nick says his nicest compliment from a passenger was given to him by Bette Midler, who said his landings were the best she ever experienced, making Nick “the wind beneath her wings.”
Clair Burke, Director of Client Services
Clair Burke joined the Desert Jet team in 2010 and quickly earned her reputation for excellence. She brings a long history of customer service and sales experience to her role in the charter department at Desert Jet. Clair schedules client flights and coordinates specialty services such as passenger ground transportation and inflight catering. She provides the classic Desert Jet “above and beyond” service in an amazingly effortless manner. Clair’s professionalism, charming voice, and quick wit serve her well as she synchronizes the multitude of details needed to ensure a perfect trip for our clients.
Rob Wilson, CAM, Pilot
Rob Wilson has over 23 years of flying experience and is qualified by the National Business Aviation Association as a Certified Aviation Manager (CAM). His previous experience includes the positions of Director of Operations and Chief Pilot for several charter and corporate flight departments. Previous to beginning his corporate flight career, Rob was a Captain, Check Airman and standardization pilot for a large national airline.
Before he started his flying career, Rob was a producer, engineer, consultant, and on-air talent at a number of radio stations across the country, including KIFM and KGB-FM in San Diego and WNUA-FM in Chicago. Rob produced “A Touch of Jazz”, a syndicated weekly radio program on over 90 stations that featured contemporary jazz and was hosted by radio legend Allison Steele, New York’s “Nightbird”. He also ran his own production company, recording jingles and background music for radio station’s musical logos and commercials.
Rob has over 11,000 hours, over 9000 of this as pilot in command. He has type ratings in the Citation 500 and 525 series, Citation Mustang, Saab 340, Hawker 1000 and the Westwind.
Rob attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he majored in Professional Aeronautics and was on the Dean’s List.
Brendan Springer-Davis, Pilot
Brendan Springer-Davis learned to fly while in high school. After completing his pilot studies and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science with a minor in Meteorology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he began an internship which led to a decade of employment with a corporate flight department. His experience includes flying the Citation Encore, V, Bravo and Falcon 900 as well as managerial experience as an assistant Chief Pilot for a charter company.
A captain on Desert Jet’s fleet of Citation jets, he also manages Desert Jet’s extensive fuel procurement program, which averages a savings of over $10,000 per month for each of our aircraft’s fuel purchases.
Brendan’s ever-positive outlook on life and his ambition to progress his career in aviation inspire all those that come in contact with him.
Jason Herman, Assistant Chief Pilot
Jason Herman first took the controls of an airplane when he was 7 years old. Under the instruction of his father and grandfather, he accomplished his first solo flight on his 16th birthday and earned his first pilot certificate the following year.
Jason’s involvement in aviation runs deep. His background includes several years in the role of flight coordinator for a large charter company in the Northeast in addition to his experience flying various turbine aircraft. He holds Cessna Citation 525 series and Citation Mustang type ratings for single pilot operations. As the Assistant Chief Pilot, Jason currently crews our Citation CJ3 and Citation Mustangs and helps oversee pilot training, regulatory compliance, and safety audits.
Jason attended Purdue University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology and graduated with highest distinction, in three years. He was also the recipient of the prestigious CAE SimuFlite CitationJet Type Rating Scholarship and NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers Scholarship in 2012.
Tara Terhorst, Director of Training
Tara Terhorst joined Desert Jet with significant experience in the Citation V and Citation Bravo, as well as experience flying for both airline and charter operations. A driven and goal-oriented individual, Tara knew from an early age that she wanted to be a pilot. In fact, she still has a copy of the report she wrote in the third grade on Amelia Earhart’s adventures.
Tara was born in the Netherlands and speaks fluent Dutch. Her passion for aviation was sparked by the desire to travel. She graduated from high school early, at the age of 16, and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, graduating magna cum laude.
Tara’s volunteer experience includes working with the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago, Youth Outreach tutoring programs and working with children with disabilities.
Aaron Michaels, Pilot
Aaron Michaels began flying while in high school, soloing for the first time on his 16th birthday and earning his pilot certificate the following year. He attended Purdue University, where he graduated with both his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology and Master of Science in Aviation and Aerospace Management. His focus on safety and human error research allows him to contribute important skills and knowledge to the Desert Jet team.
Aaron’s previous experience includes working within the corporate flight department of a Fortune 500 company as well as the airline environment.
Aaron’s most significant personal contribution to his community was his participation in Able Flight, a program that facilitated a means for individuals with disabilities to achieve their dream of learning to fly. Aaron is proud that one of his quadriplegic students earned his pilot certificate faster than most able-bodied students. Aaron was named the Able Flight Instructor of the Year in 2011.
Kellen Hytry, Pilot
Kellen Hytry learned to fly at Arizona State University in Mesa, Arizona and brings years of flight experience to Desert Jet. With a background in corporate and airline flying, Kellen understands customer service and strives to deliver the best experience possible during each flight. He has lived in many unique places including Hawaii where he managed a medical airlift operation.
As a pilot for Desert Jet, Kellen crews our Citation 500 series aircraft and also supervises our aircraft stock and supplies program. He has volunteered as a flight instructor for the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon where he taught young adults how to fly in connection with their private pilot scholarship program. Additionally, he always takes the opportunity to share his passion for aviation with young adults and children who have never been inside the cockpit of a corporate jet before.
Kay Creed, Accountant
Kay brings over 25 years of accounting and human resources experience to her position at Desert Jet. Kay handles all aspects of the financial tracking for all the managed aircraft in Desert Jet’s fleet, as well as accounts receivable and payable. “Numbers are my thing,” admits Kay. A Southern California native, Kay worked the last 12 years in public accounting, juggling over 60 different company accounts simultaneously. Kay is an avid supporter of many local organizations, such as Relay for Life and the Soroptimist House of Hope, where she volunteers as Treasurer.
Paul Alexander, Maintenance Technician
Paul Alexander boards the Desert Jet team after completing a 2.5 year aviation maintenance technology program in San Diego, CA. Though fresh from school, he has over two years experience maintaining Cessna Citations CJ3, V, S/II, Bravo as well as Beech King Air, and Lear aircraft. He assists James Silverman, Director of Maintenance, in ensuring Desert Jet’s fleet is always ready for flight.
Paul graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Graphic Design, followed by several years of successful work as a web and graphic designer before realizing his true calling was in aviation. The hardworking and detailed mindset he developed in the design world, he now brings to the aviation world.
Along with his passion for aviation, Paul spends his time in a wide array of activities such as motorcycle riding, hiking, astronomy, traveling, music, photography, juggling, and reading.
Brad Lindow, Pilot
Brad Lindow was convinced he wanted to be a pilot ever since he attended an aviation summer camp as a teenager. He was mentored by the training director of a major airline and was offered the opportunity to take his first flight lesson in the right seat of a Boeing 747.
Brad graduated with highest honors from the University of North Dakota where he was a recipient of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences Flight Scholarship. He brings years of corporate aviation experience to Desert Jet as a pilot for a charter operator in San Diego, mentor-pilot/instructor for pilots transitioning to their first turbine aircraft and as an aircraft manager for private individuals. Brad enjoys the personal interaction with passengers and strives to exceed their expectations during each experience at Desert Jet.
Brad and his wife recently welcomed their second daughter to their family. When he isn’t flying, Brad enjoys playing with bubbles and other youthful activities with his family.