Joel Pierce ,
General Manager, Chief Flight Instructor & Charter Pilot
With well over 20 years of flight experience, Joel’s passion for flight knows no bounds. In 2002 Joel earned his private pilot certificate, later attending the International Air Land Emergency Resource Team (ALERT) Academy where he obtained his instrument rating along with his commercial and flight instructor certificates.
At over 5,000 hours of flight instruction, Joel now leads the staff at Sweet Aviation and passionately assists the aviation enthusiasts of Fort Wayne with reaching their dreams of flight. He is type rated in Sweet Aviation’s Cirrus Vision Jet, certified to fly client’s T-28, as well as highly skilled in aerobatic maneuvers in the Super Decathlon.
Lorin Kaney ,
Chief Charter Pilot
Lorin began his journey in aviation in 2003 at the ALERT Academy in Texas, eventually obtaining his private pilot license, instrument rating, A&P license, and CFI/CFII.
Born in Northwest Indiana, Lorin moved to Fort Wayne with his wife and what he enjoys most about Sweet Aviation is the opportunity to share in the joy of flight with his students as well as guide them to becoming safe and proficient pilots.
Joe Kobiela ,
Joe logged his first pilot in command time in 1979, since then he has flown 14,000 hours as a private, charter, and instructor. After retiring from Dana Corporation with 31 years of seniority he is finally working his dream job as a charter pilot at Sweet Aviation. He loves to help his passengers have a safe and stress-free trip every time.
In addition to being a charter pilot, Joe is also a single and multi-engine engine airline transport pilot, single and multi-engine instrument flight instructor, King Air 350 type rating.
Joe lives in Auburn with his wife of nearly 40 years Pat, their Golden Retriever, and a cat, and has two grown daughters. In his spare time he loves to run, lift weights, read military history, and of course fly.
Steven Shawd ,
Steve Shawd first discovered his passion for flight through a ground school course he took in college. That passion led him to pursue further training. He eventually earned his private pilot license, instrument rating, multi-engine, and commercial. Born and raised in South Dakota, Steve accepted a job with a Fort Wayne manufacturer in 1996, putting down roots in his new city alongside his wife and two children. He’s since retired from what he calls a long, satisfying career in manufacturing, which has finally allowed him to pursue his dream job of being a charter pilot for Sweet Aviation.
Tyson Whitner ,
A Fort Wayne native, Tyson first got his taste of flying at Smith Field with the Young Eagles. He followed that passion through high school, participating in programs that led him towards his A&P license. He later graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in Professional Flight Technology while playing football for the Sycamores.
Tyson also has his private, instrument, commercial, and CFI/CFII certificates and is eager to share his passion for flying with the Fort Wayne community.
Paul Wilhelmson ,
Growing up in Bolivia flying mission aviation airplanes, Paul’s passion for flying is vast. He earned his private, instrument, commercial and A&P licenses at the school of Missionary Aviation Technology in Michigan, later spending a few years working as a pilot and A&P in both Indonesia and Bolivia.
Previously, Paul worked in Indianapolis obtaining his multi-engine commercial and CFI ratings.
He enjoys sharing his unique experience and passion for aviation with others as well as spending time with his wife, Jami, and their four children.
Katelyn Foutz ,
Charter Pilot Second in Command
Katelyn comes from a long line of flying enthusiasts. Her family were members of the Yankee Air Force and for a time were associated with the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville, Michigan. In addition, her grandfather worked in a B-24 bomber plant during WW2 and her father served in the Air Force where he worked on F-16s.
Katelyn attained her private pilot certificate from Purdue University and completed the remainder of her training at LIFT Academy. She recently attained her certificate to become an Advanced Ground Instructor as well. In addition, Katelyn also graduated from Ivy Tech Indianapolis with an associate’s degree in general studies and a technical certificate in business administration too.
When not at work Katelyn enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband Joshua and their children hiking through local and state parks.
Rachel Cheng ,
Charter Operations Specialist
Originally from Fort Wayne, Rachel joined the Sweet Aviation family in 2015 and has over fifteen years of customer service experience. She is a graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with a bachelor’s in psychology and is looking forward to becoming a pilot herself soon.