Meet Our Instructors

Adam Valencic

Adam started flying with his Uncle in 1992. At the age of 19 Adam began taking flying lessons and earned his Private Pilot’s License in July of 2005. Adam came to Orlando, FL to attend the University of Central Florida, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Finance. While at UCF Adam began plans for First Landings Aviation, earned his Flight Instructors certificate, and now focuses on sport pilot instruction. Adam has amassed over 1300 hours of flight time, with over 800 hours of instruction given.  His outlook on flying is simple...have fun and show the students the safe way to fly an airplane. He is dedicated to sharing his love of aviation with others through affordable, quality flight training, which is the driving force behind First Landings Aviation.

Aside from teaching people to become Pilots, he is also a licensed Airframe and Powerplant mechanic and enjoys working on the planes that he flies. Adam is also an Eagle Scout and in his off time enjoys playing racquetball, golfing, hiking, camping, and competing the occasional Pentathlons.

Jose Diaz Reyes

Jose is a native of Puerto Rico and after 15 years in the casino industry, Jose decided to attend college and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from UCF.  While at UCF, Jose earned his wings here at First Landings and hasn’t looked back.

Along with Flight Instructor’s duties, Jose is also Flight School Manager here at First Landings Aviation.  When not working at First Landings Jose enjoys playing golf, softball and spending time with friends and family.

Andrew McConathey

Growing up, Alloway native Andrew McConathey had lofty aspirations. He dreamed of becoming a pilot “There’s just nothing that compares,” Andrew says of flying. “The freedom is unmatched. When you’re flying, all other worries just go away.”

In December 2011, he graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science, business administration minor and commmercial pilot concentration. He is looking forward to a career as a flight instructor.

Jim Shoemaker

Jim Shoemaker became an air traffic control specialist with the United States Marines. After five years he went on to other things but his love for aviation would never leave him. He then went on to school in Kentucky to get his commercial, instrument, multi engine, and instructor ratings. When Jim isn't flying you can find him at the beach, hanging out with friends or taking pictures.

Filipe Silva

Filipe has been flying for 5 years. After leaving Rhode Island College he obtained his Private Pilot’s license in North Carolina. he then attended a Flight Academy in Florida where he obtained his Instrument, Commercial, and Flight Instructor Ratings.
Favorite Aviation Saying: “Airspeed is life, Altitude is life insurance”


Etian "Felipe" Contreras

Etian was born in Chile and moved with his family to Salt Lake City, Utah when he was 12 years old. After high school, he became a commercial diver and a diver medic. Before FLA he worked in health care as a hyperbaric technician.

He trained as a pilot in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he earned his commercial ratings. He earned his CFI at First Landings Aviation.

When he isn't flying, he spends every available moment with his Son.


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