ASU Welcomes Army Veterans to Pilot Training Staff

Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Inc. (ASU), announced this week that Josh Grier and Tony Tsantles joined ASU’s training team. Grier was named the new Director of Training and Tsantles in the newest NVG Instructor. ASU has added nine new employees this year, six of whom have served in the military. Both Tsantles and Grier have extensive military experience and training.

For more than 17 years, Grier worked in aviation serving with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army National Guard. He earned a Masters degree in Aeronautical Science with distinction from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics. As a combat aviator, he served in Afghanistan as a platoon leader in charge of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters. He also served in Iraq, Korea, Guam, and Saudi Arabia.

“Grier is exactly the type of pilot that we wanted for our growing training program,” said former Army veteran pilot and ASU Director of Operations Justin Watlington. “We train pilots and crew members from all over the world that fly in a diversity of terrain. Grier’s military flying experience and deployments have given him vast experience flying with NVGs. Our operators come to train for anything from simple civil aviation operations to complex search and rescue missions. They will glean from Grier’s knowledge and experience in addition to the rest of our team.”

Tsantles retired from the Army, took two weeks off and joined ASU. Beforejoining the team, he was stationedin Fort Drum in New York as an Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot and instructor flying UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. He served as an instructor for more than seven years. His experience also includes a deployment in South Korea where he inspected systems and component replacements on Army Black Hawks and was a medevac flight crew member.

The ASU training team also includes Army Aviation, combat veterans Dan Hutchison and Brad Brummett. Both are highly decorated and served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Hutchison has been flying for 50 years as of August 2018.

ASU’s training program includes training pilots and crew members on initial, or recurrent training on night vision goggles, training FAA inspectors, and customized training for specialized missions. ASU has trained pilots all over the world and also conducted training classes in Boise, Idaho. ASU has both the fixed wing and rotorcraft FAA inspector training contract. ASU has trained more than 6,000 pilots and crew members and more than 80 FAA inspectors since the company launched the training program in 1999.

“At a time when the aviation industry is looking for experienced pilots, we are honoredthat some of our nation’s finest, are joining our ranks after serving their country,” said ASU President and retired Army aviator Jim Winkel. “ASU has a proud history of transitioning retired members of the military and active reserve and National Guard members to our team. Our pilots have flown all over the world. They have flown in different environments, landscapes, climates, andmissions. This expertise is priceless and adds great value to our customers’ training experience.”

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