Meet The Team

We have a core team of in-house instructors as well as a number of other instructors / examiners that work in commercial aviation and come to teach with us in their spare time. Collectively we have a wide range of skills, experience and qualifications for fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Read on to find out more…

Profile picture of Simon Kalas - Managing Director

Simon Kalas


Simon is co-owner of the business and holds a LAPL License. Read his full bio >>

Steve Mason

Head of Training

Steve provides instruction towards LAPL, Night Rating, SEP Re-validation and Aerobatics rating. He is also an examiner for the CAA theory exams required for the issue of a PPL, LAPL and IR(R). Read his full bio >>

Profile picture of Glynn Matthews - Operations Director

Glynn Matthews

Head of Operations

Dr. Rob Simpson

Aeromedical Examiner

Rob is a keen pilot and our onsite Aeromedical Examiner (AME). Read his full bio >>

Tom Berkely

Flight Instructor

Tom provides training for PPL (A) , LAPL (A) and SEP ratings. Read his full bio >>

Profile picture of Carmen Gardien - Flight Instructor

Carmen Gardien

Flight Instructor

Carmen is a flight instructor for LAPL (A) and PPL (A). Read her full bio >>

Ali Ashgar

Flight Instructor

Ali has been a certified flight instructor for Almat Flying Academy for the past 4 years. providing instruction for the PPL (A) and LAPL (A). Read his full bio >>

Profile picture of Phil Marshall Lee flight instructor and examiner

Phil Marshall Lee

Flight Instructor and Examiner

Phil provides instruction towards PPL (A), LAPL (A), Night and SEP Re-validations. As an examiner Phil is also able to undertake skills tests for the the PPL (A) and LAPL (A). Read his full bio >>

Phil Walker

Flight Instructor

Phil is a commercial pilot of 737´s and as an instructor he provides training for LAPL & PPL licences as well as SEP and night ratings.

Profile pic of Ian Gerrard - flight instructor

Ian Gerrard

Flight Instructor

Ian started his flying career at Dundee in 1983, before joining the RAF in flight operations/flight planning/assistant air traffic controller roles. Read his full bio >>

Neil McKenzie

Flight Instructor

Neil has a wealth of experience and is able to instruct towards PPL (A), LAPL (A) and night rating, he is also able to conduct SEP Re-validations. When not flying jets around the world Neil still continues to enjoy instructing at Almat. Read his full bio >>

Mark Byron

Flight Instructor & Examiner

Mark is an instructor and examiner for LAPL (A) and PPL) and IR (R), SEP, MEP, Night and Aerobatics ratings. When he is not doing this he works for a large commercial aviation company.

Neil Hawkyard

Flight Instructor

Neil has extensive experience flying wide body jets for commercial airlines. As an instructor he teaches LAPL & PPL Licences as well as SEP, MEP, Night, IR (R) and aerobatics ratings.

Jerry Marsden

Flight Instructor

Jerry provides instruction towards LAPL, PPL, Night and the IR(R). Read his full bio >>

Robert (Max) Power

Flight Instructor & Examiner

Robert provides training and examination for LAPL (H) and PPL (H) on types R22, R44 and Squirrel. When he is not doing this he works as a commercial pilot. And yes, his middle name really is Max.

Dave Stapleton

Flight Instructor & Examiner

Dave is a commercial pilot and is abla able to offer instruction and examination for LAPL (A) and PPL (A) as well as SEP, MEP, Night and IR (R) ratings.

Gordon Walsh

Flight Instructor

Gordon provides instruction for PPL (A), LAPL (A) and SEP rating.

What Our Customers Say About Our Instructors:
I was one of those who got their flying lesson voucher on their birthday. I was pretty excited and arranged a lesson with Almat. All I was supposed to get was some basic navigating bordering on boring. This has all changed when I've met my flying instructor. Now within the 30 minutes of our time he has turned me into a MAN! Who can boast that they've done a barrel roll, inside loop, inverted flying up to 4Gs on their first lesson?! My expectation of an ordinary experience has turned into the most amazing! And he has even made a video of it for me and gave a voucher for a pint in a nearby pub! Thank you, Almat Aviation!
Arthur Bear
Arthur B.
15:01 03 May 21
I've been flying with Almat for approx 18 months now. They are a great bunch! Friendly, professional & extremely helpful. Carmen my instructor is superb at her job. Carmen is patient and knows the right time to give me some extra encouragement to build my confidence when needed. Steve is great too. He is always polite and has helped me many times with ground school. Ben and Simon also deserve a mention as part of the great bunch! I'd like to think I have made a few friends there too!
Anthony Michaelides
Anthony M.
17:47 30 Sep 20
I have been a member with Almat since June 2019 and am working towards my PPL(A) with my instructor Carmen. My progress has been good and I am nearly ready for my Qualifying Cross Coubtry flight
Paul Hayton
Paul H.
15:46 30 Sep 20
After a 15 year break from training, I resumed my training with Almat, and within just a few months I had gained my PPL(A). I particularly like the friendly atmosphere at Almat, and the professionalism of the instructors. I would give a special mention to Carmen Gardien, who guided me through the latter part of my training and always made flying fun. The ongoing membership programme is very useful giving decent discounts on training and aircraft hire. Definitely recommended.
Karl Galloway
Karl G.
15:20 30 Sep 20
In the past week, I have achieved my PPL with Almat Flying Academy. Being a member of this wonderful school has allowed me to gain the confidence and experience required for a future career in the skies. My flight instructor Carmen is a great teacher and made every moment interesting and exciting.
Cain Goodhand
Cain G.
15:12 30 Sep 20
Had a great time and would highly recommend Almat Flying Academy.My instructor Steve Mason made the experience amazing. Everything was explained in detail and made the flight unforgettable.
Kevin Kendall
Kevin K.
14:35 30 Aug 20
Completed my medical flight test. Very good customer service. Phil being my instructor did a very good job of everything. Very good prices as well.
Ahmet Gundogdu
Ahmet G.
18:08 20 Aug 20
After beginning to get nervous on commercial planes I decided to have a flying lesson at Almat. My instructor Ali was brilliant at explaining the whole process, the pre-flight checks, what is going on in the air, and what pilots are looking out for, and of course how I was going to fly! He applied this information to commercial flying too and has very much set my mind at ease.The flight itself was incredible! I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. We saw plenty of the local landmarks, and I had control for most of the flight. Ali has a great sense of humour too!This is absolutely something I will do again, and I urge everybody to give this a go!
Gareth Reed
Gareth R.
12:11 26 Mar 20
16/10/2019Had a fantastic flying experience with my son for his 18th birthday. We each had 30 mins in the co-pilot seat and 30 mins as a passenger in the 4 seater Cessna 172. Carmen was a brilliant pilot, guide and instructor. She let us at the controls for almost every manoeuvre (except take-off and landing) and was funny and engaging as well as informative. We flew over Rugby, Leamington, Warwick, Gaydon and everywhere in between. Such a brilliant time. Thank you Almat Flying Academy!
Nick Taylor
Nick T.
07:52 23 Oct 19
Wow! What a brilliant experience! I was bought the extended flying lesson as a gift from my family and it certainly didn't disappoint.Started with a briefing in the classroom by Simon and although I didn't really know anything about the technicalities of flying this short briefing really helped to prime me for what was to come.Once out on the tarmac I was handed over to my instructor, Steve and we were soon underway. Nothing really beats that take off moment which was my first in a light aircraft. Weather was overcast with cloud layer at around 3000ft which we were soon above, making for another great dimension to the experience. Steve was great at explaining everything as he was going along (even if I didn't really understand some of it!) and I very quickly felt at ease. I was surprised/delighted at how immersive and hands on the experience was and it went so quickly!Once back on the ground I found myself discussing course options (which i hadn't planned to!) and finding more out about the academy, which Simon talked me through.All in all an experience I hope I don't ever forget! Thanks guys, might be seeing you again!
Jonny Haynes
Jonny H.
22:51 12 Oct 19
I did a 30 minutes trial Arial lesson on 12th October. Since I did it early morning 9am it was a great experience. The weather was perfect, the skies were clear and the instructor Steve Mason was really helpful. I also got my photographs clicked and printed during the entire experience for an additional of £15/-.
Komal Jain
Komal J.
19:56 12 Oct 19
Had a lesson today, my second in 12 months. Todays instructor, Neil, took me up in a Cessna 152. Weather was gorgeous and I had control for most of the flight. Almat’s professionalism and attention to detail in all aspects, on the ground and in the air, was first class. Will certainly be back in the near future. Thanks guys.
Steve Lindley
Steve L.
17:47 21 Sep 19
Excellent flight experience on 19th September with our instructor Steve. Would recommend to anyone. A great day for myself and friend Jo plus our guest mascot - Norman. Thanks Almat.
Hazel Lunn
Hazel L.
19:45 20 Sep 19
We have booked several lessons for our Grandson Caden at Almat. The staff are amazing and so helpfull. Caden is only 13 years old and has learnt so much from flying with them and assisting him to reach his goal to become a pilot in the Air Force. Thanks to C Gardien his instructor yesterday, who gave us good feedback.
Angela Clark
Angela C.
12:58 30 Aug 19
I recently re-qualified for my PPL with Almat. Steve Mason was my instructor. I found him and the team to be completely professional, encouraging and supportive throughout the whole process. The club is friendly with lots of regular activities taking place that you can be involved in as much or as little as you want to. I did a ‘fly-over’ for charity a few weeks ago and Steve was so keen to support in any way possible, especially given that the manoeuvres were unusual. I particularly like the direction the club is going in recently. For example, more social seating for visitors, positioned overlooking the apron to help enhance the experience for both new ‘flyers’ and experienced ones. It certainly adds an even better wow factor for my passengers! 🙂
Christopher Bishop
Christopher B.
06:17 26 Aug 19
A wonderful place with outstanding staff! The people at Almat make it such a special flying school. I completed my PPL in the summer of 2017 and with the accomodation of the staff, especially Carmen, they enabled me to go from 2 hours flight time to passing my skills test in just 3 weeks and 2 days - if that doesn't show a dedicated team of instructors I'm not sure what does! I will be forever grateful to Almat and recommend anyone to take up a trial lesson with them.
15:13 21 Aug 19
I have just done an hour or aerobatics with an instructor called craig Bryan. What an amazing experience from beginning to end. I was made to feel welcomed and comfortable throughout and would recommend Almat academy to anyone that wants a thrilling experience.
Zara Duke
Zara D.
13:59 12 Aug 19
Really pleased with the direction Almat is going following the recent changes, they have focused on responding positively to feedback from club members and other customers. Great team of instructors making training fun while keeping it safe and professional. Benefits for club members are great, I have kept my membership here despite moving away from the area, can't beat the service provided for the price. Recently completed my Aerobatic training which was a fantastic experience, highly recommended!!
Chris Weaver
Chris W.
08:07 12 Aug 19
I first attended Almat for ground school to help with my exams over 18 months ago. I have since passed all of my exams and now am flying regularly with Carmen working towards my PPL. Carmen is a great instructor, she has the right amount of patience and encouragement when required. I have also flown with Steve on a few occasions who is also a great instructor. If you are looking to become a pilot or just one off experiences Almat Flying Academy are a great team. They regularly put on social events like BBQ's, days out flying and training courses and always make you feel very welcome.I thoroughly recommend Almat. A+!
Anthony Michaelides
Anthony M.
10:02 11 Aug 19
I gained my PPL with AFA. The whole team we’re professional, well organised and always made time to support me in my flying. Carmen, who is now Head of Training, is a truly amazing flight instructor, along with her excellent team! Next on my ‘tick’ list is to fly aerobatics with Steve, another fabulous instructor. I would recommend AFA to anyone interested in learning to fly or just for a flight experience, it’s great fun and a wonderful day out!
Tony Godfrey
Tony G.
09:19 09 Aug 19
I joined Almat in Jan 2018 and completed my PPL in Feb 2019 alongside studying for my degree course at University. I've now moved on to training for my commercial pilots license. Almat are one of the best in the business and have the best values for training, private hire and experience flights. The company has made and still making a huge amount of improvements. Almat has many opportunities which are not to be missed. Huge thank you to my instructors especially Carmen for supporting me through my PPL.
Hasnain Mirza
Hasnain M.
19:56 08 Aug 19
I have been flying with Almat for a while now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Carmen is a great instructor, really encouraging and has just got me through all of my theory exams.Lovely staff and a warm atmosphere with great socials.
Phoebe Jenner
Phoebe J.
18:45 08 Aug 19
Started my PPL(A) with Almat early in 2018, and completed it a few weeks ago. The guys (and girls) at Almat are always friendly and accommodating. The quality/stability of the instruction at first was a bit hit and miss but that all changed when I settled into training with Carmen. The instructors I had early on have moved on and the ones there now are great. I would definitely recommend Almat, and would encourage anyone who’s thinking about learning to fly to pop in and have a chat.
Karl Galloway
Karl G.
17:51 08 Aug 19
I've done my PPL training with Almat and would recommend it to anyone at any level. All the instructors in their new line-up are very professional and share their passion with all individuals. I have to highlight Carmen whose enthusiasm is unrivalled. I love flying with her, she knows how to teach you the right techniques and she knows how to have fun! Private hire is probably the cheapest in England, rivalling non-equity groups, with the platinum membership. Super highly recommend!
Arpad Kulik
Arpad K.
16:20 08 Aug 19
Excellent experience. Superb instructors/pilots (especially Steven!). All staff were very helpful and accommodating. I previously intensely disliked flying, now (thanks to Steven) I thoroughly enjoy it. Would recommend and will definitely return.
Emma Wilson
Emma W.
12:29 08 Aug 19
First flying lesson here in 2000 with an Argos flying experience for 80 quid. Started flying here when I was 12.(year2k until I had to stop due to financial issues) A well established flying school with the best instructors. I’m 31 now and looking to obtaining my PPL. I flew the 150s from age 12-15. A great school, and more importantly an experienced one. Which is gold dust in general aviation.
Nim James Sandhu
Nim James S.
22:38 05 Jan 19
I had an absolutely fantastic time, was amazed at how much I was aloud to do myself, I had a 1/2hr flying lesson in the two seater Cessna, my instructor was Carmen & she was brilliant, it was a treat for my 60th Birthday, I really want to come back & do it again, thank you so much for such an amazing experience xx
Jane Bemand
Jane B.
16:31 22 Aug 18
Fantastic flying lesson experience. Great instructor and had lots of control of the plane. Nice staff and easy going atmosphere.
Diana Hancox
Diana H.
16:03 10 Aug 18
Had a fab flying lesson, a birthday gift ...thanks to Steve the instructor very knowledgeable, loved every minute would recommend to everyone
Naz Hutchings
Naz H.
12:59 18 Jun 18
Bought my partner a flight lesson 45 mins great experience all the staff there were very friendly and helpful especially the young man on the front desk... showed us the route he was on got a radio so we could also hear when he was about to land 😊 his instructor was also very nice and ensured him as he was quite nervous... would definitely go back there fantastic present
Sharon A Beresford
Sharon A B.
14:55 12 Feb 18
First lesson yesterday ,a Father’s Day present from my daughter, great briefing from Dave, funny and informative, instructor Ian, a crazy Scot, was very experienced and totally chilled out, made me feel very relaxed and gained confidence as the flight progressed, all in all, a great experience and booking a further 2 hours very soon, already started my flight log with the intention of working towards my P.P.I. thanks to all at Almat Aviation.
Les Smith
Les S.
19:24 16 Oct 17
amazing experience fantastic instructor Ali. need another lesson? 👍👍✈
Alan Jones
Alan J.
06:37 01 Oct 17
Cancelled a couple of times but when it finally came together it was well worth the wait. My wife got me the Stunt flight experience with was incredible. Plenty of interaction with the aircraft. Great instructor, super fun from start to finish, brilliant and unique.
Steve Dee
Steve D.
18:32 08 Aug 16
Had an amazing time. Very friendly people. Pilot Craig Brian was great instructor. Would definitely do it again.
Carol Hughes
Carol H.
08:42 24 Jul 16
I had a 3 x 30 minute flight experience on Sunday 26th June which I have to say was impeccable. We got to handle the aircraft and move it out of the hangar (!) and I cannot fault the day at all. From start to finish, it was a great day - a welcoming greeting, introduction with the group and then on to the flying with a brilliant instructor! She was amazing and made the whole experience so relaxing! For me it was a trial flight and I will definitely be taking up lessons from this, really really enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone!
Ian Garfield
Ian G.
10:35 30 Jun 16
The instructor was very good and very patient. Even though I was bricking it and to short for flying it was an amazing experience
Maureen Lamothe
Maureen L.
19:50 29 May 16
Great experience I loved my flight on Monday the 1st. The conditions were a little windy. The instructor was very patient and really good. Thank you so much can't wait to do it again
Jason Brogan
Jason B.
09:23 03 Feb 16
Great experience today at 1300 hrs with instructor mark Byrom thanks for the experience will be doing it again and thanks for letting me fly.
Dean Shingler
Dean S.
15:31 26 Sep 15
Great experience , excellent instructor would love to go for licence now. Had a great flight. Thanks
Darren Morris
Darren M.
20:50 08 Aug 15