Meet Our Exceptional Staff

Meet Our Flight Instructors

Sure, we have great airplanes, a superb flight training syllabus and a training environment that is second-to-none, but it is our flight instructors that really make the difference. The best in the industry! No joke!

An All-Star cast, SunState Aviation Flight Instructors are mature, experienced professionals with an array of impressive credentials! Listed below are our instructors with their respective ratings.

Sean-Michael Kemp – Flight Instructor

CFI, CFI-I, MEI, ATP, Gold Seal Flight Instructor

A native to Florida, Sean received his Bachelors in Logistics Management at the Florida Institute of Technology. He currently does progress checks at SunState when he is not flying with SkyWest Airlines. Sean is also a former elementary school teacher and currently helps out as a soccer referee in youth, high school, college, & professional games. 

Jay Irvine – Flight Instructor


Jay hails from Nova Scotia, Canada! After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree, he moved to the US in 1998 to start a career in aviation. He attended a flight school in Florida where he received his Private, Instrument, Commercial and CFI ratings before being hired to instruct there. Jay instructed for 2 years before moving onto the regional airlines in 2001. In 2006, he moved to Dubai to work for Emirates Airline, where he flew the A330, A340 and A380 during his 10 years overseas, eventually leaving as an A380 Captain, Instructor and Check Airman. Since 2016, Jay has been back stateside working for United Airlines, where he’s flown the B737, B757, B767 and currently flies the B777.

Shane Weber – Flight Instructor

CFI, CFI-I, AGI, Gold Seal Flight Instructor

Born & raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, Shane has over 16 years of experience in the aviation industry. He has served in the U.S. Navy where he worked as an Airframe Mechanic. After his term of service ended, Shane attended Broward College where he earned his pilot certificates all while working part-time as an aircraft mechanic, G.I. Bill certifying official, & in the Navy Reserve. Shane then went on to work in finance at a large aircraft manufacturer where he dealt with Part 91 & 135 operators & also did part-time flight instructing. Eventually, he decided to leave that career behind to become a full-time flight instructor where he is passionate about seeing his students grow & develop. In his free time, Shane loves to visit all of Central Florida’s attractions with his wife & two kids.

Michael McDonald – Flight Instructor


In his prior life, Michael received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Florida, leading him to spend half of his career as an advisor to municipal bond issuers before following his lifelong aspiration of becoming a pilot. Michael strives to develop the next generation of pilots by leveraging his passion for aviation and stressing continual learning and improvement throughout their flight careers. Most of his free time is spent with his wife and dog, as well as fitting in the occasional Ironman Triathlon.

Carlos Fernandez – Flight Instructor

CFI, CFI-I, Gold Seal Flight Instructor

Originally from Venezuela, Carlos grew up in Central Florida where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from UCF and then his Master’s of Science in Structural Engineering from Stanford University. For years, he explored aviation as a private pilot. Eventually, he decided to pursue his dream of a Career in Aviation. Carlos enjoys teaching and seeing his students accomplish their goals in aviation. On his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, as well as traveling to new places.

Juliana Correa – Flight Instructor


Born in Colombia, Juliana moved to the U.S. with her family when she was only six years old. Throughout her life, her father always instilled in her that “there is no such thing as luck, only hard work”. Juliana attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she majored in Aeronautics. For the past three years, she has worked in customer service while also earning her instructor rating. Juliana hopes to help her students not only learn to fly, but to fall in love with the sciences involved. In her free time, she enjoys acrylic painting, anime, & fitness.

Cesar Achurra – Flight Instructor


Born in New York City, Cesar moved to Panama at the age of 2, where he completed high school & his culinary arts degree. After that, Cesar decided that aviation was the field that he wanted to be in, so he moved back to the US to do so. Once he obtained the necessary licenses, he decided to become a CFI. Being a CFI has brought him a lot of satisfaction as he sees his students grow and he plans to continue to help his students reach their dream of flying an airplane. Cesar eventually wants to be able to apply to an airline or cargo company to further his aviation dream. In his free time, Cesar likes to draw, read & write novels, cook and travel.

Sara Landrum – Flight Instructor


Sara grew up in Virginia where she also earned her Bachelor’s in Education from Liberty University. Afterwards, she spent a few years in Education, but she soon began flying after work in order to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot. Eventually, she moved to Florida to continue working on her flight ratings. Sara is excited to be a part of SunState Aviation & looks forward to training her students.

David Bliek – Flight Instructor


Dave hails from New York State. He received his Bachelors in Physics from Clarkson College of Technology & his Masters in Optics from the University of Rochester. After retiring from being a Product Development Manager for Xerox Corp., he obtained his Commercial, CFI & CFI-I certifications. Since then, he has instructed in the state of New York & joined the SunState team last year. His objective is to train the next generation of aviators. Dave’s greatest thrills in aviation come from the “aha” moments experienced by his students & ultimately, their checkride successes.

Meet Our Support Staff

SunState Aviation is not composed only of flight instructors though, we also have our lovely support staff that you can generally find behind the front counter, ready to help you whenever you need it!

Steve Graham – Chief Flight Instructor, Founder, CEO

CFI, CFI-I, ATP, FITS Trained for G1000, 15+ Years Experience

Steve is the founder and CEO of SunState Aviation. He provided accelerated flight training as an independent flight instructor for many years and served as the Chief Flight Instructor for a very large flight school prior to opening SunState Aviation in 2002. Steve hails from Cullman, Alabama.

Isaiah Maldonado

A native to Florida, Isaiah received his Associates in Physics from Valencia College & Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University, where his concentrations were Aviation & Computational Sciences. Isaiah is a former middle school & high school math teacher. His goal is to help everyone accomplish their goals & is also the primary proctor for FAA written exams at SunState. Recently, he also obtained his Commercial Pilot License. Apart from aviation, Isaiah is a car/motorcycle enthusiast & loves astronomy.

Gold Seal Flight Instructor

 What is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor?

  The FAA issues the coveted Gold Seal Flight Instructor certificate only to those instructors who give a lot of flight instruction and whose students have an 80% success rate of passing their checkride on their first attempt! This means you can have a high degree of confidence that the training you are paying for is up to date, accurate, and efficient. Inefficient training is expensive, and having to retake a flight test can cost hundreds of dollars more. At SunState Aviation, you can expect to be given top quality flight training and to pass your check-ride on the first attempt. A Gold Seal CFI certificate is the seal of approval the FAA gives to exceptional instructors.