Fort Myers, Fla.—March 14, 2023—Paragon Flight Training, an award-winning flight training academy based at Page Field in Fort Myers, Florida, is pleased to announce that Lt. Col. Dennis Zabka, a member of the United States Air Force, will serve as its assistant chief flight instructor. The announcement was jointly made by Paragon Flight President Chris Schoensee and Chief Flight Instructor Jeff Wolf.
Lt. Col. Zabka, a career military professional, joins Paragon Flight as part of the United States Department of Defense SkillBridge Program, which is designed to assist military veterans in transitioning to civilian careers. Slated to officially retire on August 1, 2023, Lt. Col. Zabka’s most recent position was Chief, Future Operations, Seventh Air Force, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
With a stellar record throughout his career, Lt. Col. Zabka’s aviation achievements include twice being recognized as an exceptionally qualified B-52 pilot (top 5%), receiving an air medal for flying combat missions in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (Afghanistan), obtaining an aerial achievement medal for leading a 36-hour global power formation mission, and garnering the 2nd Operations Group Instructor Pilot of the Year honors in 2010. A 2003 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorodo, Lt. Col. Zabka holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management as well as a Master of Aeronautical Science, with distinction, from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2009. He is also an advanced instrument school graduate of the Air Force Flight Standards Agency.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Paragon Flight to be able to access the talents of Lt. Col. Zabka through the SkillBridge Program as our assistant chief flight instructor,” Wolf said. “His addition to the team will allow us to expand training capabilities at our new satellite location at the Punta Gorda Airport. This is a milestone in Paragon Flight’s history and comes as we anticipate doubling the number of flight instructors from 30 to 60 in the next 24 months.”
Paragon Flight has a rich history of flight instruction. In February 2023, it received repeat recognition by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world’s largest aviation association, as a Distinguished Flight School. In November 2022, Wolf was presented the 2021-2022 Excellence in Pilot Training award by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) for his outstanding contributions in the field of pilot training—encompassing safety, professionalism, leadership, and excellence.
“Bringing Lt. Col. Zabka on board our leadership team is reflective of Paragon Flight’s commitment to industry-leading flight training,” Schoensee said. “The quality of our people is the foundation of this flight academy, and it is their collective skill, character, integrity and commitment that move us forward with confidence.”
In addition to overseeing flight training activities at Paragon Flight’s Punta Gorda Airport location, Lt. Col. Zabka will work under the direction of Wolf to attain the required regulatory approvals and uphold the critical standardization of flight instructors and training courses for Paragon Flight’s FAA-approved flight training programs.
About Paragon Flight Training
Paragon Flight is an award-winning flight academy headquartered at Page Field in Fort Myers, Florida. With FAA and SEVIS accreditations, a fleet of 30 aircraft and advanced simulator technology onsite, the company trains commercial, professional, and recreational pilots as well as offering military pilot training for domestic and foreign governments. The company completed a 28,000-combined-square-foot learning center expansion in November 2022. Learn more at ParagonFlight.com.