Club Flight Instructors
Chief Flight Instructor
- CFI, CFII, MEI
Kelli Canup is a Wilmington resident, professional pilot, certified flight instructor and full-time mom. She received a BA degree in Physiology and Psychology from St. Mary’s College in California.
Kelli was a flight attendant for United Airlines early in her career but realized she was more fascinated with what was happening in the cockpit versus the passenger section of the plane and made the switch to become a professional pilot. Kelli accomplished her training at Comair Aviation Academy, a Part 141 Flight School, and received all of her ratings in just 10 months. After 2 1/2 years as a flight instructor, Kelli was hired by Comair Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines, where she flew as a commercial pilot for 5 years.
Kelli eventually found her way to Wilmington, NC where she has been a flight instructor since 2015. She has accumulated over 5,500 hours of total flight time which includes over 2,500 with commercial airlines and 2,100 of dual instruction. Kelli also serves the Wilmington general aviation community by serving as the local Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team (FAAST) representative. Her dedication to aviation safety is one of her passions and she is committed to helping to improve the nation’s aviation accident rate by conveying safety principles through training, outreach, and education.
Kelli has two magnificent children and is married to fellow aviation professional, Eric Canup, Chief Pilot and Director of Flight Operations for Live Oak Bank.
Jonathan M. Groner
Airline Transport Pilot:
- Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI
- Small Unmanned Aircraft System Advanced Ground Instructor
Jonathan moved to the Wilmington area in 2017 after a 16-year career in law enforcement. Jonathan was a Military Policeman with the 3D US INF Regiment (The Old Guard) stationed at Ft. Myer, VA for 5 years before joining the Virginia State Police as a Trooper and eventually became a Special Agent with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Jonathan's interest in aviation began with an after-school program at the age of 7 in Mid-Coast Maine, which culminated in several discovery flights. After earning his private pilot certificate in 2008, Jonathan worked as a FLIR operator on the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit's Bell 407 turbine helicopter.
Jonathan returned to pursue his career in aviation after leaving his career in Law Enforcement in 2016 and attending ATP Flight School at the Raleigh-Durham location (KRDU) for their career pilot program. While at ATP, Jonathan earned his Instrument, Commercial Single and Multi-Engine Certificates, as well as Multi-engine Flight Instructor, Single-engine Flight Instructor, and Instrument Flight Instructor Certificates, and then earning a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate in early 2021. Jonathan then earned his Commercial Airplane Single Engine Sea certificate and teaches pilots to fly seaplanes in Wilmington with Aqua Aero LLC in a Maule M-7-260 Amphibian.
In mid-2021, Jonathan earned his Airline Transport Pilot certificate for Airplane Multi-Engine Land, and now flies full time for MegaCorp Logistics, a local Wilmington, NC company, on a Hawker 800XP (H25B) mid-size business jet.
- CFI, CFII
Accrina Grandin moved to Wilmington in 2012, where she met her soon to be husband. After successfully running a business together for a couple years the pair decided to pick up flight training together and switch industries- finally pursuing their passion for aviation. After their initial discovery flight in October 2015, Accrina quickly immersed herself in the aviation community; working at the Wilmington airport FBO and at her flight school, Brunswick Air- located in Southport. After earning her private, instrument, and commercial ratings, Accrina went on to get her instrument and advanced ground instructor accreditation, and started her A&P mechanic apprenticeship under Rich Gwin, an FAA Master Mechanic at Cape Fear Airworks. Accrina recently earned her CFI and is working towards her CFII in her spare time.
Accrina is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and loves to travel with her husband, Kyle Grandin, a fellow commercial pilot and A&P mechanic for Cape Fear Airworks. They hope to continue to build on their ratings, and eventually open their own flight school and A&P apprenticeship program to open the door for the next generation of aviators!
Travis Bethmann moved to Wilmington in 2020 to pursue his career in aviation. He moved from the Lake Tahoe area of the Sierra Nevada mountains where he was employed by the US Forest Service. Travis was a Nevada Wilderness Search and Rescue Technician, Wilderness First Responder, and EMT while living in the Tahoe National Forest. In 2015, he received a BS degree in Sustainable Technology from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC before moving west.
Travis' passion for flight has been with him since he was young. At the age of 19, he started his flight training out of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and since then has always tried to find his way up in the sky. He has been a paraglider pilot for the past 5 years which has taken him to multiple countries and across the lower 48. In 2019, he made the decision to change careers, leave the Forest Service, and put everything he had into his passion for aviation. Travis has earned his private, instrument, commercial, and CFI in just over a year of moving to Wilmington, and is working on both his CFII and Multi-Engine Commercial certificate.
Travis is originally from Kent Island, Maryland and is happy to call Wilmington his home. He is excited to continue to explore the diverse world that aviation has to offer and looks forward to sharing this passion and excitement with others.
- CFI, CFII, MEI
Ihago (pronounced as “Yago”) Pinto was born in Danbury, Connecticut and at a young age moved to Brazil where he grew up. He pursued his flight training while attending college and earned his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science in 2013 alongside his licenses.
In 2014, he decided to move back to America and chose Wilmington, as his new hometown. While working as a businessman, Ihago had to study on his free time to transfer all his licenses and ratings.
Nowadays, he shares a love for flying and teaching. He speaks 3 languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish) while learning the 4th (Italian), and continues to inspire people, especially his kids, into the aviation world.
President, Cape Fear Flying Club
Rich has lived in Wilmington and been flying in and around the area for over 20 years. His interest in flying began at an early age and he began taking flying lessons while in high school. Rich went to school for engineering, earning degrees from North Carolina State University and Georgia Tech. After a career that included engineering, manufacturing and various entrepreneurial ventures, Rich now dedicates the bulk of his time to aviation, flying and flight instruction.
Rich has been a member of the Cape Fear Flying club since 2014 and currently serves as President of the club. He is also a founding member of the Wilmington Pilots Association, which is a local general aviation advocacy group whose mission is to provide a collective voice for general aviation, as well as to provide support and leadership in the evolution of general aviation investment and growth opportunities in the Wilmington area. Rich is also a local representative for the FAA Safety Team where he works with other representatives to convey safety principles and practices through training, outreach and education; while establishing partnerships and encouraging the continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community.
Rich is originally from Cary, N.C. but loves calling Wilmington home. He is also a paraglider and powered-paraglider pilot, but spends most of his time these days in the airplane category. He is married with four daughters and divides his time between family, flying and a little bit of fishing now and then.
Commercial, ASEL, AMEL
CFI - ASEL, AMEL, Instrument Airplane
Tailwheel, Complex, High Performance
Andrew (“Drew”) Holbrook began flying in 1991 while completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Carolina. Not long after earning his PPL, he bought a 1954 Piper Tri-Pacer that he flew for 17 years.
Drew, and his wife, Flo, have made their home at Stag Air Park for the past 25 years, where he serves as Young Eagles Coordinator for EAA Chapter 297. He serves as Facility/Project Engineer for General Electric in Castle Hayne during the week.
Drew’s hobbies include building hardwood furniture, boating, and aircraft construction. His two builds include a Zenith CH-750, and the RV-8 he currently flies. He holds Builder/Repairman Certificates for both.
Drew maintains proficiency through frequent flights in his RV-8, and through the flight training he provides. He has logged 2,700 hours and has given 900 hours of instruction. He is available for flight training on weekends, and, on request, evenings.
Commercial, ASEL, CFI
Dave Ross has been a pilot for more than 40 years. After working 20+years for a bio pharmaceutical company in New England, Dave and his wife Debbie recently relocated to the Cape Fear region.
Dave’s passion for aviation lead him to flight instructing several years ago. His piloting experience covers a wide range of aircraft from the classic Aeronca Champ to the high tech Cirrus.
He enjoys sharing his passion for aviation with new aspiring pilots and seasoned aviators.
Alice Paul was born and raised in New Bern, NC. She started flying in 2019 as a junior in high school. In 2021, she started working as a flight instructor at the New Bern airport while she was also working towards her associates degree in Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology. She is now a resident of Wilmington while she is attending University of North Carolina Wilmington earning a B.S in Geosciences.
Aside from aviation, Alice loves playing cards, camping, and building model aircraft . Alice is currently working on earning her CFII and is stoked to share her love of all things aviation through Cape Fear Flying Club.
Johan is originally from Colombia, South America, and is the first pilot in his family. He moved to the U.S. in 2006 and has lived near the coast ever since.
Johan's passion for Aviation began back in 2016 when he was invited to go on a few general aviation flights and received a generous scholarship by the LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation, here in Wilmington. Ever since, he decided to follow a career in aviation which lead him to pursue a B.S. degree in Aviation Science that started at a part 141 college in Puerto Rico. After surviving multiple category 3 & 4 hurricanes and obtaining his Private Pilot’s license in 2018, Johan decided to move to Florida and enroll in Liberty University online and continue his education. In Florida, Johan obtained his instrument and commercial license.
Having grown up here, Johan always considered Wilmington his second home and decided to move back with his Great Pyrenees dog named “Pilot". Here he obtained his CFI Certificate and finished college in 2020.
Johan credits his aviation science degree and the rigors of a Part 141 flight training program for providing extensive understanding of the aviation industry and for shaping him into a more dedicated pilot, as well as broadening his overall growth and development.
Aside from flying, Johan spends time with his dog, friends and family. He enjoys to surf, play music, paint and build canvas frames, cycling and running, traveling, and coffee. Johan enjoys meeting and learning from other people, which makes teaching others about his passion for flying even that much more rewarding.