Smoketown Helicopters, was built on the foundation of providing more than a flight school that can be searched online. We are a facility of pilots, mechanics, and aviation enthusiasts. A small veteran owned business that has been growing since its start in 2014. Being a small business, we have the benefit of getting to know the pilot as a name not a number. Smoketown Helicopters cares about more than passing a pilot but assisting a pilot in becoming the best aviator they can be.
Providing the students with the tools to meet their goals. One of the main tools required is a safe aircraft. By being a Robinson Service center, we are able to ensure that aircraft are maintained in accordance with regulations. Another benefit to having in house maintenance is the limited amount of time an aircraft is down.
As time goes by, Smoketown Helicopters, will continue to further their education within the aviation field. We pride ourselves in maintaining relevance within training and evolving with the aviation world.
Garrett manages and oversees airplane and helicopter flight training at both our Smoketown and Brandywine locations. Working closely with the other instructors to ensure the highest quality of training is provided. Garrett conducts the stage checks with students to ensure they are on track with Smoketown Helicopter’s program, allowing him to incorporate his experience with students. Garrett started his career in the Air Force as a jet engine mechanic. After leaving active duty in 2011, he joined the Air Force Reserve, starting his career in flying on the civilian side. He has roughly 5000 hours experience, mostly in Robinson helicopters. In conjunction with flying Garrett also oversees the Robinson Service Center Maintenance division and is a Robinson Helicopter Factory Trained A&P mechanic. Extensive knowledge of flying and maintenance provides the ability to train and serve pilots and customers on a higher level. When he is not flying or working on aircraft he enjoys spending time with his wife Jen and their sons Landon and Dustin.
Garrett’s Philosophy: Train to become a real-world pilot not just a pilot that passes the test.
Jennifer Snyder - Manager
Jennifer grew up in beautiful Naples, FL and joined the United States Air Force in 2008. She was stationed in California where she met her future husband, Garrett. Her Uncle and Grandfather were both pilots, introducing Jennifer to aviation at a young age. She graduated from American Military University with a Bachelor in Business Administration and now continues to expand her knowledge within aviation. Director of Operations here at Smoketown Helicopters, Jennifer still serves in the United States Air Force Reserves. When not at the airport, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Garrett, and their sons, Landon and Dustin.
Chris Jensen - Helicopter CFII & Tour Pilot
I grew up in Akron, Ohio. My grandfather got me interested in aviation at a very young age, a few years after High School I did my first discovery flight while visiting family in Idaho. 1 year later I moved to Caldwell Idaho to do my flight training and be near family.
After earning my Commercial license I began working on a cherry drying contract, tours, and had the chance to do some photo flights for NY Times magazine. I’m very pleased to be given the opportunity to pass on the knowledge and experience I’ve received to the next generation of student pilots.
The warm welcome, family atmosphere, level of talent and knowledge at Smoketown Helicopters is incredible. I look forward to helping future pilots make their career dreams a reality.
Jake Fouraker - Helicopter CFI & Tour Pilot
Jake was born and raised in Garnet Valley, PA. He has always had a love and passion for flying. From a young age his dream was to go to the Air Force Academy and become a pilot. Upon graduation from the Air Force Academy Jake became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force where he served as an Air Field Operations Officer. He later transitioned from the Active Duty Air Force to the PA Air National Guard where he continues to serve in a traditional capacity. Jake began flight training in 2012 at Initial Flight School in Pueblo, Colorado, where he learned how to fly the DA-20's and later on the Texan II. In 2016 he began and completed his Helicopter Private Pilot License and has since completed both his commercial and CFI licenses. Jake is running our Smoketown Helicopters at Brandywine Airport flight school. Jake is excited for the opportunity to expand Smoketown Helicopters and share his knowledge and passion of flying with others. When Jake is not at the airport he is spending time with his wife, Michelle and their 3 musketeers Jack, Reagan, and Garrett.
Vince Passerini - Helicopter CFI & Tour Pilot
Growing up in Morgantown, PA my dad got me interested in aviation at a young age. After working closely with helicopter flight crews in public safety I decided to make a career change and go to flight school. I was extremely fortunate to not only receive top notch training at Smoketown but also get hired here after completion. I look forward to helping pilots reach their goals!
Tim Kauffman - CFI airplane
He Started his flight training here at Smoketown a many yrs ago. Also has background in Mission aviation, Central America. When not flying he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids.
Chris Sauder - CFII airplane
Chris was born and grew up in Lancaster county. He worked in the family business for a number of years before starting flight lessons in 2006. In 2011he started working full time as a flight instructor and in 2014 added his CFII. He enjoys flying in the clouds just by the instruments, and especially introducing flight in the clouds to instrument students for the first time. He has been happily married for 11 years and has 4 children. When he's not at work, he enjoys spending time at home with his family.
Brad was born in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Lancaster County in 1980. He graduated with a dual undergraduate degree from Albright College in Reading, PA and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. Brad has spent over 25 years in executive leadership in both the private and government sectors of business. His love of aviation started at a young age and he began to pursue his passion in 2011, eventually becoming a fixed wing Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). When not working, Brad enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys. The Bowser family currently hangars a plane at Lancaster Airport and frequently flies as a family. Annual flights include visiting relatives in Michigan, attending Pittsburgh Steelers games (Go Black and Gold) and attending Oshkosh AirVenture in Wisconsin. Brad considers himself a very outgoing person and loves life. He looks forward to meeting new students and helping them enjoy the learning process to becoming a safe pilot and achieve their specific goals.
Could not have asked for a better experience! There is no one I would trust more to take my 5 year old son on a helicopter ride. Husband and wife team Jen and Garrett were such a pleasure to work with. Even when it was just my son, Garrett was so attentive, informative, and fun! They understood my concerns for safety, and went above and beyond my expectations. If you're even considering a trip to smoketown helicopters for yourself, friends, or family, don't wait! Highly recommended!-- Melissa DeSalis