Dan Weseman – Designer and Owner – SPA
Dan is the guy “living the dream” at SPA. He has been flying and involved in aviation his entire life. He has flown over 30 types of aircraft from ultra-lights to fast glass. He enjoys sport aerobatics, and formation flying. Known as an aggressive, yet conservative, pilot he enjoys the 3rd dimension flying offers while taking care to minimize risk.
He has worked for over 20 years in industrial and technical manufacturing, in fields from CNC machining to medical and laboratory environments. While not a licensed engineer, he has spent his life studying structures and aerodynamics. He has learned CAD design, and acquired a vast “library“ of knowledge, information, and contacts needed to design light aircraft. He uses conservative techniques and testing. He is not afraid to depart the “norm” if it has technical merit.
Dan feels his most important work is as a husband and father, so chooses to lose sleep to “live his dreams”.
At SPA Dan designs, builds, tests aircraft, engines and components. He also handles tooling, CAD work, technical customer service and production.
It is important to Dan for SPA LLC to be a positive addition to the sport aircraft community. He values low overhead, excellent customer service and a friendly environment to both work and play in.
Rachel Weseman – Team Coordinator, Financial Officer, Web Master and Videographer/Photographer
Rachel handles the business side of SPA including accounting, marketing, website, IT, orders and most of the customer service for SPA.
For the last 15 years Rachel has been an integral support engineer in the Information Technology field, specializing in all organizational structures from small businesses to top Fortune 500 company enterprise messaging systems.
In addition to the above skills she also builds fuel tanks and sheet metal parts, handles photography/videography, and does just about anything to make things go well. She is serious when needed but also fun and friendly.
Rachel always puts family first – but in her spare time also enjoys running, reef keeping and horse back riding.
Her organizational and project management skills are a great asset to SPA. Her enthusiasm and dedication to doing things right and providing superior customer service are pivotal to Team Panther and their success.
Travis Young – Production Manager of the Welding Department
Travis joined us in May of 2014 and is an AWS certified aviation welder. He was promoted to the Production Manager of the Welding Department in May of 2016.
Coming from a family of pilots and aircraft mechanics he sought his own niche to get into aviation and explore his love for the skies. He found his way to Florida and studied advance welding technologies, and after a long search he found Dan and Rachel. Finally finding his place at Sport Performance Aviation as an aviation airframe welder. He has recently branched out and is now in charge of our Corvair Cylinder Head Re-Conditioning Program at SPA.
Travis is an excellent asset to SPA and his welds are beautiful and consistent. He is always willing to do what needs to be done, is flexible and easy going, always has a smile on his face and very easy to work with.
In his spare time he enjoys working out, riding his bike and spending time with his wife and three young girls. They regularly go to the gym and the beach as a family.
Patrick Amble – Production Manager
Patrick joined us the summer of 2014 and is the Production Manager at SPA. He has been taught to run the hydro-press, mill, CNC machine and has gotten pretty good at using a pair of fluting pliers. He also fully assembles our spars and fuel tanks and writes documentation for internal procedures.
Patrick has been around airplanes his whole life. He started rebuilding antiques with his father at the age of 12. Mostly knowledgeable about fabric covered airplanes and antiques, we are slowly working him into the aluminum and experimental category. He is known at the airport for being “that one lucky kid”, because his father is an owner of a Stearman that he gets to fly regularly. He also is the owner of an RV-6 that he regularly flies.
Like everyone at SPA Patrick is family oriented. He gives back to the EAA community in may ways, one by flying kids in the Young Eagles program every year from our local private field. He is involved in judging at Sun ‘N Fun.
Patrick is married and expecting a “wee one” shortly, and plans on being with us for as long as humanly possible. He says, “I couldn’t have found a better place to work!” We hope to keep him around as long as we possibly can.
Lisa Finch – Customer Service and Accounting
Lisa joined us in March of 2016. She assists with accounting, shipping, and customer service. She brings an extensive background in office management, customer service and accounting, has a talent for organization and efficiency, and shares great understanding of the heart of a small business.
In her spare time Lisa loves being with her husband and 3 children. They enjoy camping, boating and the beach.
Paul Salter – Consultant – Aerospace Engineer
Paul earned both a BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering from the legendary Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology (The school holds FAA air certificate #1) For the last 18 years Paul has been a Civilian Engineer for the US Navy on the EA-6B Prowler. His assignments on the EA-6B are in the Structures, Design and Special Projects divisions, and he occasionally assists with Avionics and Electrical issues.
Paul’s taste for challenging aviation projects started in his college years. He was the lead engineer for Park’s highly successful SAE Heavy Lift Aircraft Competition. In the years since he has always kept a hand is flight projects beyond his work for the US Navy.
Paul defies the stereotype of engineers as educated but impractical. He is equally at home developing a CNC code or rebuilding the Powerstroke Diesel from his F-250. His input on a project starts with the critical eye of a professional engineer, his contributions reflect his practical background from personally building countless mechanical devices from electronics to his 4,000 sf hangar. He is licensed pilot and owns 1947 415-CD Ercoupe. He is a resident of Haller airpark.
Paul’s other passions’s include the Space Program, Astronomy and Astro-photography. He purchased the University of Florida’s observatory and moved it to his property at Haller where is is restoring it to house his 10″ telescope.
Paul has been an excellent asset to the Panther team, lending his extensive knowledge of structural engineering and problem solving skills. Paul is known around the hangar as “Super Salter”. He earned this nickname after repeatedly showing us that if we had a challenge he was on it! It wasn’t long before we all agreed that Paul had the innovation, dedication, determination and engineering skills to tackle just about any task we came up with.
Bob Woolley – Panther Sport Beta Builder and Panther Test Pilot
Bob Woolley is one of the Panther Beta Builders and is building the first Panther Sport version.
He is an extremely accomplished homebuilt builder and a retired Air Force pilot with time in fighter, trainer and transport aircraft with over 1500 hours of instructor time.
Bob has been an EAA Flight Advisor for over 20 years and been actively flying and building airplanes since his retirement. He has conducted over 20 first flights on experimental airplanes ranging from Stewart S-51, Glasair I,II,IIIs, Lancairs T-18, RV’s Cubs and Ultralights.
His first experimental was a Pitts Special with a follow on Thorp T-18 and finished up a Busby Mustang II,. He has 2000 hours of tail wheel time and over 1200 hours in Glasairs. He also spent some time in certificated airplanes such as the Yak 55, 450HP Stearmans and Decathlons. He teamed up with Jeff Ackland (Legend and Radial Rocket designer) while he was finishing up his Glasair and they built a Glasair III together. After retirement in 1991 he went into a building frenzy and finished up four more Glasairs, an F-1 Rocket and an RV4. One of the projects was a Glasair 1 with a 260 HP Lycoming 540 and the Glasair IIS is super-fast, with a 300 HP Lycoming 540, which he owns and flies today.
Bob is a great asset to Team Panther and we could not have asked for a better test pilot or beta builder. He is an objective, yet enthusiastic pilot and his write-ups regarding his flight testing are an excellent asset to Team Panther and it’s potential pilot/builder community.
Chris Smith – Consultant – Electrical Engineer and Technical Writer
Chris holds a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering, from the University of Central Florida. For the last 30 years he has been involved with power conversion systems for the semiconductor processing and metal finishing industries.
He has been flying since 1968 and has logged time in Piper, Cessna, Aeronca, Bonanza, Schweizer, and experimental aircraft. He built the second Cleanex and currently owns an RV-4.
When Chris is not building or flying, he enjoys golf and Guitar. Chris is the lead electrical engineer on the Panther and has been an integral part of the technical writing for the Panther prototype.
When he retires from his full time job he hopes to spend much of his time supporting SPA in the manufacture and construction of Panther components and other related SPA products.
Brett, Andrew and Luke Weseman – Shipping, Grunt Work and Hangar Mischief
Brett, Andrew and Luke are the three Weseman boys that belong to Dan and Rachel. They are excellent kids that are learning the value of hard work, determination, innovation, and team work from their parents. They love airplanes, air shows, motocross, music and building. They are rough around the edges, but they know family comes first and hard work is right in line. Dan and Rachel are very proud of all three of them.
Brett, the oldest, is now an Airman in the Navy. He is stationed on the USS Stennis Aircraft Carrier, based off of Bremerton, WA.
Andrew is starting junior high this year. He is also a Florida state track star, is a member of the school chorus and student council.
Luke is the youngest and in elementary school. He does great in his studies and keeps the teachers in constant question and answer session about various subjects. His curiosity knows no bounds, and he certainly isn’t afraid to say what he is thinking. He is also quite the mechanic.
The younger boys help with pulling rivets, deburring, hangar and workshop cleanup, painting machinery and sanding. Most importantly they take care of each other, working as a team, when mom and dad are busy – showing the true Team Panther spirit: Doing your part to get the job done right!