Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Aviation faculty and staff have offices at the Flight Operations Center and on the main Westminster campus. We work from both locations to assist students in meeting their educational and flight training goals.

Main Campus

John Schaefer - Aviation Department Chair
Phone: (801) 832-2666




Link to college directory


Gail Avendano - Director of Aviation Student Support, Testing Center Supervisor, and Associate Instructor
Phone: (801) 832-2671

Education: B.A. English/Teaching, Montana State University; M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, Westminster College

Hometown: Bozeman, MT

About Me: I started working at Westminster when we began our flight operations program in 2000. I enjoy all of the different ways I get to work with students. Westminster is a dynamic, energetic, place and I love it.

Hobbies: running, traveling, and keeping my new puppy from chewing everything he sees.

Advice for new aviation students: Regularly read your college email, get involved in clubs and organizations, and plan on doing at least one--or more--internships before you graduate.

Link to college directory.



Flight Operations Center


Lance Vaculin - Director of Flight Operations, Chief Flight Instructor, and Associate Instructor
Phone: (801) 832-2923

Education: M.Ed. Westminster College; Master CFI

Hometown: Silver City, NM

About Me: I started instructing in 2002 at Skypark in Bountiful, Utah and served as their Chief Flight Instructor before coming to Westminster. I am very excited about being part of an outstanding program here at Westminster.

Hobbies: In my spare time I enjoy wakeboarding and anything to do with the outdoors.

Link to college directory

Scott Olsen - Assistant Chief Flight Instructor-CFI, CFII, and MEI, tailwheel endorsement, Foundations of Flight Course Leader

Education: B.S. Flight Operations, Westminster College

Hometowns: Layton, UT and Twin Falls, ID

Hobbies: basketball, classic cars, camping, backcountry flying, and raising chickens

What I like about my job: The beauty of flying. I never get tired of flying over mountains and deserts. 

What I like about Westminster: Westminster truly teaches beyond the level required by the FAA. I like that Westminster is devoted to creating smart, safe pilots.

What I like about Utah/Salt Lake City: Utah is such a diverse environment. Salt Lake City has what big cities have to offer but also has a small town feel. If you like the outdoors, you will love Utah.

Favorite Restaurant: The African restaurant on Redwood Road. Get the samosas!

What you may not know about me: I ride my bike to work more often than I drive.

Link to college directory

Ian McCabe -Assistant Chief Flight Instructor, Safety Officer, PIC Development and Intermediate Course Leader, Associate Instructor, NIFA Coach

About Me: I completed my Flight Operations degree at Westminster between 2008 and 2012. When I graduated, I moved to Daytona Beach, Florida for a year and attained my CFI certificate.

Once I completed that, I moved back to Salt Lake City and started working as a CFI and now as an Assistant Chief for Westminster. In addition to being the course leader for the PIC Development and Intermediate courses, I am also the Safety Manager and NIFA (flight team) coach.

Education: B.S. Flight Operations, Westminster College & currently enrolled in the MBA program

Hometown: River Falls, Wisconsin

Hobbies: basketball, skiing, hiking, and traveling

Aviation Goal: Realistically, be a captain at an airline. Dream job: fly for the Discovery Channel going on excursions and doing aerial photography

Link to college directory