OUR VISION  

 

The average resident in our region spends more than 60 hours a year in traffic. And those that regularly travel from San Francisco to areas like Tahoe will see that time in traffic more than double. Traffic has become a serious choke point that dramatically affects your quality of life – and sadly this congestion is only going to get worse.

 

BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

 

We believe your time is too valuable to waste hours and hours in traffic, and we believe your schedule is too precious to be held hostage by gridlock. You deserve flexibility, convenience and personal service. 

 

Your travel and schedule needs are unique and there simply is no one-size-fits-all aviation model that will help you improve your efficiency and effectiveness. Anyone that claims otherwise simply isn’t telling the truth.

 

The truth is that you need personal concierge service from someone that knows your name, knows your travel needs, and is available on your schedule. We provide this personal service to you.

 

Mobility today is a challenge for us all -- and we can help. We focus on serving a small and elite group of clients who have made the important decision to take back control of their schedules, to spend less time in traffic, and to spend their time doing things that really matter. We believe in the principle of no wasted motion, and we would be honored to have the chance to help you take back your life.

THE TEAM

JIM WILKINSON

Chairman

 

Jim founded Mountain Lion Aviation out of the extreme frustration that he and his family faced with fighting the oppressive I-80 traffic between the San Francisco Bay area and Tahoe.

 

Jim believed there simply had to be a better way, and he founded Mountain Lion Aviation to help others stop wasting time in traffic and spend their valuable time doing things that really matter.

 

Jim cares deeply about customer service and about helping our customers address their unique and individual mobility challenges. Jim is also a licensed pilot with a deep passion for aviation, innovation, and environmental protection.

 

Jim currently serves as Chairman and CEO of TrailRunner International, which is a global advisory and venture firm with offices in San Francisco, Dallas/ Ft. Worth, New York, Washington, D.C., Beijing, and Truckee, California. By harnessing the practical utility of aviation, Jim has been able to headquarter TrailRunner’s global operations in Tahoe and to live the life he and his family truly want to live. Jim’s wife Erin was previously a global fashion executive who founded Tahoe University, a family-owned lifestyle brand based in Truckee that carries a unique assortment of one-of-a-kind lifestyle items, from women’s apparel, yoga wear, furniture and home goods, kids clothing, and much more.

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CHRIS BARBERA

CEO & Director of Operations

Chris has many years of diverse aviation experience, including flight instruction, charter operations, customer service, and business leadership. Chris is an expert in all matters of flight safety and aircraft systems, and he has extensive flight experience in mountain areas and other challenging aviation environments.

 

Chris began his aviation career at the age of 14 when he began taking lessons and discovered that aviation was his personal passion. On his 16th birthday Chris took his first solo flight, and he completed his pilot’s exam the minute he turned 17 and could legally do so. Chris spent several years as a flight instructor teaching in Reno, Nevada on various different types of aircraft, and he eventually began work in charter aviation, including leading the successful operations team at Sierra Skyport.

 

Chris lives in Minden, Nevada with his wife Amy and their two children Avery and Braxton.

JESSICA FAY

Chief Operating Officer

Jessica Fay is our Chief Operating Officer. Originally from Sweden, she spent 10 years traveling the world
to places where she could work as a scuba diving instructor until she settled in Truckee, California.
There, she co-founded Sierra Aero LLC with her husband Jeff. Jessica has a finance and accounting
background, and has been working in aviation for the past decade. During that time, as the Director of
Operations and CEO of Sierra Aero LLC, she has gained extensive knowledge in the areas of aircraft
maintenance, flight training, and private charters. She has recently relocated to Fort Worth, Texas to
oversee our newest charter operation.

SARAH ROSSI

Chief Possibilities Officer

Sarah Rossi serves as Chief Possibilities Officer for our customers and clients. Sarah focuses exclusively on providing elite customer service to our clients by helping them solve their unique mobility needs.

 

Sarah has lived in the Reno/Tahoe area her entire life, and is a native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sarah grew up skiing on the Mount Rose Ski team, loves to be outside snowboarding or hiking, and is passionate about aviation and travel, having visited a dozen countries.

 

Sarah has extensive experience working with large companies and individuals, including in the Nevada Legislature on energy, transportation, gaming, and e-commerce under the Griffin Company during the 79th Legislative Session.  She has worked closely with clients across various industries, including food and beverage, luxury merchandising, and brand management, and is also a great resource for recommending an excellent bottle of wine. 

 

Sarah graduated from The University Nevada Reno, studying entrepreneurship and communications, and receiving a minor in business administration.  

DAVE TRANQUILLA

Chief Pilot

Dave has a lifelong passion for aviation and he brings many years of deep experience to our customers. He has been a flight instructor in the Truckee Tahoe area for over 15 years. In addition to flight instruction, Dave was recently selected by the FAA as a Designated Pilot Examiner in the Reno Flight Standards District Office.

 

Dave lives in Truckee with his wife and two daughters.  He enjoys all the mountains have to offer: paddling, backpacking, mountain biking, motorcycling, camping, sailing, etc.  He was previously a successful general contractor in the Tahoe area, and although he no longer works as a builder he keeps his skills sharp constructing a kit airplane in his garage. It’s also not unusual to see him drumming with his band in and around Tahoe.

GARRETT PORTER

Chief Flight Instructor

CFI CFII

Garrett began his flying years at the Truckee Airport in 2014.  He loves all things aviation and enjoys getting to interact with other people who share his passion for flying.  

 

Garrett grew up in Vienna, Virginia and graduated with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado, in Boulder. After college, he moved to Truckee and attained his private pilot certificate. For his instrument rating, Garrett traveled to Colorado and flew out of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, in Broomfield. Two years ago, he came back to Truckee and could not be happier to call the Lake Tahoe area home.  

 

When he is not flying, Garrett enjoys going on bicycling tours, flying Young Eagles in his light sport trike, golfing, and all outdoor sports.

JEFF FAY

Director of Maintenance

Jeff Fay serves as our Director of Maintenance and brings more than two decades of diverse global aviation experience. Born and raised in the UK, Jeff is a former British Royal Marine who came to the US in 1998 to pursue a career in aviation. Jeff is a CFII, A&P / IA, and former US National Guard CH-47 helicopter pilot who did tours of duty in Afghanistan, among other places. He is the Co-founder and Director of Maintenance of Sierra Aero LLC with more than 20 years of flying experience in numerous different airframes. He moved to Truckee in 2000 for the skiing and the flying, and never left.

WILLIAM APOTHEKER

Chief Communications Officer and Head of Marketing 

Will Apotheker is Chief Communications Officer and Head of Marketing for Mountain Lion Aviation, with responsibility for marketing programs and brand management. He is a seasoned communications and marketing strategist with extensive experience creating and managing marketing programs to build relationships for organizations and individuals. 

Will spent over a decade as a producer and editor in the highly competitive Boston news market working for FOX, CBS and NBC affiliates. He then became the creative services and digital promotions lead for Fox, leading the station to earn the mantle of #1 late newscast in Boston.


Will’s greatest strengths are his creativity, drive and leadership. His experience includes managing digital marketing campaigns, advertising and content development. As an adjunct professor at Emerson College, Will taught a variety of courses including Digital journalism, TV News Producing, Radio News Producing, and Intro to Journalism.

Will holds a Master’s Degree in Integrated Journalism from Emerson College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives in Truckee with his wife Lauren and their two sons. Will is an accomplished musician who spends his free time performing solo or with his band.

BRUCE ROBERTSON

Captain 

Bruce has had a fascination with aviation since his early childhood, and has turned his personal passion into a career in aviation. 

 

When he’s not flying he can be found camping, cycling, kayaking, skiing and attempting to look good at Pilates.  In bad weather he is totally addicted to reading, and while he’s very out of practice, he plays a pretty mean flute and clarinet.  In a previous life he was a software engineer, and ran an Internet service provider in Reno. Bruce lives in Reno with his wife, and he is the proud father of two adult boys who live in Reno and Fallon. 

BLAKE SORTOR

Captain 

Blake has had a passion for aviation since a very young age and has turned that into a professional career. Blake started flying at the Truckee Airport when he was 14 years old and gained many years of mountain flying experience from some of the best instructors in the world. Blake lives in our beautiful town of Truckee and in his free time, can be found shredding the gnar on his mountain bike or carving down the slopes on a pair of skis.

GLEN ABALLO

Captain

CFI CFII CSIP

 

Glen has a lifelong love of aviation and teaching, and after many years of working in the construction industry he decided to pursue aviation as his career path.  Glen accomplished the majority of his flight training flying out of the Truckee Airport in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves the challenges of mountain flying operations.  

 

Originally from the Ocean State of Rhode Island, Glen moved west in 2010 and resides in Tahoe Vista.  Glen enjoys the active Tahoe lifestyle especially backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, mountain biking, and open water swimming.