The current leadership of COPA is made up of the following volunteers.
Immediate Past President
COPA member since 2019
Roger Whittier is a retired high tech executive that has had a passion for flying ever since he can remember. He started flying in the mid 80's and purchased his first plane shortly thereafter. As an accomplished automotive and motorcycle mechanic, he got interested in aircraft maintenance early in aircraft ownership primarily due to concerns over workmanship quality. He is active in the Amateur Built aircraft community and is building a Vans Aircraft RV7A in his spare time. In addition to being an Aircraft and Powerplant Mechanic with Inspection Authorization, he is an instrument rated pilot and has been a Cirrus enthusiast since 1997, when he became position holder number 91 in 1997.
He has been a Cirrus owner for 19 years. He served on the BOD for 10 years and 4 years as COPA President. Roger currently serves on the board as immediate past President of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association. Roger was a SR20.org member before COPA was established and has been a COPA member since COPA was established. He picked up N706CD, a SR22 serial number 0009 in Duluth on May 2nd, 2001. He still owns it and has flown it over 2000 hours since. He flies out of Phoenix Arizona's Deer Valley Airport (KDVT), which is the worlds busiest GA airport.
COPA member since 2003
Current COPA President, Trip Taylor began flying when he was 14 and earned his Private pilot license at 17. Most of the early flying hours where earned in a Beechcraft flying club. Starting with a Beechcraft Sport and Sundowner and progressing through the Sierra and various V-tailed Bonanza’s.
Many late nights on the computer learning everything COPA had to offer cemented the relationship with both the Airplane, the company that made it and the COPA members who championed the biggest revolution in General Aviation since the 1970’s.
Trip has been fortunate to fly with many COPA members as a Platinum CSIP. Other parts of the Cirrus Journey include the privilege to fly with a Cirrus Air Taxi Company, a stint with Avidyne and presently, as Director of Flight Operations for Aero Atlanta.
Trip was appointed Director of Training for COPA in 2012 by Andy Niemyer and joined the COPA Board of Directors in 2013. Trip was a charter member of the Board of Trustees for the COPA Safety and Education Foundation and, in that role presented the COPA University program as an umbrella for COPA’s education efforts. Trip has taught at over 100 CPPP’s, facilitated dozens of CDM programs and helped write course material for both programs.
Trip has flown over 16,000 hours in the Cirrus SR series and earned the SF50 Type rating in 2019. Currently Trip and his wife (a Platinum CSIP herself) Sherri, own and operate a 2005 Cirrus SR22 based in Lawrenceville, GA (KLZU).
2005 Cirrus SR22
COPA member since 2006
Scott Williams began flying lessons in 1987 while attending United States Air Force ROTC at UCLA. He earned his PPL in 90 days and his instrument rating 90 days later. While on active duty, he completed his Commercial and MEL.
Scott served as a Missile Combat Crew Commander at Grand Forks, AFB North Dakota. He resigned his commission years later as a Captain in the reserves.
In 2006, Scott bought his first airplane: an SR20 G2. After almost 2,000 hours of PIC and over a dozen coast-to-coast trips, he’s still striving for better proficiency.
Professionally, Scott is an attorney practicing aviation and business law. He assists owners with aircraft purchase, sale, and co-ownership matters. Scott also represents pilots being investigated by the FAA and appears in NTSB hearings nationwide.
Scott serves on our COPA Board of Directors and is our current Vice President.
N259SR – SR20 G2
COPA member since 2012
Tony Sobczak has been an aviation enthusiast since he was a small child. He wanted to learn to fly but life got in the way. It wasn’t until 2001 when the stars and planets finally aligned, and he started taking lessons. His solo cross country was scheduled for September 11, 2001 at 11:00 am. Again, flying was put on hold and it was not until May of 2002 before he got his license. Since then he has owned three airplanes, accumulated over 1000 hours (over 500 in his current Cirrus SR22) and has an instrument rating. Tony is passionate about aviation safety.
Joining COPA is 2012, Tony has held positions as North Central Regional Governor (Twice), North Central Regional Lieutenant Governor and National CDM (Critical Decision Making) Coordinator. His current positions on your Board of Directors include Director, Secretary and Regional Governor Liaison.
Tony (AKA - Nino – pronounced Knee-No) is active in Lion’s International. Past positions include Club Director and Club President. He is currently the Treasure of his Lions Club as well as the Zone Chairperson for his Lions District.
In “Real Life” Tony is an Army veteran, owns and operates the Mousehouse Cheesehaus, and lives is a small village near Madison, Wisconsin with his wife of 31 years, Vicki. Their son, Gus, is a controller at Kansas City Center and their daughter, Nicki, manages the gift shop at the Mousehouse.
N861TS - 2004 SR22 G2
COPA member since 2014
Arthur Gunn, is a second generation pilot. His dad was in the RCAF, and later flew an Apache in which Arthur developed the flying bug. For his 15th birthday, his parents bought him 5 hours at a local flying club’s “co-pilot” course. He soloed a couple of weeks after his 16th birthday, and received his Transport Canada license the day before his 17th birthday. He flew minimally for 4 years (on his dime) until he moved to the United States, and didn’t fly for 32 years. He got back into flying in 2013, and formed an LLC that purchased a 2006 SR22 NA in the summer of 2015 on the very weekend he attended his first CPPP in Duluth. He believes he is blessed with great partners in the aircraft. Subsequent to purchasing the Cirrus, Arthur obtained his Instrument Rating in 2016 under the tutelage and guidance of Trip Taylor, and is currently considering additional certificates and ratings. Arthur has attended a CPPP every year since purchasing the Cirrus, is a former Lt. Governor of the NC Region, and is a strong believer in COPA’s educational and safety mission.
Arthur is a CPA licensed in the State of Illinois, and earned a BA in Economics, a MBA in Finance, as well as a MSc in Taxation. He also is a Certified Fraud Examiner. In his professional life, after working at the Federal Reserve Bank and Deloitte, he was a partner in a small CPA firm before starting his firm in 2003. His firm’s niche is working with not-for profits. He serves as a Peer Reviewer in the State of Illinois, serves on the Professional Standards Department Executive Committee of the CPA Alliance, the Audit and Assurance Committee of the IL CPA Society, and is a former chair of the Illinois CPA Society Not for Profit Conference. He also is the former international Treasurer of his collegiate fraternity, and serves as President of his local pilots’ association and is a FAAST rep.
In his personal life, Arthur and his wife Rhonda, maintain a home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He has two children, a daughter who is a teacher and a son who is an IT professional and a private pilot. Arthur’s other passions are music (his Celtic rock band recorded 3 CDs), guitar collecting and he owns a motorcycle.
Northbrook, IL 60062
N302TD - 2006 SR-22
COPA member since 2010
Heike Matthes is the first pilot in her family. She started learning to fly in 2006 in KPTK, Pontiac, Michigan, received her Private Pilot License in 2007, her Instrument Rating in 2009, her Seaplane Rating in 2011 in Minnesota, and her Commercial Pilot License (in her Cirrus including a full stall at 60 degrees bank!) in Michigan in 2012. During the ten years she lived in Michigan she gained extensive cross-country experience. She picked up her pre-owned Cirrus SR22 GTS in April 2010 in Santa Ana, CA, and flew it home to Michigan alone and a few days later continued to Portland, ME. Her Cirrus trip from Michigan to the Bahamas was an additional highlight as a pilot. She also participated in the high-altitude chamber and basic water survival training with the FAA in Oklahoma. For almost two years she is now back in Europe and enjoys flying also there. Since joining Copa in 2010 she barely missed a migration, now in Europe and the U.S.
In her professional life she has an extensive finance background as a German CPA and tax lawyer specialized and board certified in international taxation. Heike also holds a U.S. doctorate degree in international management. Her practical professional experience includes working for the Commission of the European Union in Brussels and being the head of KPMG’s German customs department. She started and successfully grew her own German CPA firm for 12 years with double-digit percentage growth each year, taught finance and business administration to MBA students at a U.S. university, and is now a partner in a Germany-based international CPA firm specialized in international taxation.
Her board experience includes being vice-president of the examination board of the German junior CPAs, a member of the taxation committee of the German Chamber of Commerce, the founder of a new regional division of the German Junior Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Global Leadership Board of Lawrence Technological University, and the chair of the international track of regional divisions of the Academy of Management in the U.S. Since 2017 she is the international director of the COPA Board of Directors.
Altendorf, SZ, Switzerland
COPA member since 2016
Mitchel Sellers has had a love of general aviation and finally started to realize his dream of flying in early 2014. In just a few short years he fell in love with flying and continued growing his experience. He bought his first airplane, a 1968 Mooney M20C in 2014 and moved into the Cirrus world in 2016, and upgraded to a G5 Cirrus in 2018. In this time Mitchel has taken his passion for education/training to the skies and become a CFII/CFI focusing on helping students learn with practical instructional concepts to be able to safely leverage their aircraft.
Ever since joining COPA prior to buying his first Cirrus he has been impressed with the organization and excited to use his professional skills to help improve COPA. In his professional life, Mitchel is Software Architect and the CEO of IowaComputerGurus, Inc. In his professional career, Mitchel has focused on delivering high-quality solutions to a worldwide customer base. He also believes strongly in giving back to the community through speaking engagements, blog postings, open-source contributions, and book writing. His work, and activities, have made him the recipient of many public awards and accolades, including being a 10 time Microsoft MVP. When not working with technology you will find Mitchel working with local experienced and aspiring pilots to learn new skills or begin the joys of aircraft ownership.
Mitchel is happily married to his wife Lexi and their two children and two dogs. His family enjoys the flexibility and utility that aviation brings the family and Lexi is planning to get her pilots license in the coming year, hoping for a little of her own Cirrus time!
Ankeny, IA 50023
N984KC - 2015 SR-22 G5
Migration Chairman Co-Chair
Always wanted to fly but work and kids prevented it. Finally took the leap in 2002 and got my PPL.
Bought an SR20 as a low hour pilot in 2004, put 400 hours on it and got my instrument rating. Then a new SR 22 GTS in 2006 which I put 500 hours on until the economic downturn hit and I sold it in 2011. I took a few years off and then bought a beautiful 2007 SR22 TN in 2015. I put almost 800 hours on the plane before selling it in 2018 to buy my current ride a 2018 SR 22 GTS. Passed the Commercial Written and beginning flights with my instructor. I’m passionate about training, going up with my CSIP quarterly and trying to go to one CPPP a year.
I obviously love the Cirrus and felt the need to get more involved in COPA in 2012 when I started volunteering on the Migration Committee. That led to several years of involvement in Migrations as Migration Chair and two terms on the Board. I’m glad o could give back a small portion of what I’ve received from COPA.
The day job is running my real estate advisory and development company which provides me the opportunity to fly for business.
I’m blessed to have a beautiful wife that puts up with my flying and eight wonderful kids from 36 to 16.
SR22T G6 - N27MY
COPA member since 2013
Erik Gundersen has always had a passion for aviation since he was a small child. With his grandparents living in Norway, Erik would travel there many summers via the Airlines with his face against the airport and airplane window watching the airplanes takeoff and land. He knew he would be a pilot once he was older. Erik attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University(ERAU) in Prescott, AZ for his Bachelors degree and complete flight training. He obtained all his ratings at ERAU from Solo to his Multi-Engine Commercial Instrument. Graduating in 2004, Erik then went to work for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Delta Connection. After only a year Erik Left the airlines due to Low pay and better opportunities. After a break from flying while obtaining his MBA, growing the Family Business and starting a family, Erik started flying regularly again in 2013. After joining COPA and Renting a SR22 for 6 months, Erik Purchased his first and current Airplane, a 2003 SR22 G1 N609AE in June of 2016. In the 2 years of ownership Erik has accumulated over 350 hours on his Cirrus for both Business and pleasure. Erik is focused on spreading his passion for aviation and aviation safety.
Joining COPA is 2013, Erik has been active on the forums, especially with regards to G1 - G3 air-frame issues, upgrades and avionics. His current positions on your Board of Directors include Director, and Migration Co-Chair.
In “Real Life” Erik is a father of 2 Girls, Married to his best friend Danielle since 2009, co-owns and operates the family manufacturing business Ivar's Display in Ontario, California and Shelby, North Carolina. With his Family, Erik lives outside of Los Angeles in Chino Hills, CA and bases his plane at Chino Airport (KCNO).
Erik is currently working on obtaining his CFI so he can continue to spread his passion for aviation to the next generation of pilots.
N609AE – 2003 - SR22 - G1
At-Large Board Member
Ken retired July 2016 as a Petroleum Engineer for the largest Natural Gas Producer in the United States, XTO Energy Inc. XTO was purchased by EXXONMOBIL in 2010. Ken is married to his lovely wife, Alison and have two children, Bryan (24) CFII for Spartan in Tulsa and Rachel (22), Chemical Engineering student (senior, yea!).
Ken obtained his private pilots license(PPL) in November 2009, and quickly purchased a 2007 SR-22 G3 NA (N916P) in January 2010. Flying has always been in Ken's family; Grandfather was an airplane mechanic for the Lafayette Escadrille during WW 1 and came home with the bug. He always had a plane and hangar on his Oklahoma farm, had two boys fly in WW 2, and his two girls were pilots too, Ken's Mom was a Pilot. Ken received an instrument ticket in April 2011 and has now accumulated over 1,400 hours.
N916P - 2007 SR22 G3
COPA member since 2005
Mike has been flying since he was an infant and licensed in 2003. He is private multi-engine land with an Eclipse type rating and 1900 hours in his 2004 SR22 G2, which he flies all over the US and Caribbean with his wife, daughter, and dog.
New Orleans, LA (KNEW)
N86WB - 2004 SR22 G2