Meet our Staff
Noelle Mayes - Office Manager/Tow Pilot - Private Pilot SEL & Glider
Noelle Mayes 1991-Present
Noelle started flying while still in high school where she worked at a local FBO in return for flight time. She earned her private SEL rating in 1990. Noelle starting working for the Mayes family at Lagoon Valley in 1991 where she met the love of her life and owner of Lagoon Valley Soaring, Rex Mayes. She and Rex were married a few years later and have 2 sons, Ben and Nick.
Noelle enjoys running the office, towing and the social atmosphere of the gliderport. She handles the merchandise, scheduling, and accounting.
Rex Mayes- CFIG, DPE, Commercial SEL, Glider, Pvt MEL, A&P, IA, Repair Station Chief Inspector
Rex Mayes 1984-Present
Rex took over managing Lagoon Valley Soaring in Vacaville, CA the summer of 1984 in a temporary capacity while on break from Sacramento State University. He and his twin brother ran the family business until 1993 when the business moved to Williams, CA. Rex and his wife Noelle along with their two sons own and run the full service gliderport.
Rex is a DPE for Gliders, Chief Inspector for the FAA Repair Station, A&P and IA, tow pilot, and co-owner of Sage Variometers that is located on the airport. Rex strives to create an environment for pilots to enjoy all aspects of soaring. Email Rex
Drew Pearce - CFIG, Private SEL, A&P
Drew has been flying gliders since 1983 when he was 14 years old. He learned to fly in North Carolina and earned his private glider license when he was 16 and his commercial and instructor glider ratings at 18. In 1991 he worked for us one summer at our initial Lagoon Valley location. The next year he liked California soaring conditions so much he transferred from his college in Florida to San Jose State University and began working with us again on weekends. In 1993 he helped start a new glider operation at the Hollister Municipal Airport and managed it for over 10 years. He now works with us again performing mostly advanced training in glider aerobatics and cross-country soaring.
Kenny Price - ATP, CFIG, CFI SEL & SES, Instrument
Kenny starting flying gliders at Lagoon Valley Soaring in 1990. He took his first lesson with Rex in an ASK-21 and fell in love with gliders on his first flight. Kenny earned his private glider rating at Crazy Creek Soaring, while Lagoon Valley was relocating, and soon obtained his Commercial and CFIG. He began instructing in 1994 and joined the Williams Soaring Center staff where he became a full time instructor.
Earning his Commercial SEL in 1995, Kenny expanded his professional flying and began providing tows for the operation. In 1997 Kenny was awarded the SSA most Active Instructor in the USA. He received this award several times in the following years. Kenny semi-retired from full time status to a part time guest instructor in 2008. He has over 10,000 hours in gliders and 4,000 hours in powered aircraft. In his spare time Kenny enjoys flying his Super Cub and providing glider pilots with landout site tours.
Kerry Roberson - Tow Pilot, Glider Pilot, A&P
Kerry has been a part of the soaring community for over 40 years. He started his flying career in SGS 2-22's and earned his Private Pilot rating in 1968 while attending college in Florida. During his college years he flew a SGS 1-26 "a bunch" and added his Commercial Single Engine Land and Multi-Engine Instrument to his license. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1973.
He turned his love for flying into a successful career with the US Air Force. During Officer Candidate School he continued to fly gliders giving Cadets rides. He became a navigator in the Air Force aboard C130's and C5's. He was first to land a C-5 on the ice shelf in McMurdo, Antarctica. He retired from the Air Force in 1994.
He started towing at Williams Soaring Center in 1995 and has accumulated over 3000 tows and more than 13,000 hours flight time. Kerry flies most of the fiberglass fleet at WSC but still considers himself a 1-26 pilot at heart.
Mark Miller - CFI, CFIG, Commercial SEL & MEL, Glider, Instrument, Seaplane
I started flying on New Year’s Day in 1984. Flying power planes first with single and multi engine, instrument, sea plane and CFI. I started flying gliders in 1990 at the old Lagoon Valley Gliderport and added commercial glider and CFIG. Soon after I started doing glider rides every weekend. And after a few years started towing as well. Currently I am enjoying very much splitting my time between flying the tow plane and various gliders.
During that time at Lagoon Valley, I also started flying aerobatics in Citabrias, Decathalons, and eventually moved up to co owning a Pitts S2B aerobatic biplane, which I enjoyed flying in aerobatic competitions and just for the fun of it. Flying aerobatics in a glider I found is just as much fun, and a much quieter experience.
I have personally found that the people and staff at WSC truly make it a great place to fly.
~by: Mark Miller
Ben Mayes - Tow Pilot - Private Pilot Glider & SEL
Ben took his first glider flight in a Grob 109B when he was just two weeks old. He soloed a glider years later on his 14th Birthday and over the course of a few years earned his Private Pilot Glider and SEL ratings. He has been the official scorer at three National Contests and continues to fine tune his soaring skills flying the ASW-24, SGS-232 and FOX. Ben enjoys giving friends and family rides while he works towards his commercial SEL and glider ratings. He is currently a seasonal FireFighter with Cal Fire and is working towards a degree in Fire Science. Ben's spare time is spent as a Cadet with the Williams Volunteer Fire Department.
Nick Mayes - Shop Tech, Private Pilot Glider and Solo SEL
Nick soloed on his 14th Birthday. He has lived his whole life on our airport. Nick assists with the glider operations, running line, rigging gliders and is apprenticing to become a mechanic. Nick loves to fly the Super Cub and C-180 with his Dad and has soloed the ASK21,ASK23, and ASW24. On his 16th Birday he solo'd the Super Cub and is working on finetuning his skills and knowledge to earn his Private ratings. He is looking forward to flying his way through our fleet. Nick is working towards earning his SEL and A&P ratings.
Cora Knowles - Weekend Office Receptionist
I never thought I'd manage the office of a gliderport on my weekends, but here I am and loving it! My first day on the job, November 2008, Noelle asked me if I wanted to go up for a flight. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity! It was unbelievably AWESOME!!! I very much enjoy my job here and am fascinated by the "Inner Workings" of the soaring world. The accounting skills, computer skills, and people skills I brought with me have been augmented by the things I learn and do here every day. On weekends, I also get to feast on the enthusiasm of the passengers taking glider rides, tasks flown by private owners and share the milestones of the students working on their ratings. Weekdays I continue to work with the kids in Williams Middle School in the after school program, tutoring, supervising homework, fostering creativity in artwork and drama. What's next? I'm contemplating my next flight with enthusiasm... complete with barrel roll! by Cora Knowles
Hugh Tyler - Private Pilot Glider and SEL, Tow Pilot
I was introduced to flying on my birthday in 1986 when I was given a surprise aerobatic ride in an open cockpit biplane. The following week I was taking flying lessons. Fast forward one birthday. I was given a ride in a sailplane and true to form, I started work on a glider rating the following week. I flew sailplanes exclusively for the next several years in a club that was run by a bunch of ‘old’ guys, most of them WWII Army Air Corp vets. I am not sure if I wore the old guys down or gained their trust but they eventually agreed to let me tow gliders contingent on earning a tail wheel endorsement from Courtenay. Courtenay was a life time flight instructor and the pilot who flew Willy Messerschmitt out of Germany at the end of WWII. Towing renewed my love affair with powered aircraft, especially tail draggers and antiques. I took a 5 year hiatus from flying while constructing a Vans RV-7 kit plane which I still fly and use to commute to WSC. When I applied for the tow pilot position at WSC, Rex conducted the interview in a sailplane. I remember thinking, “I am going to like this place” and I really do.
Kevin Ash - Private Pilot Glider and SEL, Tow Pilot
Kevin has been flying gliders with us for years and is now a tow pilot. Additional Bio to come soon
Bob Ireland - Tow Pilot - Commercial Glider & Private Pilot SEL
I earned my private pilot glider license at a Civil Air Patrol Gliding Encampment in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1966 and added a power rating to it in 1968. Then life ensued and my flying career took a long hiatus. I earned a BS in Aeronautical Engineering at UCD and later worked as a Registered Civil Engineer for Sacramento County until my retirement to Mount Shasta in 2005.
I became a part of the Williams Soaring Center family in 1998, and with Rex and Noelle's encouragement (and aircraft) I've since spent over 1500 hours soaring cross-country in the mountains of northern California and Nevada.
Danny Shaefer - Shop Tech & Private Pilot Glider
Erik Knight - Shop Tech & Private Pilot Glider
We are located at: (for map see location page)
2668 Husted Road
Williams, CA 95987