Brad Childs is the Executive Vice President and COO of Eyetique. Brad started flying in 2002. In 2006 Brad got his first taste of rescue flying. The experience transformed him and he recognized that there was a need for more pilots to become involved in these kinds of rescue missions. Brad along with his friend Jonathan became very active in the rescue community and their passion for these rescue flights lead to the creation of a charity. In 2012 Brad became a co-founder of Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team.
The PAART team is made up of a diverse staff of passionate animal lovers that have dedicated their time and energy to our core belief of leaving No Dog Left Behind. The team is growing. If you are interested in becoming a pilot for PAART please download our Pilot Application Form. We actively recruit other pilots who are interested in donating their time and aircraft to perform missions.
Jonathan Plesset is the President/CEO of Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel. Jonathan began flying in 2002 along with his friend Brad Childs. In 2009 Brad and Jonathan teamed up to be a part of The Georgia Puppy Caravan. The two raised 50,000 pounds of food and flew down to assist in rescuing 200 plus dogs. Jonathan became convinced that animal rescue was in his future. In 2012 Jon became the co-founder of Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team. Jon is the resident gadget geek and keeps the staff updated with the latest toys.
Linda Childs is the critical piece that keeps us moving. Not only is she co-founder’s Brad Childs’ wife, she is also our flight coordinator. When the word gets out that our services are needed Linda and the go to person to being the coordination of the flights and the team that performs the missions.
Megan Plesset is our community relations and volunteer outreach manager. Megan is the wife of PAART co-founder Jonathan Plesset. Mrs. Plesset’s began her work with PAART in 2012 and has been serving on the board since the beginning. Megan is an avid cat lover and has helped the team rescue hundreds of her feline friends.
Mary Kennedy Withrow is no stranger to the world of animal rescue. Mary has worked all over the country on cruelty cases, natural disasters, dogfighting and has worked in our area shelters for many years. Mary has led the charge both locally and statewide in effecting change through legislation and advocacy to better protect our animals. A member of the PA Dept of Agriculture’s Dog Law Advisory Board, trainer, self-proclaimed “dog body language geek” Mary works to train our volunteers so they can be the best and works to promote the health and wellness of all dogs being brought into our state as well as those that already call Pennsylvania “home.”
Our Chief Pilot, Lawrence “Pete” Lehmann, is a record holding pilot who holds a CFI, CFI-G, MEI, and Commercial rating. In 2002, Pete set a world record for the longest hang glider flight to a declared goal when he flew this Wills Wing Talon 150 a distance of 516.2 km (321 miles) from Zapata, Texas, to Big Lake, Texas. Lehmann’s 9-hour goal flight, which he had to declare before taking off, exceeded the previous record by 16.1 km (10 miles). He reached a maximum altitude of 2,736 m (9,000 ft) above sea level.
Jeff Bonasso has been a PAART pilot since the fall of 2013. Jeff is an accomplished software programmer and designer who wrote a very popular pilot app for Android and iOS. Jeff has flown missions for us in his Cessna 182 and has had his hand in saving the lives of countless animals.
Kristi is our youngest pilot. Her love of animals and flying made joining PAART a perfect fit. Kristi and building time and ratings towards becoming an airline pilot. One day you may see her as the captain of your next commercial flight!
Tom is a very experienced pilot with thousands of hours of flight time under his belt. He brings to the team a vast knowledge of aircrafts, airplane operations and flight planning. With his gentle personality, friendly demeanor, and love of animals Tom is a wonderful asset to the team.
Patrick is our Assistant (to the) Chief Pilot, and has been flying since he was 13 years old. He’s an Apple Certified Mac Technician by day, and a Flight Instructor and PAART pilot in his free time. He adopted his Beagle, Zoe, after his second PAART flight.
Jan has been with the PAART family for the past few years. She came on board as a Landpilot and Fundraiser before joining the PAART Board of Directors in 2017. Jan is a passionate animal lover who works tirelessly to champion their causes.
The need to ensure that our operation works with reputable rescues and shelters is paramount to our non-profit. PAART receives a lot of requests for help and we make sure each mission is carefully vetted before we take anything on. When PAART needs to investigate, we turn to Frannie. Frannie is our official investigator. When a new shelter makes a request Frannie does the research to make sure they are in good standing. If a rescue doesn’t pass her inspection we won’t work with that shelter. Its a vital role for PAART and helps keep us in good standing.