About High Tide Aviation
High Tide Aviation is based out of Southport, North Carolina at the Cape Fear Regional Jetport. Our fleet includes a Robinson R44 Helicopter, a Cessna 172 airplane and a King Air C90B. We offer private air charters, scenic air tours around the cape fear region and flight training.
Jessica Ward, CFII – Owner & Chief Pilot
Jessica Ward, chief pilot and CEO, is a North Carolina native with nine years of experience in the aviation industry. She holds a commercial pilot certificate in multi-engine airplanes, single-engine airplanes and helicopters, with instrument and flight instructor ratings in both airplanes and helicopters. Jessica has a true passion for aviation and flies nearly every day. She loves sharing her passion and the joy of flight with others.
Terry Druffel, CFII – CFI, Tour Pilot, Operations
Terry Druffel is a native of Chicago, Illinois and a twenty-five-year Navy veteran. As a Navy helicopter pilot, he accumulated over 2000 hours of rotary-wing time flying the Bell Jet Ranger, single and twin engine “Hueys” and the Kaman SH-2F Anti-Submarine helicopter. His military fixed-wing time includes the T28 trainer and the C-131 transport aircraft. As a civilian pilot he has accumulated over 400 hours in High Performance, Complex, single engine and multi-engine airplanes, helicopters. His FAA ratings include Commercial Pilot; single engine, multi-engine and helicopter: Instrument airplane and helicopter; flight instructor.
Micayla Browne – CFI, Lead Pilot
Micayla is from Vancouver, Washington. During high school she decided she wanted to become a pilot. After graduating high school she went to start her dreaming of becoming a helicopter pilot. She attended a flight school in Oregon and earned her Associates Degree in Aviation Science: Professional Helicopter Pilot while completing her flight training. When Micayla’s not flying, she spends her time working as an EMT, and loves to be outside.
Dan Wilcox – CFI, Tour Pilot
Dan has lived in Carolina Beach, NC for 30 years, having moved from Virginia Beach, where he grew up. Dan’s background is in audio engineering and construction management & consulting. While Dan’s interest in flying came late in his career, he has made substantial progress since he was introduced to general aviation. Dan received his helicopter training from High Tide Helicopters and has been flying with us for four years. Dan holds a commercial pilot rating in both helicopters and airplanes and is a helicopter Certified Flight Instructor. Dan also holds his airplane instrument rating, and is currently working to adding his flight instructor rating to the airplane. When not flying Dan spends time on his sailboat and continues to be a longtime community volunteer.
Willis Tew – CFI, Tour Pilot
Willis, born and raised in NC, began flying in 2010. In 2015, while working and attending Utah Valley University's Global Aviation Program, he obtained a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Administration and his Commercial Helicopter pilot’s license from Total Flight Solutions. Willis became a helicopter Certified Flight Instructor in January 2020 and is our latest addition to the team. An avid musician and performer throughout his life, he’s an entertainer with a high regard for professionalism. In his spare time, you'll likely find him turning a wrench on his old Volkswagen or touring the outdoors with his 2 labs.
Our home airport, Cape Fear Regional Jetport, also known as Howie Franklin Field, is a public use
airport in Oak Island, North Carolina, United States. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Wilmington.