|Hometown: Cleveland, NC
Hometown Airport: KSVH
Occupation: HEMS pilot / Business owner
Education: BS NJ Institute of Technology
Pilot Certificates: ATP R/W COMM SEL, MEL, Glider, CFII
Airplanes Flying/Flown: EC-135, R22, CE 177, 177RG, 182 RG, P210, C-310
Education Specialty: Initial and recurrent type-specific training for ASEL, AMEL, and Helicopter.
Q & A
|What drew you to aviation? Watching Sky King on TV in the late 50’s and early 60’s. A special thrill was that the star of Sky King, Kirby Grant, ultimately became a close personal friend of mine in the mid 70’s and remained so until he died in1985. We often flew together in the Cessna 310 I owned at the time.
How long have you been involved in aviation education? Since I became a CFI in 1973.
What’s your favorite part of what you do in aviation education? When the student clearly has that “Ah Ha” moment and that big smile comes over their face.
What’s your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education? My comment is more general……….it’s that the industry has never really evolved to where really good aviation educators who would love to make a career out of teaching can’t because – unless one has a special niche – the pay and benefits are not enough to support a family and create the incentive to stay in the education field full time.
Do you have a memorable aviation experience you’d like to share? I have been blessed with many. But as an educator what jumps to mind was when I was a young instructor in 1973, I had a 72 year old student who had been passed to me after the more experienced (and airline focused) instructors couldn’t get this guy to solo proficiency. He was quite dejected. But I figured out his problem, and cut him loose to 3 beautiful greaser landings. He was so happy he cried.
Why did you join SAFE? A recommendation from Joe Ruck of Air-Pros aviation insurance. Then additional research about the organization.
What would you like to see change in aviation? The fact that we have the same reasons for killing ourselves…..nothing has changed. Example….continued VFR into IMC.
Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished? Increase VFR weather minimums. It’s insane to think that launching in 1000/3 is acceptable for cross country flight. We have to have 2000/3 as a minimum to not file an IFR alternate. Seems backwards. There will always be idiots. But for many, if VFR minimums were higher, just the fact that it’s the law would stop many of these I’ll fated departures. Just preaching about it doesn’t seem to be working.
Any accomplishments in, or noteworthy contributions to aviation and/or aviation education you’d like to mention? I don’t even have an I love me wall. I guess winning a number of awards for my aviation safety video productions and magazine writing is quite gratifying. My best accomplishment, however, is that I have a list of students who come back to me each year for their type-specific aircraft recurrent training.
Who are your role models in aviation? There are a few mentors who really formed my skills and safety culture.
Anything else you’d like to add? It’s really sad that due to many negative factors, our airports are not nearly as welcome and inviting to the general public as they once were. If kids can’t come in and get inspired, they won’t want to learn to fly. This is why I try to make a special effort to take opportunities with my helicopter or airplane to introduce kids to flying.