SAFE#: 0185

Hometown: Pella, Iowa

Home Airport: KPEA

Occupation: Airport Manager and Fixed Base Operator


Education: Associates of Applied Science Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology from Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa

Pilot Certificates: Commercial ASEL and ASES, ATP AMEL, CE650, and LR45. CFII and MEI. I also serve as a DPE for the Des Moines FSDO and hold an A&P Certificate with an Inspection Authorization.

Airplanes Flying/Flown: A variety of single-engine airplanes including Cirrus SR20 and 22, J3-Cub, and Citabria 7GCBC. BE76 Duchess for multi-engine training and PIC and SIC in Lear 45, Falcon 10, and Citation series aircraft.

Educational Specialty: TAA and Tailwheel/Spin training.

Q & A

What drew you to aviation? My dad and uncle were both pilots and I always wanted to be a pilot like my dad. I had airplane toys as a kid and enjoyed going to the airport and airshows with my dad.

How long have you been involved in aviation education? I got my CFI in 1996 (that makes this my 13th year) while still in college and when right to work instructing. (I gave my first hour of dual to my dad on the way home from my CFI Checkride). When I took over the FBO in 1999, I increased my focus on flight instructing.

What’s your favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Helping people reach their goals and dreams.

What’s your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Like any job it has its negative parts: the pilot who needs to be counseled, the failed checkride, or a conflict with a customer.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you’d like to share? In 2003 my dad and I were chosen to fly the Iowa flag to Kitty Hawk for EAA’s 50 Flags to Kitty Hawk Program. We flew my 1947 Cessna 120 to First Flight airport and back. On December 17, 2003 I proposed to my wife Megan in the Cessna 120 (thankfully she said yes!).

Why did you join SAFE? I feel it’s important for flight instructors to unite under a member-centered organization to promote safety and professionalism in our industry. When I saw the dedicated professionals that were involved in SAFE from the beginning, I knew it was a good group to be involved in.

What would you like to see change in aviation? A focus on recurrent training led by industry groups and flight instructors, not regulation, which would lead to a drop in the general aviation accident rate.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished? Of course this is a lofty goal but I think that it starts with pilots and flight instructors creating a safety culture at their airports and in their organizations. I also think that there is a great value in mentoring among pilots and flight instructors.

Any accomplishments in, or noteworthy contributions to aviation and/or aviation education you’d like to mention? I’m currently serving as a FAAST lead rep, on the board of the Iowa Aviation Promotion Group, on the board of the Iowa Public Airports Association, and a Master Instructor.

Who are your role models in aviation? My dad is my role model both in and outside of the cockpit. My other role models are the many professional flight instructors from whom I’ve had the privilege of learning in the cockpit, in the classroom, and in their writing.

Anything else you’d like to add? I’m thankful to be working my dream job in aviation, only about 15 miles from where I was born and at the airport that I first soloed. I have a supportive wife and family that have made it all possible for me.