Pete Bedell is a pilot for a major airline who lives in Gaithersburg, MD, with his wife and daughter. He is a third-generation pilot who was instructed by his father and two brothers. His family has owned a Beechcraft Baron and Cessna 172 for more than 30 years. He obtained a journalism degree from the University of Maryland in 1994 while flying part time as a charter pilot in Beechcraft Barons and Piper Chieftains. From 1994 to 2000, Bedell was an editor at AOPA Pilot, where he flew and wrote about dozens of general aviation airplanes and coordinated the association’s Ultimate Arrow sweepstakes project among other duties. Wanting to get some more flying time, Bedell joined a regional airline and flew as a captain in the BAe Jetstream 41 and Canadair Regional Jet. In 2005, he joined a major airline and is currently a first officer in the Boeing 737. Bedell co-authors the Career Pilot column for AOPA Flight Training and is a contributing writer at AOPA Pilot.
Harry Clements wanted to be an airplane designer after riding in a Ford Trimotor in the 1930s, so he attended Wichita University under the GI Bill and acquired Bachelor and Master Degrees in Aeronautical Engineering. He was hired into Cessna’s all encompassing Flight Test, Aerodynamics and Preliminary Design group before getting his Bachelor’s, and was instrumental in preparing the proposal that won the USAF’s T-37 Twin Jet Trainer contract. He later was Chief of Aerodynamics and Chief Technical Engineer during the development of that airplane. Other models he worked on were the 180, 310, OE-2, 620 and 170C and 172, and was a test pilot on three of these. He later acquired an A&P based on earlier experience with FBO and floor manufacturing. He joined the Rohr Corporation and learned big scale aerospace manufacturing and was General Manager of their Space Products Division. After serving a period in Federal Government positions, including Director of Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, he returned to aviation, flew skydivers on weekends for the fun, and finished as President of a small Wichita firm manufacturing airplane parts and assemblies distributed both locally and nationally.
For over 50 years, pilots have turned to Richard L. Collins for his unique perspective on the challenges and rewards of flying light aircraft. He started his career working with his father, Leighton Collins, at the original Air Facts magazine. He then went on to work for the leading aviation magazines, including as editor of both AOPA Pilot and Flying. With over 20,000 hours of real world experience, much of it in 172s and 210s, Collins writes about safety, weather and air traffic control from first-hand experience. He is the author of numerous books, including The Next Hour, published in 2009 by Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
Brandon grew up always looking up, when a random airplane happened overhead. A Seattle-area native whose only complaint about the rain is the accompanying lack of VFR weather, Brandon earned his Private Pilot Certificate in late 2007 and has since added a seaplane rating and a tailwheel endorsement. A self-admitted airplane junkie, he’ll find any reason to hang out at the airport, whether to fly or watch other aircraft come and go. He has flown C172s, a 7KCAB Citabria, and a Piper Super Cub on floats. Currently he flies his flying club’s C150, and blessedly counts his wife as his favorite passenger.
Bill started flying back in the mid 80’s although he still remembers going up as a child in a friend’s Piper and has been flying ever since. He has continued a love of aviation. Being ADD and dyslexic has offered him an exciting and new view of aviation. He is a semi-retired management consultant and entrepreneur who focuses on seeing the forest for the tress while increasing the bottom line. More info
For a private pilot Stephen has accomplished quite a lot in his 5000 or so hours of flying since he obtained his English PPL in a Cessna 152 in 1982. He has owned a variety of single and twin engine aircraft, starting with a 1/15th share in a Cessna 172 and progressing to the Aerobatic Bonanza that he flies today. On the way he has owned a Fuji FA 200, a Beech Duchess, a Cessna 310 and an MD520N Notar helicopter to mention just a few and has over 100 aircraft types in his logbook. Among his aviation achievements, he owned and operated one of the largest flight schools in New Zealand, competed in international aerobatic competitions, displayed warbirds and his beloved Notar at air shows around the world and ferried a variety of aircraft across the Pacific ocean. If you ask him why he never took his Commercial Pilot’s License he will tell you that he always wanted to fly on his own terms and not be told by anyone else when and where he had to fly. Today he flies his Aerobatic Bonanza E33C out of his retirement location in Oroville, California with his wife Denise and his ever present co-pilot a Yorkshire Terrier named Agapanthus Mayhem.
Lou Gregoire is a police pilot in metro Atlanta who works part time as a ferry pilot and news pilot. He has 1900 hours, 1200 of which are in helicopters. He also holds a rotorcraft CFI and an ASEL commercial. As for writing, Lou says, “I haven’t taken a class since high school (33 years!), yet I constantly think about putting pen to paper, as it were.”
Hunter Heath is a semi-retired endocrinologist, medical school professor, and medical researcher now living in Indianapolis, who has been flying since the early 1980s. He was fortunate to train with career CFIs who were veterans of the WWII CPT program and flew P-38s. Airplanes owned include a 1966 Cessna 172, part of a J-3 (briefly), and the current 1946 Aeronca 11AC Chief. He has a long involvement with the EAA, including founding and chairing the EAA Aeromedical Advisory Council. At the moment, he is trying to figure out how to get our ever-helpful FAA to authorize the swap of the Chief’s A-65 for a C-85-12 with an electric starter.
Dave has been a pilot since 1953 and holds a single and multi-engine, instrument license. He also has time in helicopters and gliders, and has owned and shared ownership of several airplanes, including a Christen Eagle. He is an attorney, lives in West Chester, Ohio with his wife, Sue, of 55 years, enjoys writing and is an active amateur radio operator (W8FZF).
Kyle Libby is an aspiring aerospace engineer who earned his Private license at 17. His training took place at a small FBO in Apple Valley, California, his hometown in the desert, which provided for stunning visibility, good weather, and wicked winds. After soloing fairly quickly, he managed school and flying to finish up within a year. He interns at his congressman’s office, is in the Civil Air Patrol, and plays golf. Kyle is energetic, enjoys hanging out with friends, and likes to adventure into the Mojave Desert by hiking or with his Jeep. He enjoys exploring and visiting new airports.
Michael McDowell has always had a passion for aviation. Growing up the in the rice farming community of Alvin, Texas he had regular exposure to low flying crop dusters and F4 Phantoms flying out of Ellington Air Force Base. The thrill and excitement of watching those over flights created a passion that has never waned. Though Michael’s career path brought him to be an IT Manager for an international chemical company, he eventually followed his passion and became a private pilot. Michael is a member of a flight club just south of Houston and regularly flies the club’s Piper Warrior.
W. Scott Olsen is an English professor at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. His latest books are Hard Air: Adventures from the Edge of Flying and Never Land: Adventures, Wonder, and One World Record in a Very Small Plane. He is at work on a new book called “Prairie Sky.” He rents a Cessna 172 from the Fargo Jet Center.
Brent works as a management pilot for a large fractional operation in Ohio. He started flying in high school in Oklahoma and earned his private certificate his senior year. He attended college at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma while building flight time. Subsequent ratings were obtained at North American Institute of Aviation in Las Cruces, NM. He has flown a myriad of airplanes in his 25+ years in the industry. Although he currently flies a Falcon 2000 at work, his real passion is light airplanes. In 2005 he started building a Vans RV-8 kit, which was completed in 2011. Prior to that, Brent restored a Bucker Jungster I biplane and a 1946 Ercoupe. He also taught for many years helping people obtain private, instrument, and commercial certificates, along with teaching tailwheel transitions. In his current role, he is exposed to industry-leading training and safety practices, such as Threat and Error Management, Safety Management Systems, and Crew Resource Management. Brent is also the creator of iFLYblog.com, a general aviation blog that discusses a wide range of topics applicable to pilots.
Susan Parson is an active general aviation pilot and Master flight instructor in northern Virginia. She holds an ATP certificate, as well as ground and flight instructor certificates with instrument, single engine, and multi-engine land ratings. She instructs for her Leesburg-based C182 flying club and the Civil Air Patrol. Both for CAP and as editor of FAA Safety Briefing magazine, Susan has authored several online training courses and over 80 GA safety articles.
It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. “While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.
Doug grew up off the end of a runway and has wanted to fly before he could ride a bike. As the catalog manager for Sporty’s Pilot Shop, he takes pride in developing products that make flying easier for pilots. After spending a short time in the military including a year in Iraq, his standards are abnormally high for pilot products. A private pilot with an instrument rating, he enjoys small prop planes more than any jet. You’ll normally find him in a Cessna 172 or Skycatcher while on a mission to find the finest biscuits and gravy at an airport cafe.
Tim’s first summer job was as a line boy at an FBO in San Juan, P.R. With an employee discount, he took a flight with an instructor and was hooked. Eighteen months later, he was a Private Pilot. He flew extensively to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands during that time. Life got in the way and he had to stop flying for about 15 years. When he picked it back up, he went on to obtain his Instrument rating, and then work interceded again. He moved overseas and lived in Europe, Africa, Australia and Mexico for another 17 years. Since returning to the States he has gone on to get his Commercial SEL and MEL certificates. He lives outside of Houston, TX and flies as often as possible.
Arnie grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and has a BS degree in journalism from the University of Bridgeport. After serving four years as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot, he joined Pan Am in 1968 and later was a captain on the Boeing 727 and Airbus A310 with additional responsibilities as the Director of Flight Safety. He joined Delta Air Lines in 1991 in conjunction with the sale of Pan Am’s European routes and retired as a Boeing 727 captain in 2000. Type ratings include the DC-3, Boeing 707, 727, Airbus A310 and several helicopters. His memoir of CH-46 Vietnam flying experiences will be published later this year by Bluewater Press. He lives with his wife in Pensacola, Florida.
Paul Richardson earned his private pilot license before he graduated from high school in 1953 and continued flying while a student at the University of Michigan. After a variety of flying jobs, including a stint in the Air Force Reserve, he was hired by Eastern Airlines where his first assignment was as a DC-7 co-pilot, later moving to the Lockheed L188 Electra, Boeing 727, Douglas DC-9 and in 1972 he was promoted to Captain DC-9 and held various other positions at Eastern including Staff Vice President of Flight Training. When Eastern closed, he flew L1011s internationally for charter flights. When he retired, he didn’t think he would fly again until he saw a restored Eastern DC-7 at Oshkosh, which led to the purchase of an Aviat Husky. His wife is also a pilot and together they fly the Husky all over the United States strictly for fun.
Adrian Ryan is an electronic and mechanical engineer, recently retired having worked as the Chief Engineer for sateliite communications in both the hardware and software disciplines for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) for the past 30 years. He always wanted to fly, but the pressures of the job plus family meant that he was unable to devote sufficient time to it until now. He has travelled extensively having lived in Italy, Belgium, USA, Norway, Iceland, Canada and many other places, and has now retired to sunny Cyprus, the “Jewel Of The Mediterranean.” Finally he’s able to devote his full time and energy to flying, and even though now 69, is still a “big kid” at heart. In addition to aviation, he is a ham radio operator, holding the call sign 5B4AIY, a photographer, musician, and a writer.
Phil Scott, a contributor to Air & Space/Smithsonian for 20 years, is author of six books, including Hemingway’s Hurricane (McGraw-Hill, 2005). Fanatical about airplanes since he was 10, Scott moved to New York to write about flying in 1986. On Christmas Eve that year he received his license in Stormville, New York. Since then he’s also climbed Kilimanjaro, eaten lunch with the Foreign Legion in French Guiana, landed in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia less than two weeks after Russian troops pulled out, learned to ride a camel in Wadi Rum, got no sleep during night ops on the carrier John C. Stennis. And finally, he visited the motorcycle exhibition in the Guggenheim.
Hal Shevers is founder/chairman of Sporty’s Pilot Shop and Sporty’s Academy, both based at Clermont County Airport (I69). Hal is a graduate of Purdue University, where he received a degree in mechanical engineering. It was in college that Hal earned his private pilot’s certificate as a member of the Purdue Flying Club. After college, Hal marketed a small radio that picked up airport control towers. He sold the radio to pilots by mail, using the trunk of his car as his first warehouse. This was the birth of Sporty’s Pilot Shop. In the early days of Sporty’s, Hal supplemented his income by giving flight and ground instruction. He was a pioneer in the first three-day ground school courses, which he developed and taught for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Hal is an Airline Transport certificated pilot with more than 10,000 hours, of which 2,000 are in Piper Aztecs. In 2007, Hal was inducted into the National Association of Flight Instructors Hall of Fame.
Born and raised in northern England, Adam obtained degrees in modern history and museology from the University of Leeds, England and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Prior to relocating to the USA he managed the Scottish National Museum of Flight, located on a historic airfield near Edinburgh. While there, he learned to fly in a World War II Piper L-4. Adam worked for the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh from 2001 until 2012 where he oversaw the operation of the EAA AirVenture Museum, aircraft operations, youth education programs, membership programs, Chapters and publications. He also organized the program of features and attractions at the annual AirVenture fly-in. He recently joined AOPA as senior vice president of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community. The Center has been created to stop the slow, steady decline in the number of certificated pilots in the United States and seek ways to stimulate growth. Adam currently owns a Cessna 180 and a clipped-wing J-3 Cub, and is building a replica of a World War I Sopwith Pup using original plans.
Holder of an ATP certificate with instructor, CFII and MEI ratings and a Masters Degree in Aviation Safety, 2010 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year and 2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year, Master CFI Thomas P. Turner has been a Lead Instructor for pilot training program at the Beechcraft factory; production test pilot for engine modifications; aviation insurance underwriter; corporate pilot and safety expert; Captain in the United States Air Force; and contract course developer for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He now directs the education and safety arm of a 9000-member pilots’ organization. With over 3800 hours logged, including more than 2400 as an instructor, Tom writes, lectures and instructs extensively from his home at THE AIR CAPITAL–Wichita, Kansas.
Cragg Utman has worked in a variety of industries from mortgage banking to restaurants. He earned an associates degree in 1996 and worked as an avionics tech for BF Goodrich Heavy Maintenance repairing and modifying mostly Boeings for Southwest, United, UPS, FedEx, Frontier and other airlines in addition to a few corporate 757s, 737s, and 747s. His flying started when he was 18, but with the pull of college, early career demands, girls, cars and then kids and houses demanding his money, he couldn’t fly, but he continued to attend air shows and other aviation events. Today, his goal is to fly as a sport pilot, low and slow.
Lane Wallace is an internationally-known columnist for EAA’s Sport Aviation magazine, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, and the founder and editor of no map. no guide. no limits., a website focused on taking a more adventurous, entrepreneurial, and passion-driven approach to life. She’s also written six books for NASA on flight and space exploration, a book for young people on flying and designing airplanes (published by EAA), and has worked as a writer and producer on a number of television and video projects. Her first airplane was a 1946 Cessna 120, but her current airplane is a 1977 Grumman Cheetah.
John knows how lucky he is to go to work every day at an airport. As Vice President of Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s Catalog Division, he says, “I get to hang around airplanes all the time, flying regularly and testing new products for the catalog.” Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria and a Pilatus PC-12. Currently a Commercial, Multiengine pilot with Glider and Seaplane ratings, John recently added a Rotary rating, bought a Robinson R44 and flew it to EAA AirVenture, claiming, “A helicopter is the best way to arrive in Oshkosh.” Despite his love of low and slow flight, John says, “I love the challenge of IFR flying in the system. Seeing the runway lights as you break out on approach is a thrill.”
Lawrence Zingesser is a retired neuroradiologist whose first flying was in a Piper J2 when he was in college. He did not take up flying in a serious way until he was in his 30s. Today he is a private pilot, with instrument, seaplane and rotary ratings. He and his wife, also a pilot, co-own a Mooney 231. He adds, “Last year I become a UFO [United Flying Octogenarian] member, and hope to keep flying for a few more years.”
David grew up in an airplane family, and obtained his Private certificate at age 17. He went on to graduate from University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Program and has been flight instructing for over 10 years. Currently the flight school manager and assistant chief flight instructor at Sporty’s Academy, David enjoys teaching in all types of aircraft, but specializes in glass cockpit transition training in high performance singles like Cirrus SR-22, Columbia/Cessna 350/400, and the Piper Malibu/Mirage. Ratings include Commercial, Multi-engine, Instrument, Glider, with the same ratings for flight instruction. For personal fun, he enjoys flying glider’s and a Piper L-4 Cub.