As a farm boy, Phil developed a fascination with mechanical things, viewing airplanes as the ultimate machine. His primary instructor was an instructor from 1920s and a civilian instructor for US Army Air Corps during WWII. In 1958, with freshly minted commercial certificate and appropriate ratings, including a ground instructor and flight engineer ratings, he was hired by Jacqueline Cochran for duty as mechanic, steward, and standby co-pilot on her Lockheed Lodestar L-18. With Jackie’s blessing, the following year Phil was hired by Northeast Airlines (merged with Delta in 1972). In 1962 Phil made a career change when his family farm operation hit a crisis situation, requiring his full attention. He has continued active aviation activities with a private airstrip on his farm and the local EAA chapter.