I had my first airplane ride in a Cessna 172 in the Fall of 1973, at the age of 3, travelling from Jefferson City, MO (KJEF) to Joplin, MO (KJLN). During this fateful flight the pilot who had been chartered to fly me, my Mother and my 6-month old little brother asked me if I would like to fly the plane, and my world has never been the same since. Obsessed with all things aviation, I longed to again fly, but there was an obstacle.
Born with a club foot, and after multiple corrective surgery attempts, I had my right foot amputated at the age of 12. As a result of the amputation, my parents and I believed I would be unable to earn a pilot’s license, until a detailed review of the Federal Aviation Regulations showed that if I could qualify for a Statement Of Demonstrated Ability (SODA) Waiver showing I could safely manipulate the controls of an aircraft, I could in fact hold a pilot’s license.
With this new knowledge, I sought out an experienced flight instructor, and began my flight training while a sophomore in High School. Over the course of several years and different instructors, I went on to earn my Private Pilot’s license in 1992, adding an Instrument Rating and earned my Commercial Pilot’s License in 2000 – I have qualified for a SODA since 1987, and have held all the way to a First Class Medical Certificate.
I currently have close to 400 hours with flight experience in more than 30 different make/model fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Professionally, I am currently Manager, Product Support Engineering Group for an Engineering Services company in San Diego, CA. I have nearly 20 years of Technical and Management experience in Reliability, Maintainability & Safety Engineering, Integrated Logistics Support, Systems and Project Engineering, and Technical Documentation supporting Aerospace and Defense companies such as Hawker-Beechcraft Corporation, Eclipse Aviation, Dassault FalconJet, ITT, BAE Systems, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, Embraer, and The Spaceship Company.
Additionally, I have served on Air Transport Association (ATA) Working Groups defining Digital Display and Flight Operations approaches for the airline industry, and the FAA/industry panel that developed Advisory Circular AC120-76A Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness and Operational Use of Electronic Flight Bags.
I was introduced to aerobatics by airshow pilot Chuck Coleman while on an assignment in Mojave. I intend to begin competing in the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) Sportsman class. To my knowledge, I will be the only amputee currently competing in IAC events.
I want to share my passion for aviation and hope to help others see that disabilities and other challenges can be overcome with focus, persistence and passion.
This blog will cover my favorite aviation interests and passtimes, flying – Real World (Aerobatic and GA), Flight Simulation, and Remote Control.
Aircraft Flown To-Date (logged stick time):
General Aviation Airplanes (15)
- Beechcraft BE-23 Sundowner
- Beechcraft V35 Bonanza (H Model with IO-520 upgrade)
- Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza
- Beechcraft B-55 Baron
- Cessna 150
- Cessna 152 Aerobat
- Cessna 172
- Cessna 172 AvCon conversion (200hp and CS Prop)
- Cessna 175 (Javelin Ford V-6 testbed)
- Cessna 182
- Grumman AA-5 Traveller
- Grumman AA-5A Cheetah
- Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II
- Piper PA-28-200R Arrow II
- Piper Colt
- Aeronca 7GCBC Citabria (CERT)
- Aeronca 7KCAB Citabria (CERT)
- Christen Eagle II Competition Aerobatic Biplane (EXP)
- Extra 300L Unlimited Competition Aerobatic Monoplane (CERT)
- Great Lakes 2T-1A-2 (CERT)
- Grob G 103 Twin Astir Aerobatic Glider (CERT)
- Experimental Cozy III
- Experimental Epic LT Turboprop
- Experimental Glasair I-FT
- Experimental Glasair I-RG
- Experimental Glasair I-TD
- Experimental Lancair Legacy Turbo
- Experimental Merlin GT
- Experimental Rutan Long-EZ 118 hp
- Experimental Rutan Long-EZ 160 hp
- Experimental Sportsman 2+2
- Experimental Thorp T-18
- Experimental Van’s RV-8
- Experimental Velocity
- Beechcraft T-34A Mentor
- Boeing N2S-3 Stearman
- Cessna T-41A
- Hawker-Beechcraft T-6A Texan II Turboprop Military Trainer
- Nanchang CJ-6 Military Trainer
- Yakovlev Yak-52 Military Trainer
- Robinson R-22b Helicopter
- Spectrum RX-550 Beaver