Coming with almost forty years of aviation experience and twenty-two thousand logged hours, Jim was born to fly. From the moment he graduated high school, Jim got a job selling shoes to pay for his private license training close to his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. This led to him joining the Air Force as an air traffic controller. After completing his first four years, Jim reenlisted in hopes of spending the rest of his career with the Air Force; however, he got in a motorcycle accident resulting in his medical discharge. However, Jim stayed true to his passion for flight and got all of his instrument and commercial ratings, which led his to St. Louis for many years with the airlines. To be more involved in flight planning and the whole picture, Jim transitioned to corporate flying in North Carolina and later to Florida where he met and started with the Paul Kramer’s Learn to Fly Center.
Get to know Jim through a Q&A
What ignited your passion for aviation?
I come from a family of doctors; so, it didn’t come from them. However, my father would often times take business trips. When he would return to the airport in a DC6, my mother and I were allowed to go out on the tarmac. It was then at the early age of six when I knew I wanted to become a pilot.
What is your favorite aircraft?
By far, my favorite aircraft is the CRJ700 made by Bombardier. With its huge engines, it’s really fast. It just screams. If you can’t guess, I love speed.
Have you had an aviation mentor or someone that inspired you along your career?
I’ve looked up to many pilots along my over thirty-year career, but one pilot in particular sticks out in my mind, Newman Wadlow. I met Newman in Tulsa, Oklahoma when I was preparing for a check ride. At the time, he had logged sixty thousand flight hours. Over many occasions, we watched movies of his flights and he shared his wisdom. He is now in the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.
What do you enjoy most about being an instructor for new aviators?
The joy is watching my students finally get it. When it all clicks is a special moment. Although I’ve been doing this since ’85, it’s still interesting to see how each person reacts to learning how to fly. Some, instinctively and others more methodically, find a unique way to master the basics and then just enjoy the freedom of flight.
What do you in your spare time?
When I’m not flying, I’m riding my road bike or at the gym lifting weights. I enjoy being physically active. I try to log at least two thousand miles on my road bike a year. I live in South Florida where I have ten different routes that I enjoy. Both cycling and reading are great stress relievers for me.