Your Pilot

I became interested in flying at an early age. Drawing airplanes and building models in elementary school. As a young boy I would go up in the hills above my home in San Mateo after school each day. Using a pair of binoculars, I would keep a written log all of the aircraft I would see. I had a great vantage point and was able to see San Francisco International Airport from my perch above the bay. Every once in a while my father would take me to an air show or to San Francisco International Airport to watch the planes take off and land. This was one of my favorite past times as a youngster. In high school I joined the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The CAP was originally formed during WWII to patrol our coastal waters and participate in search and rescue operations. The Civil Air Patrol was very much like the Boy Scouts. However, its primary mission after WWII in addition to search and rescue was to promote aviation education and flying among youngsters who had an interest in an aviation career. I enjoyed my time as a Civil Air Patrol cadet and it was during this period that I first started flying lessons at San Carlos Airport in 1964.

San Carlos Times, January 27, 1965

Cessna 150 Basic Trainer

While still in high school I obtained my FAA Private Pilot License. With the generous financial support of my parents I was able to continue to work on more advanced FAA pilot ratings over the next few years. In 1968 I enrolled in the Aeronautics program at the College of San Mateo and in 1970 was admitted to the Aeronautics program at San Jose State University. By the time I graduated in 1973 I had obtained my FAA Commercial, Instrument, Multi-Engine and Flight Instructor certificates and had begun flight instructing on a part-time basis at West Bay Aviation at San Carlos Airport. At the time I graduated the airline industry was in the doldrums, with the major air carriers laying off many more pilots than were being hired. This economic airline industry free fall continued for a number of years. 

With an airline career not in the offing for me I decided to go into teaching and flight instructing. I obtained a California teaching credential for aeronautics that allowed me to instruct at the community college level and was fortunate to get hired by the College of San Mateo. I taught at CSM for the next six years, while at the same time building up my flight hours instructing.

Piper Navajo Chieftain

In 1979 I decided to leave my teaching position at CSM. Within a few months I was hired as a commuter airline pilot for California Air Commuter. I started out flying a mail run. My favorite route originated out of San Francisco International Airport. I was flying a twin engine, eight passenger Piper Navajo Chieftain. I would report to Bulter Aviation at SFO airport around mid-night, load up the night mail and depart at 1 AM for Sacramento and Reno. After reaching Reno, Nevada around 3 AM I would unload the mail and then try to get a few hours of sleep in the main aircraft cabin. Around 5 AM I would re-install the aircraft’s passenger seats and then return back to Sacramento and San Francisco as a passenger flight at 6 AM. This was a grueling schedule and I am glad that I was able to upgrade to just flying passenger routes after about six months of flying the mail. I flew for California Air Commuter for three years before the airline ceased operations due to financial difficulties. It was all very good practical flying experience and I made many friends during this time. It was again time for a career move and in this case timing was working in my favor for a change. The International Air Service Company/IASCO in Napa, CA was starting up a new abinitio/cadet airline pilot training program. For many years IASCO trained Japan Airlines pilots. However, this new contract was with Gulf Air, a major regional airline in the Arabian Gulf.

At the time, Gulf Air operated Boeing 737’s and Lockheed L1011’s. The airline was essentially run and its aircraft crewed by British expatriates. However, a number of the key upper management positions were held by Arab Nationals. It was the intent of the Arab management to eventually nationalize the airline with Gulf national pilots and mechanics. I was hired to head up this pilot training program at IASCO, which initially entailed writing an airline oriented flight and ground training syllabus and having it approved by the FAA. During this period I was granted the authority by the Sacramento Flight Standards District Office of the FAA to act as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. This designation allowed me to administer FAA pilot licensing check rides to all of the cadets. I was also the primary liaison between Gulf Air and IASCO during the five years I managed this contract. During this period IASCO trained close to 100 cadets, many of which have been flying as Captain’s for Gulf Air for many years now.

Being assigned to this contract gave me the unique opportunity to travel internationally. I would travel back and forth to the Arabian Gulf on the average of three times a year for the five years I worked with Gulf Air. I also had the opportunity to fly jump seat on the airlines fleet throughout the Middle East and Europe. The objective to observe flight crew procedures and interactions to gain realistic insights into what it takes for a newly FAA rated cadet to successfully make the transition to the airlines training and flight operations. After five years of managing this contract on behalf of IASCO, Gulf Air decided to move their training back to the UK, primarily due to the still dominant British influence in the airlines flight operations. It was at this time that I decided to turn another corner in my career and pursue a position as a corporate pilot.

Gulf Air Boeing 737

In a twist of fate five years after leaving IASCO I was to be contacted by one of my ex-IASCO students and offered another unique opportunity to work overseas. This student had become a highly placed flight officer in the U.A.E. Air Force. During the interim however, I continued to flight instruct and landed my first corporate pilot job for a local Anheizer Busch Distributor flying a new Cessna Conquest 425 turboprop.

In 1990 I again found myself working as an international aviation training consultant. However, now working for the U.A.E. Air Force and government, setting up and managing a number of aviation training programs for them in the United States. All during this period I continued to fly and instruct in the San Francisco bay area. It was also around this time that I obtained my first FAA type rating in a turbojet aircraft, the Cessna Citation 500.

Cessna Conquest 425

Cessna Citation 500

In 1995 my consulting work for the U.A.E. Air Force and government formally came to an end. In 1998 I decided to submit an application to Raytheon Travel Air, a corporate jet fractional ownership company with approximately 100 aircraft operating throughout the United States. This company is presently called Flight Options. At the time I joined Raytheon Travel Air they were operating new King Air B200’s and Beechjet 400A’s. I started out flying the King Air and after about a year upgraded to the Beechjet 400A.

Beechcraft King Air BE200

Beechjet BE400A

I remained with Raytheon Travel Air for two years. All pilots had to work a six day “on” and four day “off" schedule. Most of the time I had to commute to the east coast to link up with the aircraft I was assigned to. Being away from home 60% of the time took a toll and in 2000 when I had an offer to set up a brand new corporate flight department flying a new Citation CJ1 I welcomed the opportunity.

Cessna Citation Jet CJ1

At the present time I am participating in the management and or crewing of four different bay area based Citation Jet’s under the umbrella of my corporate aircraft management company “Aviation Consulting Services Ltd.” Most of my flights are domestic in nature. However, on occasion I fly to Canada and Mexico. I hope to be able to continue flying for as long as I am capable of doing so. It has been the love of my life!

 My 1942 Boeing Stearman over the Golden Gate Bridge
on a beautiful spring day

Your Pilot
Napa County Airport