Coast Air Center 3760 Glenn H Curtiss Road.
San Diego,California 92123

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john and martha king

When John and Martha King got married,they shared a passion for entrepreneurship and agreed to be equal partners in everything they would do. Both exceptional students and high school valedictorians,they pursued interests in varied subjects including comparative literature andlearning to fly. They were both soon instrument rated and multi-engine rated pilots.It did not take long before teaching flying became their business. John and Martha began providing weekend ground school classes at motels with swimming pools. The family would enjoy the party at the pool and applicants could pass their knowledge test all in one weekend.John would teach the Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructorcourses in one classroom, while Martha would teach Instrument Pilot and Instrument Instructor applicants in another classroom. Written exams would be administered by the FAA on Monday morning.The arrangements allowed learning pilots to grow their flying knowledge rapidly with a minimal number of sessions.

As John and Martha taught classes every weekend for 50 weekends a year, they honed their skills at efficiently clarifying, simplifying, and making the material fun. After about 10 years, a student said to John, ”You should put these courses on video.” John replied, “That just goes to show you don’t understand our business, it won’t work on video.” At the time John and Martha thought that their outstanding results required the hard work that they personally put into the classroom. Eventually John and Martha were convinced to give video a try. They discovered that, through the magic of video, they could successfully teach ground schools in living rooms throughout the country. In fact,it wasn’t long before John and Martha were teaching half of the pilots in the country learning to fly.

Today, pilots throughout the world know John and Martha King from their fun video presentations in their courses and regard them as their personal aviation mentors. The Kings’ use of technology and clear, simple, and fun teaching have made aviation knowledge more accessible to hundreds of thousands of pilots and maintenance technicians.

After an aircraft accident and discovering their own sense of vulnerability, John and Martha say they have become “born again pilots.” The Kings use humor and stories from real-world cross-country experience to vividly illustrate principles of risk management and pass along practical and insightful tools you will use forever. As passionate entrepreneurs, the Kings have reflected on their business results and credit them to their habits of continuous learning combined with their passions for flying and business, as well as their embrace of technology.


how Entrepreneurial Leaders Can Contribute to Aviation Safety

Entrepreneurs shape the world. History is replete with entrepreneurs who have had a passion about something and were able to change the world.You have a special opportunity. You live in a time and place where you can us your passion for aviation to start, and run, a profitable aviation business selling safety. It will allow you to improve your life, make a positive influence on the aviation community as a whole, and improve the lives of everyone you touch.This presentation uses the entrepreneurial history of John and Martha King, as discussed in their recent book LIFT: How To Start, Run and Grow Your Own Successful Business.

The Kings share their passion for both aviation and entrepreneurship. They discuss the habits that give an entrepreneur the resources that will allow them to combine those passions into a business to profitably improve the safety practices of the aviation community.

mary schu


A 45 year veteran of general aviation, Mary has over 22,000 hours of flight time including over 14,000 hours of training provided to students at all levels in aviation. She has been a corporate piston,turbo prop and jet pilot for companies around the U.S., flying as a crew member and as a single pilot for the past 40 years. She was one of the first women to earn a jet type-rating in the late 1970s. She has been an FAA DPE for 20 years in two FSDOs giving all fixed-wing practical tests from Sport Pilot through ATP and all CFI ratings includinginitial CFI. She is qualifiedto give exams in 13 light twin airplanes including DA42 and twin Tecnam. She travels nationwide giving practical tests at FAA flight schools and offering assistance whenever possible.

Mary has combined her first career as a Masters degree qualified public school teacher in a special education classroom with flight training. As such, she wrote programs for an approved FAA Part 141 flight school, 135 Charter Operation, a 145 maintenance repair station and international flight school program (SEVIS) acting as owner, and operator of all. She developed a connection to local public schools providing high school credit for aviation training. Two and four year college degrees were provided through some of the first online aviation training with UVSC and a direct connection to airline employment with Delta was formed. She also wrote and presented a Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC) to pilots in many states and on cruise ships. Her educational efforts extend to video productions with John and Martha King of King Schools to write and present training videos as a DPE showing ACS check rides for Private, Instrument and Commercial students with emphasis on scenario based training and testing and safety. The Kings are the willing and good natured test applican.

Mary has served on the national FAA Airman Certification Standards working group committee (ACS) in Washington, DC as a volunteer for the past several years assisting with new flight training certification standards, editing FAA handbooks and attending meetings quarterly. She also serves as a board member for the General Aviation Awards and is the Point of Contact for Airventure in Oshkosh. She is a member of most of the aviation professional organizations including NAFI. She promotes professional membership among all aspiring aviators she meets.

As an aviation safety counselor, FAASTeam representative and presenter for the past forty years; Mary has spent hundreds of hours presenting interesting and humorous stories of her real world experience with emergencies such as seven actual engine failures, an emergency freezing rain escape to an air force base and explosive decompression at FL 190 in Colorado in the dead of winter when the front windscreen blew out. Among the favorites is the topic “Checkrides, What Could Possibly Go Wrong and How to Avoid it!”.

For the past several years she has become an active pilot and great supporter of the Warbird community and has volunteered with several groups flying the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, and B-25 Mitchell, touring the U.S. and crewing airshows. The time spent with the Veterans she meets is some of the most amazing she has experienced in aviation. A new goal is tobecome a DPE for Warbird bombers.

Examining Authority for seven of its 11 Part 141 approved programs, been recognized by AOPA’s Flight Training Experience Awards every year since that program began, and amassed more AOPA instructor awards than any other flight school.

Bob was the recipient of AOPA’s President’s Choice award in 2013, the FAA National Flight Instructor of the Year in 2016, and the AOPA Presidential Citation in 2019, and he was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2022.

Bob owns and oversees one of the largest GA maintenance facilities in Northern Virginia. He holds an MBA and has experience as a Jetstream 4100 Captain, an Airbus 319 First Officer, and a lead Citation captain.

barry knuttila

In 2002 Barry found himself a refugee from corporate America. His head was still spinning after one minute being a successful software development Vice President in a billion-dollar, publicly traded software company, and in the next minute being on the street after suffering a devastating crash that sent the company’s CEO to jail.

Barry needed a change, and as a passionate pilot, gave himself the gift of 2 years to work in aviation while improving King Schools’ technology, and doing a lot of flying before looking for his next “real job”. That was 21 years ago...What he found at King Schools was a company run on meaningful and compassionate principals, important mentorship and a deep passion for teaching that continues to drive him toward helping learning pilots succeed throughout their flying lifetime.

As CEO and Co-Owner, Barry guides King Schools strategy and growth, and appears regularly as an on-camera instructor in King’s video courses. Teaching is something he has always enjoyed, but Barry never imagined being able to help so many pilots learn through the magic of video that can be viewed from anywhere in the world online or downloaded to personaldevices.

Barry holds a Flight Instructor Certificate with ratings for single and multiengine airplanes and instrument training and holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with a Falcon 10 jet type rating and commercial seaplane privileges.

Over the years, Barry has logged time in 45 different aircraft types including flying aerobatic, formation and air combat tours with his partners in 3 Great Lakes biplanes. He owns a Beechcraft Debonair with his wife, a professional pilot, and he is currently learning to fly a Robinson R22 helicopter.

Barry especially enjoys trading seats with John and Martha in King Schools’ old Falcon 10 jet and lately also with his wife, Virginie, who is rated in the airplane. But, as much fun as it is flying an old, hot, swept-wing French jet, when asked what airplane Barry likes best, his answer is usually still whichever one he’s flown last.

Barry is far from running out of items on his list of flying aspirations, as well as growth opportunities for King Schools and fully expects the next 20 years to be the best yet!

david and nayda cattin

David and Nayda Cattin own and operate Cirrus Aviation and Aero Maintenance Services in Sarasota, FL.

David Cattin started his aviation career early, soloing at 16 years of age in France, where he then became a fighter pilot in the French Air Force. Thereafter, he came to America as an international student and never looked back. He started the flight school in 1994 and has learned the business from the ground up with one instructor, and one airplane.

Nayda joined Cirrus Aviation in the early 2000s and brought her formal business training along with her customer service focus. Nayda’s background was as a CSR at TWA, AMR, and then later graduated with a B.A. in Business from USF summa cum laude. With their combined experience they have grown the school to an internationally recognized leader in the aviation training field. They have always integrated the cutting edge of technology into their flight training model starting with GPS’s, to G1000’s, and Simulators. David has been the bridgehead to bring much-needed elite European aviation products to the US market, a story that will be shared at the conference today.

brian hough

Brian Hough (M.Sc. Aeronautics, ATP; CFI, CFI-I, MEI, Gold Seal) is a prominent aviation educator. Having served as Chief Instructor of diverse Part 141 flight programs, he pioneered training initiatives, including both DGCA (India) and CAAC (China) Training Programs for international students, Rotary Transition Programs aiding military personnel, and streamlined Part 141 courses. He traveled to Beijing and met with the CAAC Chairmen, gaining approval for his new programs. Notably, his proficiency- based simulator programs and Reduced Hour courses elevated training standards.

Having effectively delivered over 5000 hours of dual instruction, Brian’s pedagogical influence has touched aspiring pilots globally. His deep-seated expertise extends to matters of Accreditation, Veterans Benefits, and International Student Programs (SEVP), underscoring his comprehensive grasp of aviation education nuances. An unwavering passion for aviation motivated him to volunteer for over 15 years with the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA). In this capacity, he fulfilled roles as a judge, chief judge, and national council representative, thus fostering a culture of excellence within the industry. Furthermore, as an FAAST manager, Brian orchestrated multiple public training seminars dedicated to promoting aviation safety.

Notably, Brian led the groundbreaking creation of the first online university partnership program for Part 141 flight schools with Liberty University. This initiative has grown to encompass 88 flight schools nationwide, revolutionizing aeronautical education’s accessibility and affordability. As a collegiate professor, Brian has enjoyed teaching flight instructors the most. He enjoyed his concept of training the trainer and sharing with instructors how you adapt to your student’s learning style. Beyond academia, Brian’s aviation passion is evidenced by owning three airplanes (Piper Cherokee 6, Beech Duchess, and Cessna 172RG) and traveling to airshows worldwide. Now, relocating from the East Coast to sunny San Diego, Brian serves as Senior VP for Business Development and Sales at King Schools; he leads sales initiatives and spearheads new aeronautical education programs. With the overwhelming demand for pilots, accompanied by the significant increase in pilot compensation, the next decade will feel like a shuttle launch for those of us in this industry. Strap in, we are gofor launch!

josh harnagel

Josh Harnagel currently serves as Vice President, Marketing for Redbird Flight, an Austin Texas based flight training technology company. He oversees a team that is responsible for marketing, communications, and product development.

He has held a number of key positions at Redbird in the 15 years he has been with the company and has been instrumental in the explosive growth that Redbird has experienced since its inception.

Josh is a third-generation pilot and flight instructor. He attended Texas A&M, after college he served as a full-time flight instructor in the Washington DC area. He is the owner of a B36TC Beechcraft Bonanza and part owner of a T-6 Texan. He has over 2,500 hours and almost 20 years of General Aviation experience.

bob hepp

After retiring as an Army Field Artillery Lieutenant Colonel in 1998, Bob guided Aviation Adventures from a one airplane, one instructor hobby, to the five- location, six-simulator, 55-aircraft, and 57-flight instructor school it is today. Along the way, the school gained FAA Part 141 certification and affiliation with Liberty, George Mason, and Purdue Global Universities. It has earned Examining Authority for seven of its 11 Part 141 approved programs, been recognized by AOPA’s Flight Training Experience Awards every year since that program began, and amassed more AOPA instructor awards than any other flight school.

Bob was the recipient of AOPA’s President’s Choice award in 2013, the FAA National Flight Instructor of the Year in 2016, and the AOPA Presidential Citation in 2019, and he was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2022.

Bob owns and oversees one of the largest GA maintenance facilities in Northern Virginia. He holds an MBA and has experience as a Jetstream 4100 Captain, an Airbus 319 First Officer, and a lead Citation captain.

joseph munoz

President of 1StepPrep Type Rating Academy and the AX3 Instruction system, Joe is a passionate aviation educator with over 5,000 hours delivering instruction in B737 and A320 type rating programs. Additionally, Joe has created a complete lineup of online video courseware and FAA approved 142 curriculums for Boeing and Airbus.

Joe is an instructor pilot for Spirit Airlines and an industry advocate for high-caliber instruction. His Miami based.

1StepPrep team supports airlines and pilots globally equipping them with training solutions for safety and success!

michael crudden

Michael Crudden is currently serving as the Office Manager of the Washington Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) responsible for the safety oversight of general aviation in the national capital region. He joined the Federal Aviation Administration in 2007, starting in Alaska and working in multiple offices of the Flight Standards Service throughout the country for the last 16 years. That experience includes serving as a general aviation and air carrier operations inspector, voluntary safety program manager, flight training manager, and multiple managerial roles.

He has been involved in aviation for just over 30 years, beginning flying in New England. Since that time, he’s earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from the University of North Dakota and a Master in Education from George Washington University.

Michael is an Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor, with a career focus on crew performance, training effectiveness, and flight education. His experience includes time in the airline industry as an instructor and evaluator, program and courseware developer, and flight instructor in Part 61 and Part 141 programs. He continues to be active as a pilot in general aviation.

yahncarlos ventura

Yahncarlos Ventura is the CPC Manager at Textron Aviation, where has worked for the past four years. Previously, he was in the ProAdvantage department working with the Southeast and Latin American customers on their ProAdvantage Programs. He joined Textron Aviation after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus in 2019.

He also just finished his Master’s in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide.

His first flight lesson was in a CPC back home in Puerto Rico at the Isla Grande Flying School. He has earned his private pilot certificate through the Textron Aviation Employees Flying Club and is working on his instrument rating. Currently, he lives in Wichita, KS and his hobbies include golfing, traveling, and flying. “I hope to make your CPC experience better and look forward to building long lasting relationships within our network.”

troy wheeler


Started flying in 1982 at Peachtree Dekalb Airport with Epps Flight School. Earned Private through MEI and started teaching.

In 1987 joined American Airlines and worked my way up to my current position of 777 Captain flying Europe out of Charlotte North Carolina.

In 2003 Cessna was looking for partners to open Cessna Pilot Centers. My brother Kenny and I started Wheelers R Flying and named our flight School Lanier Flight Center. We started with 2 brand-new 172’s. Today we have 15 planes and 2 simulators in our school. Shortly after we started the school, we started Lanier Flight Express as our 135 charter operation. Today we operate 4 Citations. Along the way, we were appointed the CSTAR for Cessna aircraft. We sold everything from the 162 Skycatcher to the Beechcraft Baron.

This past spring Cessna reached out to see if we were interested in representing Pipistrel after Textron acquired last year. We accepted the offer. We are now the distributor for the southeast and are excited to be back representing Textron's newest acquisition.

With more than 30k hours of flying all types of airplanes, I still love aviation and plan to continue after my retirement with American this December.


shane kimbel

Currently, Shane Kimbel is the Training and Fleet Sales Manager for Textron Aviation. His career has resided with Textron Aviation for a little over thirty years in various roles as a mechanic, delivery coordinator, and customer account manager for new and used aircraft.

Shane has a passion for aviation and love being around aircraft of all types. He currently holds Airframe and Powerplant licenses and has spent several hours learning to fly their historic Cessna Skyhawk. “I feel honored to lead and work with the Cessna Pilot Centers as the network is filled with passionate aviators continuously working diligently to enhance flight training.

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