Pilot sends free patches to new fliers

By Jill W. Tallman, AOPA

The offers began appearing in 2015. Each time a new pilot’s photo appeared on the Flight Training Facebook page, there would be a flurry of comments along the lines of “Congratulations!” and “Great job!”

And then this: “Congratulations and welcome to the 0.001! Send me a [personal message] and I’d be honored to send you a complimentary patch.”

Jim Johnson is the one making the offer to send a free patch to the new pilot. “I’ve actually given away quite a few of them,” he said.

“We make a big deal over the first solo and cutting the T-shirt and taking a picture, but when we actually earn the certificate, they hand you a piece of paper and say, ‘Congratulations.’ It’s anti-climactic. I got the idea to send out a patch.”

Johnson, who lives in Reidsville, North Carolina, orders custom-embroidered patches for private, instrument, and commercial pilots. He sells them on eBay. “It’s just something I do,” he said. He is a registered nurse who works at a kidney dialysis clinic.

Johnson earned a private pilot certificate in 2012. “It was always a childhood dream,” he said. “When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a TWA captain—I was even airline-specific.” His father was an electrical engineer for Grumman Aerospace who worked on the Apollo lunar module program.

Jim Johnson, of Reidsville, North Carolina, sends free patches to new private pilots to celebrate their achievement.
Jim Johnson, of Reidsville, North Carolina, sends free patches to new private pilots to celebrate their achievement.

“I always had an interest,” Johnson said. “I flew RC airplanes and made too many excuses” about taking flight lessons. “Ultimately I decided that was enough with the excuse-making and I did it.”

A Civil Air Patrol volunteer, Johnson flies to log cross-country time so that he can qualify as a transport mission pilot and, ultimately, as a search-and-rescue/disaster relief mission pilot.


Law enforcement from across the state talk about aviation to protect citizens

By  – WNCT

Law enforcement from across the state met at the Duplin County Airport today to talk about aviation.

Today was the largest gathering of county and municipal law enforcement aviation assets on record in eastern North Carolina.

They’re all looking for more ways to keep you safe.

Law enforcement is taking to the sky to keep you protected both on the ground and in the air.

“It allows them {citizens} to rest at night knowing that agencies are working together and that safety really is our number one concern,” said Wayne Mixon of the Eastern NC Association of Law Enforcement Executives.

Not all agencies have aviation units, so in times of need they often rely on agencies that do.

When Duplin County needs helicopters, they call the folks at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office to help.

The Duplin County Sheriff says they’re a great resource to have.

“We’ve utilized the Wayne County unit on a regular basis, most recently for a manhunt, but before that on several homicide investigations where we were actually looking for the suspect,” said Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace.

The chief pilot for the aviation unit at Wayne County’s Sheriff’s Office says simple the presence of an aircraft near the scene, in most cases, can help pin down a suspect or locate a missing person.

He says most always, his sheriff has no doubt about sending out their helicopters.

“It’s just that important,” said Lt. Tom Parker. “Whenever we have a life at stake or we have a man hunt going on and this is a very violent criminal, he’s not going to say no, he’s going to say go help them, they need help.”

Response times vary depending on crew availability, weather, controlled airspace issues and maintenance.

But, Thursday’s event helped law enforcement agencies know that in times of need they can rely on others who have the resources.

Proponents: New terminal at Asheboro airport would boost economy – See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/news/local/proponents-new-terminal-asheboro-airport-would-boost-economy

The Courier-Tribune


A beautiful building of glass, block and stone — designed to look like an airplane wing from the air — is proposed to replace the outdated terminal at Asheboro Regional Airport.

Planners unveiled detailed plans and an estimated price tag of a two-story, 22,739-square-foot facility Thursday night during a special meeting of three boards — the Asheboro City Council, the Randolph County Commissioners and the Asheboro Airport Authority.

Estimated cost of the new building that would replace a terminal built in 1972 is $7,580,471.

A combination of federal, state and private funds could help pay for the upgrade, but the bulk of capital would have to come from city and county coffers.

Anticipated grants total about $1.1 million, including $500,000 earmarked by the state toward construction of a new terminal — the only terminal in North Carolina granted funds in this budget cycle. The members of the airport authority have pledged to raise half a million dollars as part of a private campaign, which would include naming opportunities.

Proponents say the new terminal — offering improved facilities for pilots, as well as meeting rooms and a cafe open to the public — would bolster the economic impact the airport already has on the aviation side of the ledger, while also growing its contribution to the county’s tourism economy.

Big impact

“Our goal is to have the airport be a vibrant destination for the casual visitor, but also the aviation enthusiast,” Bob Crumley said at the meeting.

Crumley, a member of the airport authority, noted that state figures place last year’s economic impact of the airport, which marked more than 125 flights per week, at $5.94 million. The tax value of airplanes hangared at the airport is almost $5.2 million, he said, which contributes to city and county coffers the tax equivalent of about 42 homes worth $121,000.

Traffic to airports the size of the Asheboro airport, one of 26 business class size airports in the state, Crumley said, will increase significantly in coming years as congestion increases at commercial airports, such as those in Charlotte and Greensboro. A new-and-improved terminal in Asheboro would position the airport to grab its share of that traffic.

City council members and county commissioners did not discuss funding the new terminal during the meeting.

After the meeting, Darrell Frye, chairman of the county commissioners, said he thinks there will be “positive support” for the project from the county. He also noted that in his decades as a county commissioner, this is the first time he recalls a request to fund anything at the airport.

“I think a good airport and the amenities that come with it could help all our economic development projects,” Frye said. “It’s not a city project — it’s a countywide project, a countywide benefit. I think it’s a viable project that the board is very much interested in seeing advanced.”

Asheboro Mayor David Smith said city council members will talk about the proposal and what it might mean for the city and county.

“We know that the airport is an economic engine,” he said. “We have to decide how much of an economic engine we intend for it to be long-term. We know it is woefully inadequate as a facility.”

Bigger impact?

The city-owned airport on Pilots View Road, off N.C. 49 west of town, was established in its present location in the mid-1960s. Through a series of expansions since then, the tarmac has grown from a 3,000-foot runway to more than a mile long. The facility also has a full-length taxiway. Large commercial airliners cannot land at the Asheboro airport, but business jets (and some commuter jets) can.

In 2001, North Carolina legislators tapped the aviation museum at the airport as the future home of a state aviation Hall of Fame. Today, letters on the exterior of a large hangar note that it houses the North Carolina Aviation Museum & Hall of Fame, but there is only a museum. A Hall of Fame has never been developed.

The terminal proposal envisions space dedicated to pivotal events and personalities important in North Carolina’s aviation history, sort of a “teaser” Hall of Fame. Nearby doors at the end of the building would lead visitors out-of-doors to a covered walkway to the museum.

Crumley said a new terminal would bring visitors to the airport and to the museum — from school groups to pilots who need to log hours in the air. He said he believes the museum budget could grow by 20-fold in just a few years.

“We wanted to build something that was unique,” he said. “It will have pilots flying from all over the East Coast and saying ‘You’ve got to go see this airport.’ “

– See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/news/local/proponents-new-terminal-asheboro-airport-would-boost-economy-video#sthash.etqgjMFG.dpuf

Want to buy or sell a jet? Greensboro firm makes it easier

 Duncan said the company’s website is designed to facilitate the buying and selling of general aviation aircraft and provide information about the options that can be installed on the planes. Sellers can sign up for free to list their jet on the website, which provides viewers with a snapshot of a specific aircraft including price, damage history and what upgrades are needed.
Meanwhile, buyers are also able to visit Aircraft Intelligence’s website for free to scan various jets “instead of going to eight or nine different websites to see the aircraft listed for sale,” Duncan said. “We give the valuation part of it, like what you’d see in a (Kelley) Blue Book for a car,” Duncan said. “We provide all the damage history of the aircraft like what you’d find from CarFax, and then we provide all the upgrades that you can do.”  He said the website also helps brokers determine the most likely buyers of a specific jet.
“We create a lead score for them to be able to say, ‘This is who is most likely to purchase it,’” he said.
Duncan said Aircraft Intelligence makes its money by providing hypertargeted advertisements on the website. He declined to disclose advertisers, but said they would be large avionics manufacturers like Garmin. It’s a more effective route for advertisers than placing an ad in a magazine and “hoping that someone to whom it would apply would pick up that magazine,” he said.
“The ads would appear on the specific aircraft listed for sale,” he said. “We’re able to show the specific products that apply to specific aircraft, so ours is a really targeted ad as opposed to a generalized banner ad.”
Jones started the firm after spending about a dozen years in aircraft sales. He previously worked as vice president of sales for aircraft manufacturer Columbia Aircraft and also worked as an aircraft sales manager for fixed-based operator Atlantic Aero.
He expects Aircraft Intelligence to break even in early 2016.


Instrument Ground School November 7 and 8

·        What: Instrument Ground School

·        When: Saturday, November 7, 2015, & Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, 8AM to 5PM

·        Where: 534 Air Harbor Rd., Greensboro, NC 27455

·        Guarantee:  We guarantee students pass the instrument written; if they don’t pass, we work with them one-on-one until they do pass

·        Items to Bring: An E6B, pocket calculator, and something to write with. We do have E6Bs for sale at our cost of $11.00

·        Extras: We provide doughnuts and coffee for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, and we also have soft drinks and water

·        Cost: $300.00 Cash or Check: Make checks payable to: Zenda Liess

·        We collect the fee the first morning before class

·        To Register: Call or e-mail (see contact information below)

·        Directions: provided if needed

Zenda Liess
534 Air Harbor Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27455
Home: 336 286-5218
Cell: 336 324-9595


US Airway Final Flight

It’s Time To Say Farewell To US Airways. One Of The USA’s Most Storied Airline Brands Fades Away Friday Night With Flight 1939.

The overnight red-eye flight from San Francisco to Philadelphia marks the last ever departure under the US Airways name as the carrier’s merger with American nears completion. Shortly after the flight departs San Francisco at 9:55 p.m. PT, American will unify its own reservations systems for the flights of both airlines. There will be no more US Airways flights once the plane lands in Philadelphia, scheduled for 6:18 a.m. ET.

US Airways final flight also closes a major chapter on aviation history in Western North Carolina.

US Airways was the “end” product of multiple airline mergers over a number of decades, which included a merger with the airline most critical to the economy and growth of Western North Carolina in the last half in the 20th century—Piedmont Airlines.

Created in the 1930s by an enterprising Tom Davis, Piedmont Airlines later became the principle carrier for those flying in to and out of the Asheville-Hendersonville area.

After some three decades of successful growth, Piedmont Airlines upgraded its fleet in 1967. That ended the airline’s dependence on the DC-3’s, or ”Great Smokies Pacemakers” as they were known and promoted in the industry. In doing so, Piedmont added the new Boeing 737.

And on July 19, 1967, just four short months after putting the new Boeing jet into service, shortly after 12 noon and just after taking off from the Asheville Regional Airport, Piedmont Flight 22 collided in mid-air over Hendersonville with a small private Cessna aircraft. The passengers and crew of both planes, a total of 82 people, were killed.

As horrific as that tragedy was for Piedmont and for the region, Piedmont continued to serve the region until August 4, 1989—when it officially flew its last flight as “Piedmont Airlines” and became merged with an up and coming airline that was buying up regional carriers all over the country, known as US Airways.

The Bonanza Man

General Aviation News

Perseverance pays off in any business, but George Johnson may hold the record when it comes to aircraft sales.

Having outlived and outlasted many of his competitors, the 59-year-old owner of Carolina Aircraft in Greensboro, N.C., recently sold a Beechcraft Baron to a customer he’s been courting for 38 years.

That long-term sales prospect dated from when Johnson first started selling new Beechcraft airplanes in 1977 at age 21.

Back in the 1970s, the aircraft market was very different from today because U. S. manufacturers were cranking out 20,000 new general aviation planes a year. Currently, that number is less than 2,000.

“Today the challenge is to find good ‘pre-flown’ inventory,” says Johnson, who is known as “The Bonanza Man.”

George Johnson

Carolina Aircraft has earned a good reputation and many repeat customers over the years.

“We are the #1 seller of pre-owned Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons,” he added. “We’ve sold and delivered more than 120 airplanes in the past two years and we could sell more if we could get the right inventory.”

Johnson’s father, an avid pilot and Beechcraft salesman for Piedmont Aviation in Winston-Salem, N.C., introduced him to aviation and helped him land his first aviation job in Piedmont’s engine rebuild department.

“Working in the engine teardown area was the dirtiest job in the shop,” remembers Johnson.

He needed the job to pay tuition after he forfeited a college football scholarship to focus on academics. After being a grease monkey, he learned about sales and perseverance through door-to-door marketing of Cutco Cutlery, where he ended up training and managing a group of sales people.

Selling for Cutco and running a dealer sales organization taught Johnson the fundamentals of sales and customer service. His first aircraft sale in 1977 was to Rick Steelman (later the founder of Atlanta Jet) who, at the time, was Johnson’s district manager at Cutco.

Johnson went into aircraft sales immediately after graduation, when he joined Air Service, the Beechcraft dealer in Greensboro, N.C. Piedmont, where Johnson first applied, would not hire him in the aircraft sales department because his father worked there.

Even though Johnson was assigned a very small sales territory — only the eastern third of North Carolina — his enthusiasm for aviation and Beechcraft products led him to soon become one of the company’s top salesmen. In fact, he sold three airplanes before he was officially employed and a total of 25 in his first year.

Selling the most new Beechcraft airplanes in 1984 earned him nationwide recognition as “Beechcraft Salesman of the Year” and in 1986 he was recognized by the factory for selling the most new Bonanzas.

In 1987, Johnson received the Olive Ann Beech Award for selling the most new Beechcraft King Airs. Other honors included the Professional Beechcraft Bonanza Salesman Award, the Beechcraft Legion of Honor Award, several Million Dollar Sales Awards, and the Beechcraft Executive Salesman Award. Johnson was also recognized as a Beechcraft “Blue Chip” Salesman for 10 consecutive years.

“In 1991, after over 14 years with Air Service, the market changed drastically in my small territory and it became very difficult to make a living selling new airplanes,” remembers Johnson. “The impact of Desert Storm and commission changes when the company was acquired by U.S. Airways, plus other factors, led me to start my own business specializing in used aircraft sales.”

Headshot4Despite Johnson’s offer to pay his long-time employer a commission on all sales in his old territory for the first two years, plus bring them his maintenance business and rent office space, the response was not good.

“They showed me the door and said they were going to put me out of business,” recalls Johnson.

Needing cash to support his fledgling endeavor, he approached nine banks with a detailed business plan before finally getting one to say yes to a small credit line.

It looked like Johnson’s new business was off to a great start when he and an investor bought a used King Air 300 at a bargain price. The turbine twin represented a handsome profit potential until the investor decided to keep it for his personal use. So, instead of pocketing his share of a nice mark-up, Johnson was only paid a modest commission for buying the plane wholesale.

For the next two years, Johnson moonlighted to support his family by delivering Dominos pizzas, but today his pizza delivery days are firmly in the past and a drawing of that King Air 300 is part of his corporate logo.

In 2002, after selling both Beechcraft piston and turbine aircraft for many years, Johnson split his company so he could focus on his “special love” for Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons.

Carolina Corporate Jets was established to specialize in all brands of pre-owned turbine and jet aircraft. Tony Ryan, who first joined Carolina Aircraft in the early 1990s, became its president and Johnson’s partner. Johnson remains involved as vice president and majority stockholder.

Johnson is president of a sister company, NexGA Aircraft, formerly known as Columbia Resale, which focuses on pre-owned Columbia, Corvallis, Cirrus, Piper, Mooney, Diamond, Liberty and late model Cessna aircraft.

The team

In addition to advertising heavily in print and on the web, Carolina Aircraft pioneered the production of detailed YouTube videos, which are an important part of the marketing campaign for each aircraft.

“Through YouTube, we’re able to give a personal sales presentation on each airplane that can be accessed on the internet at any time,” says Johnson.

Johnson’s son, Adam, shoots and edits the videos, which have proven to cut the typical aircraft sales cycle in half.

As a way to encourage aircraft owners to consign their planes to his Greensboro headquarters, Johnson offers free hangar space and detailing services, plus the fuel and expert pilots necessary for demo flights. In addition, to save the owner even more while the plane is marketed, Carolina Aircraft adds customer-owned aircraft to its dealership insurance policy.

Another unique sales offering is free customer flight training with every sale, the cost of which comes out of Carolina Aircraft’s commission.

“Safety is our number one priority and we want our customers to know their airplanes well,” says Johnson.

“Although we own a flight school on the field that offers basic flight instruction, the Bonanza and Baron training offered with each sale is conducted by another select group of professional pilots who have thousands of hours of Beechcraft experience,” he adds.

Triad Aviation Academy (TAA), the flight school operated by Johnson’s partner, Bruce McCall, was recognized in 2014 as having the best aviation summer camp for aspiring pilots age 12 to 16.

Johnson credits a unique compensation plan for much of Carolina Aircraft’s long-term success.

“We are a team and our company’s longevity is due to our love for aviation and our customers,” he says. “To foster teamwork and motivate everyone to take care of every customer, no matter who actually books an aircraft sale, everyone in the organization gets some commission.”

“The Beechcraft Bonanza is the longest-running continuously-produced aircraft in aviation history and, in my opinion, the Bonanza and Baron are still the best airplanes in their class,” says Johnson, ever the consummate salesman.

“It has been a privilege to get to know, work with and serve all the wonderful people and customers involved in aviation and to still be in this game I love so long,” Johnson concludes. “I’m so lucky to be able to get up every morning excited about a new day and a new opportunity in aviation. How blessed we are to have the freedom to fly.”

Flight to Columbia – Floods

By Len Leggette

I flew down to Columbia today for business at Hamilton Owens Downtown Airport.  The airport is in the city and very close to the USC Football Stadium.

It was very obvious from the air on the way into the airport the amount of flooding that has taken place.  The series of lakes north of the city had become a huge lake of water knowing no boundaries.  The pilots I met with on the ground spoke of the difficulty getting around town by car.  Many bridges are out and it is somewhat difficult finding out which way to go without trial and error.

We had lunch but only after finding out our first choice was closed due to no water.  All public water is being advised to be boiled before consumption.  The restaurant we chose was serving bottled water and bottled tea.

Lots of helicoptors in the area both military and civilian.  The attitude down there was one of optimism and can do.  In spite of some of the horror stories of homes being flooded that were not even in flood plains … thus no flood insurance … they will carry on!!  They have a wonderful spirit of belief in themselves and their future.

BTW .. Hamilton Owens was open for business as usual … check the notam before flying down.

Plane Dynamic acquires Cherokee STCs

General Aviation News

WAKE FOREST, N.C. – Plane Dynamix has acquired Art Mattson’s line of FAA approved airframe and engine STCs for Piper PA-28 series aircraft.

“Art was synonymous with improving Cherokee performance and safety and we are thrilled to be able to bring his creations back to the Piper community,” said Dan Benedix, pilot partner, Plane Dynamix. “Having his daughter, Pam join us and keep the Mattson name associated with these outstanding STCs just felt right. We couldn’t imagine trying to do it without her.”

“I’m very excited to have my father’s legacy carried on by someone with a great passion for aviation,” Mattson said.

PLANE DYNAMIX LOGOBenedix said that many of Mattson’s STCs are available for immediate shipment. These STCs include:

  • Gap seals, which improve the laminar air flow over the wing and stabilator.
  • Engine upgrade certificates that provide the industry’s only unrestricted 10-horsepower upgrade for the Lycoming O-320.
  • Propeller tip modifications for the Sensenich propellers. This mod reshapes the tips to reduce drag and increase the propeller blade’s efficiency.

He also said that Mattson’s line of Vortex generators and stabilator tips for improved wing and stabilator performance are also available for pre-orders, with anticipated delivery dates in early December of this year.

Commissioners approve economic development grant for North State Aviation

The Lenoir County commissioners held their first bi-monthly meeting Monday.

During the meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously for a resolution to approve an economic development grant agreement with North State Aviation.

North State agreed to install machinery and equipment in an existing facility at the North Carolina Global TransPark at a cost of at least $900,000 and create at least 109 new jobs by Dec. 31, 2017.

County commissioners agreed to pay an incentive of $200,000 with the Lenoir Committee of 100 agreeing to pay $50,000 for a total economic development grant of $250,000.

“That means that we hold them accountable for the jobs that they’ve promised,” Craig Hill, county commissioner chairman, said. “That’s performance-based so when the jobs are delivered that’s when they’ll get the incentive. If they don’t deliver, then it will be prorated based on the percent they delivered.”

It’s a win-win for the company and for the county, he said.

“The cost for us is built into the growth in the tax base,” Hill said.

Commissioner Reuben Davis agreed.

“We are very proud to have them here and the grant is a necessity in order to get industry,” Davis said. “I’ve always thought that if you get a lot of relatively small industries, you’re a lot better off than if you get some intermediate-sized or a large because you have enough of the small industrial prospects locating here that if you have one to leave, it doesn’t make as much of an impact.”

Lenoir County Economic Development Executive Director Mark Pope presented the resolution to the commissioners.

“To have a company like North State Aviation as part of our manufacturing base,” Pope said, “and part of the GTP just strengthens our aviation community and potential for increased education opportunities, growth opportunities and for the county to be a partner in all that just speaks loudly of where our vision is for growth in Lenoir County and the GTP.”