Commercial, ASEL ASES, Master CFI
BPT: Ken, what was it that first attracted you to aviation – and why?
KW: It was the joy and freedom of exploring remote new places by general aviation aircraft.
BPT: So, tell us: when and where did you learn how to fly?
KW: I first learned how to fly at Bird’s Nest Airport in Manor, Texas. That was in 1970. In 2011, of course, Bird’s Nest was expanded and renamed Austin Executive Airport.
I have been fortunate to fly most general aviation single engine aircraft. From Piper Super Cubs to Beech Bonanzas and a Cessna 182 Amphib, which I currently own.
BPT: Share some of the highlights of your flying career with us, Ken.
KW: My passion is aviation education and wilderness flying – to places as remote as the Tongass National Forest, Wilson Lake and the Gastineau Channel in Alaska.
I also enjoy mentoring and working with new CFIs.
For me, the most heart-wrenching experience was flying relief operations in Haiti. After the major earthquake that struck Port au Prince in February 2010, killing nearly 300,000 people, I was compelled to volunteer.
I recruited a former student to join me – and we launched my Bonanza from central Texas and flew, via Florida, to Nassau, Bahamas.
Typical loads included medical supplies – bone splints, surgical gloves, medications, crutches – and often medical workers and aides. Each day for nine days, we made an eight-hour round trip over three countries and often in dubious weather. It was exhausting, grueling, challenging and, yes, expensive; but at the end of the day, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I ever had.
BPT: How did you become involved with BPT?
KW: I first experienced the training after I purchased my Bonanza in 1995. I expressed an interest in teaching for the organization. A few years later, I was asked to join the instructor cadre.
BPT: Why is BPT important to you, Ken?
KW: BPT provides the whole training experience for clients. Importantly, it challenges both clients – and instructors – to strive for excellence.
BPT: What do you believe makes BPT unique?
KW: I believe BPT is unique because it provides the information and training needed to own and operate these amazing Beechcraft airplanes in a safer and more confident manner.
For a new pilot, BPT is the best way to learn the critical information and skills necessary. For the more seasoned pilot, BPT is constantly improving the course content. That way, even experienced owner / pilots can keep up with emerging issues.