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Thu, Jul 17, 2014

ANN's 'Who's Who' At Oshkosh: Michael Maya Charles

Introducing Staff, Stringers, Videographers, And People Who Make It All Work

Anyone who's ever been to Oshkosh knows that there are hundreds of events and activities as well as tens of thousands of people that descend (some quite literally) on Wittman Regional Airport in mid-summer. While we have a very hard-working and dedicated staff, ANN could not provide you with the extensive information we do without the help of some equally ... some might say more ... dedicated volunteers who give a week of their time to make sure you have the best possible coverage of the show. As we lead up to this year's edition of AirVenture, we'll be introducing you to the people that make all of that possible.

Michael Maya Charles: On-Camera Talent

Michael Maya Charles started flying with his father at age 11. He became a lineboy for a small FBO at 15, soloed on his 16th birthday, got his private on his 17th; commercial, multi, CFI, CFII at 18; and started flying charters soon thereafter. “Does your momma know you’re doing this?” was a common question he heard back then.

Now a dual-rated ATP CFII, Michael has somewhere north of 23,000 hours of flying experience, about evenly divided between GA and airline, and has flown well over 200 aircraft types. He’s an A&P mechanic, and has worked on his own machines since buying his first airplane, a Pitts Special, at age 19.

In the mid-70s, Michael began shooting photos for FLYING Magazine, and with encouragement from his mentor, Richard L. Collins, soon began writing articles for them, as well. In the early 90s, Michael took over the magazine’s “Pro’s Nest” column and was briefly FLYING’s Editor in Chief in 2010.

Michael has also written and shot pictures for AOPA PILOT, Vertical Magazine, and others, has given expert commentary for CNN and The Wall Street Journal, and was an on-screen reporter for the video series, “Wonderful World of Flying” just before it went “Tango Uniform.”

He has worked the EAA “Oshkosh” fly-in many times over the years for various publications as well as EAA. A member of EAA for over 40 years, Michael has owned two homebuilt aircraft, a Pitts Special and a Thorp T-18.

A few years ago, Michael took early retirement from the airlines after over 25 years of herding heavies around the world. So what does a retired airline pilot do for Act Two? He spent a summer fighting fires in the mighty Sikorsky S-64 SkyCrane!
Still a very active writer, and flight instructor in both helicopters and airplanes, Michael lives on an airpark in Colorado where a well-loved Piper J-3 Cub and a Cessna 185 occupy the hangar behind his house. He’s the author of “Artful Flying, How to Turn your Passion for Flying into a Lifetime of Excellence,” and is hard at work on an online program about wisdom, something we often wish we had more of. 



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