“What A Special Place To Get Introduced To Any Kind Of
by ANN Correspondent Aleta Vinas
Almost everyone in the world of flying has invited John and
Martha King into their living room. For over 30 years the
King’s have held pilots hand through learning and flight
The Kings are the first husband/wife team to hold every FAA
category and class rating on their pilot and CFI certificates.
In addition to their video or rather DVD courses now, the Kings
travel to speak out on improving the risk management practices in
General Aviation. In conjunction with the FAA Safety Program, the
Kings help produce the safety videos.
Professional Pilot Magazine named the duo Aviation Educators of
the Year in 1996. Both are on the Board of Directors of the Charles
A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation.
Some of Martha’s achievements include a position on the
Board of Overseers of the University of California, San Diego;
being honored as one of the 100 Distinguished Aviation Heroes in
the first century of flight; she was awarded the Cliff Henderson
Award for Achievement from the National Aeronautic Association.
Along with her husband, John,
the Martha has visited Oshkosh AirVenture for over 30 years.
She has some definitive favorite times... including an
appearance by the Voyager round-the-world aircraft.
“I think my favorite Oshkosh memory is watching the
Voyager come in. The beauty of the design and the wing. Then
watching the faces of the crowd as they saw it fly over then
crowded round it afterwards” Martha also praises the late
Gordon Baxter’s write-up of the event, where he says of
Voyager “It had the strength and grace of a woman’s
hand.” Martha admits “Boy, that’s a special
memory for me.”
Even the Russians know who to talk to when it comes to aviation.
The Soviet Union had just started to break up and brought their
huge transport, the An-124, into Oshkosh. “They were talking
to us in particular because they were trying to create an airspace
system for Russia.” Their current system only allowed the
civilian pilots to “jump”. Martha explains “they
could go up from an airport, fly around in a very small, confined
area and had to land again at that same airport.”
With the civilian pilots about to be allowed more flying
freedom, the Kings were eager to help. “They needed to design
an airspace system to accommodate civilian flights for the first
time.” The Russians went home in the huge transport with
boxes of King tapes, not enough to fill the An-124 but likely
enough to get the answers to their airspace questions.
Not playing favorites, Martha says “There are so many
special people that it would be hard to single any one out.”
She does mention astronaut Gene Cernan and Bob Hoover, though.
“What a special place to get introduced to any kind of
aviation you’re interested in.” Just a couple of years
ago the Kings were introduced to powered parachutes. “I had
my first flight in a powered parachute here.” The duo then
became powered parachutes instructors and sport pilot flight
instructors in trikes and powered parachutes.
John and Martha agree that taking up the Young Eagles on their
first flights is very special. “We’ve flown them six at
a time here because we flew them in our Citation.”