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John And Martha King Passing On The Crown, Enjoying Seeing Old Friends

“We Are Not Leaving,” Martha Said... “We Are Stepping Back A Little Bit.”

John and Martha King have been the face of aviation training for decades, but a new picture is coming onscreen at King Schools, Inc. in a transition that everyone is smiling about.

“I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have the mentorship of John and Martha in business, in life, in flying, and in so many other things,” said Barry Knuttila, CEO of King Schools.

Knuttila will be gradually taking over the video components to become the new face of the King Schools and its iconic flight training videos, allowing John and Martha to slowly step back from the company they began nearly 50 years ago.

“We are not leaving,” Martha said. “We are stepping back a little bit.”

This is the best time to mentor Knuttila and help him fill these large shoes, and the Kings are ready to make the shift, which has been gradually taking place over the course of the past year.

This leaves the Kings with more free time, which they are making the most of.

This year at Sun ‘n Fun, the Kings are excited to see old friends and connect with new people. After their Friday talk the couple was swarmed by admiring participants, excited to speak with the two face-to-face.

“What a thrill to be around so many pilots and so many airplanes and to be together. What a thrill! It converted something that historically would have been hard work into pure joy,” John said of the airshow crowds.

“We’re seeing friends we haven’t seen in over a year and it just feels good to have the community around again,” Martha said.

The Kings have developed such a strong base of supporters and subscribers over the years that the shift may come as a shock to some. For those loyal to John and Martha, the couple asserted that the change shouldn’t cause any worry. 

“Barry would not be doing lessons if we didn’t feel that he had the same ability to connect with our customers as John and I,” Martha said. “He is a very skilled flight instructor, he's a very empathetic person. He understands people very well.”

Knuttila’s previous work on King videos and scripts, as well as his input toward lessons, is really what has demonstrated his ability to carry on the King legacy, she added.

Retiring, the two agree, is a necessary step.

“The future of King Schools can’t rest on two people in their 70s,” John said. “Martha is getting old.”

Jokingly, Martha replied: “You’re not going to get any older if you’re not careful.”



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