My website would not be complete unless I wrote about a very big part of my life, and that is flying. I have been an aviator since 1979 and through the years, I’ve never grown tired of the view outside of my window when I’m airborne! This page of my website will feature ways for you to connect to my stories, pictures and video’s that have content that is more detailed.

Links to my pages!

Logbook Tales

After hearing some of my stories, my wife has often said to me; “Honey, you should put that into a book! People would love to read it!!” Well that’s sort of what I’m going to do with this blog – put into writing some of the funny and not so funny experiences I’ve had in 44+ years of flying! I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing about it.

The Southern Pilot – YouTube Page

Having flown all over the world these last 45 years, I am focusing my heart for aviation in the Southern US! I hope you will join me as we discover some cool places to fly to, eat at and tour as I fly our King Air 200’s and 350 over the sky’s of “God’s Country”. At “The Southern Pilot” it’s all about Flying, Food, Friends and Fun!

The Southern Pilot – Webpage / Portal

I’ve set up this page to promote the YouTube channel and give a bit more detail as to who I am and what my intentions are for the channel. The page also has a blog that will promote the next videos and other happenings with my flying! I’ll begin to catalog places I’ve been and the stories associated with Flying, Food, Friends and Fun!

My Flying Story – How it started!

When people find out that I fly airplanes for a living, I usually get asked “Hey Mike, how’d you get started in flying?” Read on and I will be glad to share my flying story with you!

I’ll never forget back in 1978, I had just graduated High School and my parents had taken me on a cool graduation trip to the Virgin Islands. On that trip I got to enjoy a window seat on an Eastern Airlines B727. As we flew from Miami over the Caribbean Sea on towards the Virgin Islands, I wondered what it would be like to get to fly one of these jets someday! Later that summer, I was sitting around watching soap operas with my mom, when my dad came home for lunch and saw me. With a bit of a miffed tone in his voice he said; “Son, you need to get off of that couch, go to college or get a job and go to work, but you aren’t going to be sitting around here doing nothing”! What I often joke about is that my dad said “Get a fellowship, a scholarship or some kind of ship ’cause you’re getting the heck off of my ship”! So begins the next steps that actually led to my becoming a pilot: My dear ole dad telling me to get up and get going!

“Son, get a fellowship, a scholarship or some kind of ship, ’cause you’re getting the heck off of my ship!”

Larry M Wills – July 1978
(From the theme: “Things my dad never said, but meant”)

I had heard that the folks at the local airport were looking for someone to fuel their airplanes. So I – a 17 year old with no real skills or motivations – went over to the airport here in Greenville to interview for a job making $2.65 per hour for a whole 30 hours per week! As I entered a one room building looking for the line shack manager, I walked into what turned out to be the Flight School. I will admit, with a bit of embarrassment, that I did get pretty lost in the two room building at the GMU airport. I suppose I had a somewhat bewildered look on my face as a young man walks up and introduces himself to me as “Ted” and asks me if I’m here for the demo. “Sure” I said not having a clue as to what that meant, “let’s do the demo”. He grabbed a clipboard and keys and we walked out onto the ramp. As we walked up to an aircraft sitting tied down in its parking spot, I was thinking that he was going to show me some neat stuff about airplanes that I needed to know for my fueling job. “Hop on in Mike”, he said! “Is it was required to know how to fly this thing just to put fuel in it?” I asked. “You mean you’re not here for the demo flight?” “Nope,” I replied, “I’m here to interview for a gas pumpin’ job!” He looked at me kinda funny and said “Well, you’re going for a demo ride now!!”. So away we went for a quick ride around Paris Mountain and back. We took off and then he gave me the controls and let me fly it some! That fellow turned out to be my first CFI (Certified Flight Instructor). I thought it was such a cool thing to fly airplanes, so I asked Ted how I could learn to fly! We went back into the school and he introduced me to Ray. Ray was the flight school manager, and he told me that he was running a special introductory offer of only $275 that would provide enough training to prepare me for my first solo! I was hooked and asked him to sign me up for flying lessons!

I hurried over to may dad’s office told him all about it and he was not only surprised, but supported me and paid for that part of my training! He was very proud, and relieved, that I finally decided to do something with my life. Over the next couple of years, I had odd jobs that earned me enough money to pay for the training needed to get me through my entire flight school and graduate with my Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi Engine and CFI-I Pilots’ Licenses. There was a few months along the way where my dad helped me with some cash, which ended up being a huge help. My dad made me earn it though, and I’m thankful that he did as it made me appreciate my new vocation that much more.

My first logbook! I started flying on July 14, 1978

But what about the job interview? On my way back through the building I came across this fellow that had a mullet, a bushy mustache and a bit of a wild look in his eyes and he had been looking for me. “Are you here to interview for the line service job?” he asked. “Yes sir I am!” I replied. “Step on in to my office and let’s talk.” As I was sitting at the desk interviewing, he told me that he already hired my buddy Wayne because he was already 18 but that he’d keep my info on file. As I was leaving the shack, He told me that one day he was going to be a famous country music star and a champion aerobatics pilot and to be looking for him! He shook my hand and introduced himself, “I’m Aaron Tippin!” Pretty cool stuff!

It has been 44 years since that day and I have flown many types of aircraft from small single engine planes up to large transport category jets. I’m still good friends with Wayne and we actually worked together at the same airline for a couple of years. The privilege of flying these airplanes has been both fun and enriching to my life and career. Currently I am operating a King Air 350 turboprop for a charter / management company based out of GSP. If all goes well, I’ll end my career flying this and similar aircraft in the years to come. I’m not ready to call it quits just yet, but if I had to, I’d say that I have had a pretty good run! Well, that’s my story – I hope you enjoyed it.

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