- 26 Dec 2022
- Fabrizio Poli
- Aircraft Ownership
Having devoted their lives to their passion for aviation and flight instructing, John and Martha King continue to bestow the benefits of business jet ownership. Fabrizio Poli shares their story, including a recent around-the-world trip in their Falcon 10...
John and Martha King are a dynamic duo in the aviation industry, known for their expertise in flight training and their successful aviation business.
In fact, they have been in the business for over 40 years, and during this time John and Martha have been honoured with the industry’s highest awards, including an induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2022.
The Kings have always had a passion for aviation. They both started flying at a young age, and it was their love for flying that brought them together. They met in the early 1970s while attending the University of North Dakota, where they were both pursuing a degree in aviation.
After completing their studies, John and Martha began working as flight instructors, and it was during this time that they realized the need for better flight training materials – so they decided to start their own company, which they called King Schools.
The Kings’ mission was to create high-quality flight training materials that would make it easier for pilots to learn and improve their skills. They started teaching weekend Ground School for pilots before realizing they could scale their business better if they brought the training in video format to the pilots in their own homes.
King Schools quickly became a success, and their courses became popular with pilots all over the world. Today, their company offers a wide range of courses, from private pilot training to ATP and jet type ratings, establishing the Kings as a leading provider of aviation education.
John and Martha have always been airplane owners. The couple's first aircraft was a Cessna 150, a two-seat light aircraft that they used to learn to fly. The Cessna 150 is known for its easy handling and low operating costs, making it a popular choice for pilots in training.
John and Martha logged countless hours in their Cessna 150, gaining the skills and experience they needed to move up to larger and more complex aircraft.
Their next plane was a Cessna 182, a four-seat single- engine aircraft that provided more speed, range, and carrying capacity than their previous plane. The Cessna 182 allowed them to travel longer distances and carry more passengers and cargo, making it a versatile and practical choice for their flying needs.
By the late 1970s, John and Martha had acquired a six- seat, single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza that was more powerful than their previous aircraft. Known for its speed and range, the Bonanza quickly became one of the couple's favorite planes.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, John and Martha stepped into a twin-engine aircraft in the form of the Beechcraft Baron. Offering even greater speed, range, and reliability than their previous planes, the Baron is a versatile, efficient six-seater aircraft capable of high speeds over long distances.
Then John and Martha upgraded to a twin-engine Cessna Citation II business jet capable of speeds of up to 420 knots and a range of 1,700 nautical miles. In fact, over the years, John and Martha King have owned and flown many other planes, including a Pilatus PC-12, a Piper Meridian, and a Cessna Caravan.
Their love for aviation has taken them to many places, and they have used their planes for business, pleasure, and charitable work.
One of the aircraft they own today is a Dassault Falcon 10 private jet which they use to travel to business meetings and events. The Falcon 10, produced between 1970 and 1989, is a sleek and sophisticated aircraft, well-suited for business travel.
The Kings have been using their Falcon 10 for many years, and they appreciate the convenience and flexibility that the jet provides, allowing them to travel to multiple destinations in a single day and avoid the hassles of scheduled airline travel.
One of the advantages of using a private jet like the Falcon 10 is the ability to customize the flight experience/schedule to meet specific needs. The Kings can choose the route and timing of the flight, which can be particularly useful for business travel where time is of the essence.
Another advantage of using a private jet is the level of comfort and privacy it provides. The Falcon 10 has ample cabin space for the John and Martha’s needs, and the jet can accommodate up to eight passengers while offering onboard amenities such as comfortable seating, an entertainment system, and refreshments.
The aircraft also provides a quiet and peaceful environment, free from the distractions and noise of commercial air travel.
Indeed, the Kings recently also acquired a six-seat Cessna Citation Mustang Light Jet. The Mustang, though out of production, is a more modern jet than the Falcon 10, allowing John and Martha the chance to learn and teach how the Garmin avionics panel works.
Completing the fleet of aircraft owned by the Kings today is a Cessna Grand Caravan, a single-engine turboprop that can carry up to 14 passengers. The Grand Caravan is a versatile and rugged aircraft that can take off and land on short runways, making it ideal for regional and remote locations.
The Kings use their airplanes to visit aviation events, conduct seminars, and meet with clients across the country and around the world. They also use their planes to film training videos and conduct flight training sessions, providing their students with a hands-on experience that they couldn’t get anywhere else.
As far as the Kings are concerned, the benefits of owning a private jet outweigh the costs. It allows them to conduct their business more efficiently and effectively, and to travel in a style that suits their needs and preferences.
They also see their Falcon 10 as an investment in their business, as it provides them with a competitive edge and enhances their reputation as leaders in the aviation industry.
John and Martha enjoy flying the Falcon 10 together as a crew, describing the feeling as though they are dancing a graceful ballet together. The crew resource management required in flying a two-pilot airplane has been helpful to them in all aspects of their partnership, especially their business, they explain.
In the summer of 2022, John and Martha accomplished an incredible feat by flying their Falcon 10 around the world. The journey, which took them 23 days and covered 24,901 nautical miles, is a testament to their passion for aviation and their unwavering determination to achieve their goals.
Their journey began on June 27th in San Diego, California. From there, they flew to Honolulu, Hawaii, and then on to Pago Pago, American Samoa. The Kings made stops in Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand before eventually reaching their final destination in San Diego on July 19th.
During their journey, the Kings encountered a variety of challenges, including weather-related delays, airport closures, and unexpected maintenance issues. But they persevered, relying on their extensive knowledge and experience to navigate through each obstacle and stay on track.
Despite the many difficulties, the Kings also had some incredible experiences during their journey. One of the most memorable moments of their trip occurred when they flew over the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal.
The Kings were struck by the sheer beauty and majesty of the landscape, and were humbled by the thought of the many adventurers who had attempted to conquer those peaks before them.
Other highlights included meeting with local pilots and aviation enthusiasts in each of the countries they visited, exchanging stories and sharing their love of flying. They also took time to explore some of the cultural and historical sites along their route, such as the ancient temples of Thailand and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Throughout their journey, the Kings documented their experiences in a blog, which quickly gained a following among aviation enthusiasts around the world and inspired many others to pursue their own dreams and goals.
In the end, the Kings' journey was a testament to the power of determination, perseverance, and passion, and their achievement will go down in history as a remarkable feat of aviation. Their passion for flying and dedication to aviation education have earned them a reputation as experts in their field.