Gillespie Field (KSEE)
San Diego, CA
With the ink still wet on my A&P Certificate in June of 1977, my aviation career began at World Airways in Oakland, CA. The first “real” airplanes I worked on were 747s, DC-8s, and DC-10s. I learned about early 737s and Lockheed Electras at Air California, also in Oakland. In 1979, I crossed the bay to work for PSA, where I learned a lot about 727s and the first few MD-80s. I moved to San Diego in 1981, because I could, and commuted to KSFO for a while (the things you can do when you’re young!). When a new airline, Jet America, was getting started in Long Beach, CA, with a brand new fleet of MD-80s, they asked if I’d be interested in helping out. It turned out to be the best learning experience of my career. At one point or another, I had just about every job title in the Maintenance Department: Mechanic, Lead Mechanic, Supervisor, Inspector, Electrician, Avionics, Planning and Records Administrator, and Training Manager. I developed some very good relations with the FAA along the way.
Alaska Airlines took over Jet America while I was running the Training Department, and I spent a year or so learning and teaching their procedures on MD-80, 727, and 737 aircraft to contract maintenance facilities all over the country. When my training position became redundant (I didn’t want to move to Seattle) I went back to being a Line Maintenance Supervisor at KLAX. I stayed with Alaska for about 15 years, until I decided that spending more time with my kids was more important. I stopped commuting to KLAX and worked with a small shop in San Diego to get them qualified to do contract maintenance for Alaska. I got my IA Certificate and spent a couple of years working on Cessna 310s for Airnet at KMYF in San Diego, until they moved the operation to Orlando, FL.
In January of 2001, I came to work at High Performance Aircraft. I have since learned quite a lot about small aircraft. I have been able to work closely with Piper for many years on identifying and correcting problems since the PA-46-500TP Meridian came out, and have gotten to know the PA-46 series exceptionally well. Now I run the Maintenance Department, and use all of the knowledge I picked up along the way to make sure that our customers have their aircraft maintained to the highest standards in the industry.