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Col USAF (Ret.)
Service Veteran---Engineer---B-17 Pilot---Educator---Flight Instructor and Aviation Enthusiast
Don was born and raised, along with three brothers, on a farm in Perry County in Southern Illinois and attended high school in Pinckneyville, Illinois.
His education has consisted of: a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY; an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering, U. of Michigan; and a PhD in Education Policy, George Washington University, with research and dissertation on aviation safety education.
Don met Jean Elizabeth Wilcox of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI while at the U. of Michigan and they were marrried in 1951. Don and Jean now have four children and six grandchildren and recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary. Their home is in McLean, VA.
He enlisted for military service in 1942 during the early days of WWII, was called to active duty in 1943, and served 34 years successively as a private, cadet, and officer before retiring from the USAF as a colonel in 1977. Included among the various operational, research and service school assignments was a five-year assignment to teh United States Air Force Academy as an Associate Professor of Mathematics.
Since 1977, he and Jean have founded and operated AVIATION EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS (AV-ED) which currently consists of three aviation schools in Northern VA: an aviation classroom ground school at Tysons Corner and pilot flight training schools at both the Leesburg and Winchester airports. His greatest satisfaction comes from using his experience and that of the high quality fellow instructors that he attracts, along with the most modern of aircraft and simulators, to strive to bring USAF quality classroom and flight training experiences to new generations of pilots.
Don has been active as pilot since October 1947 and remains so today at the two AV-ED flight schools and at his glider club, the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association. He has: More than 10,000 hours flight time as a pilot, including 800 hours in the B-17 Flying Fortress photo-mapping Cuba and Central America, 200 hours in the B-29 Super Fortess, and 500 hours in single engine jets; Been current as a pilot in more than 70 types of airplanes and gliders; Recieved five Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross for service in Vietnam where he flew 1,003 sorties; And has flown 1,679 flights as pilot in gliders, including one 300 mile, 7 hour and 30 minute flight.
Our mission is to provide quality aviation training, aircraft rental, and pilot services.