1-602-551-8100 info@kingairacademy.com

More speakers will be announced in the future.

Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson – Captain Gibson, USN Retired, served as a Fighter Pilot, Test Pilot, and Navy Astronaut before joining Southwest Airlines as a Pilot in 1996. He flew 5 missions aboard the Space Shuttles CHALLENGER, COLUMBIA, ATLANTIS & ENDEAVOUR, once as Co-Pilot and 4 times as the Mission Commander. He was awarded numerous decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003, the Long Island Air and Space Hall of Fame in 2011, the Spacecamp Hall of Fame in 2012, and the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bruce Landsberg –  Bruce became the Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board on August 7, 2018, making him the 43rd Member of the board.  Prior to the NTSB Bruce was the Executive Director of the Air Safety Foundation until 2010. He then became president of the AOPA Foundation and Air Safety Institute until he retired in 2014. Under his leadership, the organization received international recognition and numerous awards for promoting light aircraft safety.  In addition to promoting the benefits of simulator training at Flight Safety International, he also developed an airline pilot transition program for first officer candidates through close collaboration with numerous regional airlines.  He served in the U.S. Air Force as a missile launch officer and many government committees promoting aviation safety, including NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System.

Bill Crutchfield – Bill received his Student Pilot’s License in 1962.  Since then he has flown a variety of aircraft ranging from a Piper PA-18 Cub to his King Air C90B which he bought new in 1997.  Bill was the Opening Session keynote speaker at the 2012 NBAA convention and the keynote speaker for the Single Pilot Safety Standdown at the 2018 NBAA convention.  He is a holder of the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.  Bill may be better known because of his business.  In 1974, he founded Crutchfield in his mother’s basement with only $1,000 in savings.  The company has grown into one of the largest and most respected consumer electronics online retailers in North America.  As a result, Bill was inducted into the Consumer Technology Association’s Hall of Fame in 2007.  During the Vietnam War, Bill served as a commander of a Titan II ICBM missile crew. He separated as a Captain in 1970.


Tom Clements – Tom has been flying and instructing in King Airs for over forty-eight years, first at the Beechcraft factory and, since 1979, with his own company, Flight Review, Inc. Along the way, he has been a corporate pilot and has flown worldwide.  Tom has over 22,000 hours with more than 14,500 in King Airs. He is type-rated in the BE-300, BE-1900, Learjet, DC-3. He is a Gold Seal CFI. He is the author of The King Air Book and The King Air Book Volume II, available at www,kingairacademy.com. He and his wife, Pam, live in Scottsdale, Arizona, and spend summer months in Westcliffe, Colorado. He can be contacted at tom@kingairacademy.com.

Peter Basile – As a senior Air Safety Investigator at Textron Aviation, Peter Basile is responsible for assisting the National Transportation Safety Board during their on-site investigations and for providing technical support to answer any questions concerning our products.  He has participated as an NTSB party member on over 200 investigations ranging from Cessna 140s and Beechcraft Musketeers to current production King Airs and Citation jets.  Peter began his career with Cessna in 2001 as a Manufacturing Engineer.  He supported the Citation Bravo 550 and Citation Encore 560 production lines and worked on the Citation Mustang 510 during the prototype phase.  In 2005, he began investigating aircraft accidents.  In 2015, Peter served on the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee for System Component Failures of Powerplants to develop safety enhancements and intervention strategies.  He instructs at the NTSB academy and the DOT Transportation Safety Institute.  He has presented safety information for the Citation Jet Pilots Association, the Twin Cessna Flyer organization, the General Aviation Air Safety Investigators annual workshop, and at FAA-sponsored Airframe and Powerplant mechanic Inspection Authorization conferences.   Peter earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aircraft System Design Technology and a Master of Science degree in Aviation Safety from the University of Central Missouri.  He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating and an A&P mechanic certificate with Inspection Authorization. 

Dean Benedict – Beech hired Dean in 1975, straight out of A&P school. He cut his teeth on the earliest 90s and “grew up” with the 200, the B200, and subsequent models. He went from line mechanic to facility manager, but customers never let him stray far from his toolbox or their aircraft. In 1985, as DOM for a corporate flight department, he maintained King Airs, Barons, a turbine Beaver (converted by Dean), and an Aerobat. These gave way to Citations, Bell and Astar helicopters, and assorted twins and singles. In 18 years, no flights were missed for maintenance reasons. Meanwhile, customers from his Beech days dogged him on evenings and weekends. Finally, Dean opened his own shop. Word spread quickly and Honest Air Inc. became the place to take your King Air for maintenance. “Excellence at a Fair Price” was the motto. After a lease buyout by the landlord, Honest Air closed its doors in March 2016. In his new venture, BeechMedic LLC, Dean consults with owners, pilots, managers, and mechanics on all their King Air concerns

Paul Sneden – Paul has been involved with General Aviation since 1972 in numerous roles including aircrew and maintenance. After spending early years serving as a co-pilot and maintenance manager for an E90 King Air, a four-year hiatus with the US Air Force gave him the formal training for both instruction and Avionics. Paul has a diverse background including Line Maintenance, Avionics, Project Management, and Quality Assurance. He has been instructing in King Airs, Aircraft Wiring, and Maintenance FARs since 2006. His current Business, KingAirDOM LLC, guides King Air owners and operators through the maze of pre-purchase, required inspections, maintenance, tracking, and vendors while controlling maintenance costs.

Robert Winchcomb – Robert has been with Pratt & Whitney for over 25 years. He began his career as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician and working with the PT6A since 1985. He joined P&WC in 1994 as a Field Support Representative in Brisbane, Australia, and moved within P&WC in various Customer Support Departments including; Field Support, Warranty, Service Center, Fleet Manager, DPHM, and now a Manager with PT6A Customer Service. Robert’s specialties include P&WC Engine Diagnostics and PT6A Engine control rigging.

Kim Burton – Kim leads Textron’s Turboprop product support department (Team Turboprop). Located at Wichita’s service center, this passionate team of experts fields thousands of calls and emails every month providing technical assistance to King Air owners, pilots, operators, and mechanics all around the world. Kim is a private pilot and electrical engineer who joined Textron 17 years ago to integrate and certify new avionics systems on production models. She is proud to be a part of the ever-growing King Air community that keeps this reliable fleet up to date and in the air.

Don Cary – Don was hired in 1966 by Beech Aircraft as a King Air Training Specialist on the new King Air; the A-90 had just been introduced.  He taught ground training and checked out customer pilots for over two years, transitioning to the manager of the Customer Training Program, eventually moving on to Director of Customer Support, which involved Beech’s training program, parts support, technical support and technical publications department.  Don responsibilities included visiting Beechcraft’s worldwide network of Beechcraft dealers and its many customers.  Next, he held the VP of Product Marketing position, then headed up all of the Marketing and eventually served as the VP of Customer Relations.

Jack Somsen – Jack is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southern US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.  He joined Genesys Aerosystems in 2013 as Inside Sales Manager and then assumed the role of Regional Sales Manager in January of 2015.  Jack is responsible for managing the Dealer Network in his territory with aftermarket sales and service for Autopilots, HeliSAS, and EFIS Displays.  Jack holds a BS in Aviation Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  He is an aviation enthusiast, avid outdoor sportsman, adrenaline junkie, and shade tree mechanic.

Eric Berger –  Eric graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ohio University with a degree in Business Administration after which he began a nearly 40-year business aviation adventure that brings him here this week.  Early in his career, he was a young F90 King Air pilot who had the great fortune to meet and train with Tom Clements.  This relationship grew when Eric was offered the chance to join Tom’s company, Flight Review, Inc., as an instructor.  What followed was a King Air education that only Tom could provide.  Following Flight Review, Mr. Berger returned to a series of flight operations roles culminating with Cardinal Health, a Fortune 20 company based in Columbus, OH.  While with Cardinal, Mr. Berger held several management positions, including Training and Standards Captain, International Training Captain, Manager of Aviation Technology, and Chief Pilot, while also serving as a domestic and international captain.  His flying experience includes over 10,000 hours and seven type ratings, including Falcon 20, Falcon 50/900, Falcon 2000, Learjet, Learjet 60, Beech 1900, and King Air 300/350.  In 2006, Eric began a new career chapter when he joined Rockwell Collins in Wichita, KS, as a Collins Pro Line avionics training and support specialist.  In this role, he spent most days at the Beechcraft, Cessna, or Learjet facilities helping factory and customer pilots understand flight operations with Pro Line 4, 21, and Fusion avionics systems.  In 2020, Eric retired from Collins and now provides Pro Line avionics expertise to King Air Academy, thus producing a perfect outlet for both his King Air and avionics backgrounds.

Edward H. Phillips – Edward is an aviation history enthusiast who has researched, written, and published nine books and more than 100 magazine articles on the airplanes, people, and companies that made Wichita, Kansas, the “Air Capital of the World”—a title it retains to this day. Ed is a graduate of the University of North Dakota’s aviation and journalism program and served as Business Flying Editor at Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine for 20 years before retiring in 2007. He holds a Commercial pilot license with instrument, multi-engine, and flight instructor certificates, as well as an Airframe & Powerplant license. His books include “Travel Air—Wings Over the Prairie,” “Cessna—A Master’s Expression;” “Staggerwing!;” “Wings Of Cessna;” “Beechcraft—Pursuit of Perfection;” “Mystery Ship—A History of the Five Travel Air Type “R” Monoplanes, “Laird Airplanes—A Legacy of Speed;” “Stearman Aircraft—A Detailed History,” and “Piper-A Legend Aloft.”  A long-running series of Ed’s history articles have been published in “King Air Magazine” since 2008. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

Zack Cleaver – Zach has been a Gold Seal flight instructor since 2009 and teaching in King AIrs since 2010.  Zach joined the KAA team in 2013.  With 2000+ hours of experience in 90, 100, 200, and 300(typed) series King Airs, he brings a strong knowledge of the aircraft to the classroom, sim, and in-flight training.  Zach is dedicated to giving the best education in King Airs possible.

Scott Frye – Scott is originally from Knoxville, and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a BA in Economics and an MBA.  He has worked in aviation since 1988 where he served in various roles for Eastern and Delta Airlines while learning to fly. He then worked for an aviation engineering company providing balancing and vibration equipment for the fixed-wing and rotorcraft market.   Scott joined Garmin in 2009 as a Regional Sales Manager for the South Central region supporting the aftermarket dealer network.  In 2012 he became OEM Sales Manager working with various OEM’s including Cirrus, Textron, and Embraer providing Garmin avionics solutions for new production aircraft.  In 2014 he transitioned to his current role of Sales Manager for Integrated Flight Deck Retrofit Programs managing the King Air G1000 NXi program as well as other retrofit integrated flight deck programs.    He holds an ATP certificate, BE-300 type rating, and is a CFI.

Derek Boxwell – Derek graduated from the Embry Riddle Aviation maintenance and avionics programs in early 2000, beginning a career in corporate avionics. He holds his A&P, IA, and PPL. He is nearing his 20th year in the industry and 15th year owning his small avionics company. He has worked small GA up to large corporate aircraft but his primary airframe experience has been Citations and King Airs. He notably worked worldwide as a Military Sub Contractor in Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait on their King Air/Citation Programs for several years. Now later in his career, Derek has transitioned out of working on airplanes into Avionics install consulting/engineering and selling/brokering new and used avionics. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, sports cars, and owns a T210 which is undergoing a ground-up restoration.

Tom Grunbeck – Tom is Director of Autothrottle System Programs for IS&S selling the ThrustSense Full Regime Autothrottle System to the King Air and PC-12 markets.  For more than 15 years Tom has also sold autothrottle systems to the regional and mid-cabin business jet fleets as well as digital antiskid braking systems to the King Air and PC-12 markets.  Tom Grunbeck is a licensed Private Pilot with Instrument Rating. Throughout his career, Tom has held senior-level management positions in the Aviation Industry including Business Development, Marketing, Sales, Engineering, and Manufacturing.  Tom has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Business Administration (Marketing). Industry affiliations have included NBAA, EAA, Wings Club, AAAA, HAI, and has been on the Board of Directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Bill Brunton – Bill obtained his Private Pilot Certificate in 1970 shortly thereafter he obtained his Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor Certificates. He then began instructing students at several local airports while attending the University of Tulsa.  After obtaining his BS degree in 1973, he was employed by the Spartan School of Aeronautics as
a Flight and Ground Instructor.  In 1976 Bill became an instructor at the Beech Training Center where he taught both
ground and flight curriculums for all the Beech products. Bill also taught all the courses in Spanish to Spanish-speaking customers traveling extensively in South and Central America demonstrating Beech products and training pilots. Bill was appointed as a Designated Pilot Examiner by the FAA and administered many check rides to Beech customers.  In 1990 Bill left Beech and became Chief Pilot for a large corporation that operated several airplanes including two Beech Starships in Milwaukee, WI.  In 1993 Bill returned to Tulsa, OK, and became a contract corporate, charter pilot, and instructor flying and instructing in many different aircraft types.  Bill has flown over 160 different makes and models of aircraft and is type rated in 12 different Aircraft. He has been flying for 50 years and has over 18,000 hours with 9,000 hours of dual given.