FLYING Stories Featured in New ‘Sky Kings’ Book

King Schools has also released flight instructor tools and announced its scholarship winners with NAFI.

John and Martha King share a lifetime of flying experiences—and columns from FLYING—in their latest book, ‘Sky Kings.’ [Credit: Stephen Yeates]

Drawing on the flight time that they’ve spent over five decades flying, John and Martha King have contributed many stories to the pages of FLYING through their column, “Sky Kings.” Now readers can enjoy those vignettes—most of them previously published here—in their latest book, Sky Kings. 

King Schools announced the book at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo on Thursday, along with several new tools for flight instructors. They also presented the National Association of Flight Instructors/King Schools Scholarship award for 2023 to Tracy Atobatele.

Sky Kings is available now through [Credit: King Schools]

The Kings purchased their first airplane—a Piper Cherokee 140—in 1969. Now they pilot a Dassault Falcon 10 together, and from that broad range of experience, they have drawn the articles within Sky Kings, including this one:

“One of the most moving and memorable chapters is entitled ‘Until We Had Our Accident,’” the Kings shared. “It begins with an account of a situation every pilot dreads: a total electrical failure above clouds, icing, and finally a forced landing in a cornfield in gathering dusk that sent a bloodied Martha to the ER. You might think that would be enough for one chapter, but John King goes on to relate the painful feelings he and Martha would experience when they would learn that some newly-minted pilot whom they had instructed had died in a crash, and how it sometimes made them ask themselves: ‘How could they in good conscience teach people a skill that was sure to get some of them killed?’”

With a foreword written by FLYING’s editor-in-chief Julie Boatman, the book retails for $21.97 for paperback and $13.97 for Kindle at, and more information can be found at

Flight Instructor Tools

King Schools has packaged several new tools for CFIs in its latest offerings. Instructors can now access the new Flight Instructor Program, which allows them to track their students’ progress through any King Schools course through a discrete connection. The tool lets CFIs understand not only what lessons the student is currently taking but also where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Those CFIs using the Flight Instructor Program also gain access to all King Schools primary certification courses, from private pilot to initial flight instructor.

King Schools president and CEO Barry Knutilla conducting a flying lesson. [Credit: King Schools]

Another cool tool? A newly crafted course called Your First Flying Lesson. Fly along with King Schools president and CEO—and longtime instructor—Barry Knutilla on an exciting discovery flight from Montgomery Field (KMYF) in San Diego, California, out to Catalina Island. Along the way, Knutilla shares tips and tricks for making a person’s first taste of flight informative and fun.

Flight schools can now access the complete Cessna Flight Training System—with sport/private, instrument, commercial, and flight instructor courses—and gain the benefits of offering that system to their students as well as tracking their progress through its learning management system.

The Kings also talked about how their first book, Lift, can help CFIs become better in the business of providing instruction.

NAFI Scholarship Winner

Finally, the Kings joined National Association of Flight Instructors board chair Karen Kalishek in awarding instructor-to-be Tracy Atobatele with the 2023 NAFI/King Schools Flight Instructor Scholarship. Atobatele’s story, shared by King Schools in a release, explains well why she was chosen for the honor.

“She was born, the fourth of her parents' four children, in a Lagos suburb in Nigeria. When she was eight, she and her father watched a TV segment about a young woman pilot. ‘Why do they admire her so much?’ she asked her father. ‘Her job is very important,’ he replied.

“Her father's answer made a deep impression on Tracy Atobatele. In her part of the world, professional success was not something many women could aspire to, but she decided that she would succeed, no matter what. After graduating from college with a major in marine biology, she first worked as a tailor, then as a flight attendant on a number of jet charter services, and finally as a broker of jet charter flights.

The NAFI & King Schools team welcome and celebrate with 2023 Scholarship winner Tracy Atobatele at SUN n FUN 2022. [Credit: King Schools]

“Moving to the United States with help from friends and family, she embarked on the project her father called "so magical and grand"—her training to become a professional pilot. Endlessly resourceful, she supported herself by setting up an online business selling sneakers made to order in Nigeria using colorful local fabrics. Characteristically, she did not keep all of the profits for herself; part she sent back to Nigeria to pay the hospital bills of needy women giving birth. At the same time, she mentored 30 young women, helping them to become flight attendants in Nigeria.

“Tracy's parents supported her ambitions, her mother even more than her father. ‘Usually, mothers want you to settle down and get married. But she was different. 'There's nothing that you cannot do,' she would say. 'Just keep striving!'’ Her achievement remains a source of wonderment to her extended family, many of whom still live in a small village 125 miles northeast of Lagos. ‘I am the first in my entire generation to become a pilot,’ she says, ‘and for a very long time no one thought I could do it.’

“Extremely shy as a child and young person, Tracy found that flight training changed her, making her more self-confident and assertive. Now, she has no trouble articulating her sky's-the-limit plans, which in the short term include flying for an airline, and in the long run opening her own flight school with an eye to helping other women begin careers in aviation.”

The scholarship is valued at $18,000 and includes a $5,000 stipend and lifetime access to King Schools courses, along with the company’s Flight Instructor Renewal Course.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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