John and Martha King founded King Schools more than 48 years ago as a result of the intersection between their passion for aviation and instruction, and their entrepreneurial spirit. At EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Thursday, the Kings previewed their first nonfiction title aimed at the business market.
LIFT: How to Start, Run and Grow Your Own Successful Business takes a look at the guiding principles by which the Kings have established and grown their businesses over the span of their life together—a life in which they deliberately set out to work as entrepreneurs and partners in every way.
Barry Knuttila, CEO of King Schools, presented the preview, which included a couple of the gems found within:
- “You have a wonderful opportunity. You live in the time and place where you can pursue your passion and start your own business to improve your life and the lives you touch,” John and Martha write in the book’s introduction.
- “In flying and in business, you’ll always need to make corrections along the way. But in flying, when you are a good pilot in a well-built plane—just like when you’re a good entrepreneur running a well-designed company—you can make progress others only dream of.”
The book is dedicated to two people who were critical to their success—and who exemplify another guiding principle they hold dear, to hire and work with people who have talents and skills beyond their own. The first, Dave Jackson, is the former CEO of King Schools, and he brought his deep experience in video production and a trustworthy nature to the business. The second is Knuttila, the current CEO, who brought his expertise in technology development to King Schools at the time when the company needed to transition its courses from VHS to online delivery.
LIFT will be available on Amazon in October.
Martha King: Master Pilot
Martha King has enjoyed a long, storied aviation career—and this year she marked 50 years of continuous, accident-free flying. The FAA honors those pilots who achieve this milestone with the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. Martha received hers on Wednesday at EAA AirVenture.
“It was a very big event, it was an emotional event,” Knuttila said of the moment when Martha was awarded the certificate. “Because those 50 years really sum up an amazing career so far of flying.”
But the word got out, and the FAA’s acting administrator, Billy Nolen, learned of the award, and extended a special invitation to the Kings to have the award “re-presented” to Martha at the end of the Meet the Administrator session at AirVenture. The event can be watched on the King Schools website—and the Kings did make it back to the press lunch to sign the pre-release copies of their book.
AOPA and STEM Education
High schools that are using the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation’s Aviation STEM Curriculum can now take advantage of steeply discounted materials from King Schools.
The “You Can Fly” kit includes King Schools Private Pilot Ground School and Test Prep Course and Pilot Communications Course. Students receive an endorsement to take the FAA private pilot knowledge exam after completing three practice exams from within the course with passing scores. The Pilot Communications Course teaches pilot communication procedures and techniques in a way that covers all classes of airspace. The retail price for the two courses is $328; AOPA STEM students can purchase the You Can Fly Kit for $99.
King Schools will also offer high schools using the AOPA curriculum the King Commercial Drone Pilot Course (retail $129) for $59 per course. The drone course prepares students to take the FAA Part 107 knowledge exam.
King Schools has recently brought on board a new controller, Kit Liberty, who is learning to fly as she joins the legendary pilot training business. Liberty comes with more than a decade of expertise and experience as a controller with high-tech companies.
Knuttila said, “Kit is joining us during an exciting time in our evolution as a company. John and Martha founded King Schools almost 50 years ago. Since then, the company has evolved in many ways to take advantage of emerging technology.
“Most visibly, all our courses are now delivered online or downloaded and taken through mobile apps, but our accounting systems have also evolved right alongside our courses. Kit will take those systems to a new level. Her strong technological capabilities and leadership will continue moving our company forward as she takes over this crucial role.”