Aerion Supersonic

Celebrating the Pilots of Aerion

By Aerion Supersonic on Apr 24, 2020

6 min read
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“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.”

– Wilbur Wright

 

We all have hobbies outside of work, and at Aerion, it’s no surprise that traveling, learning more about aviation, and flying planes tend to be some of the more popular hobbies among our employees. Across departments, we have over 20 certified pilots and pilots in training. To celebrate World Pilot’s Day this weekend, we asked a few of them to share a bit about their experience flying – here’s what they had to say:

 

Jacob Cooper, Research/Aerodynamics Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

I’ve only flown Cessna 172’s.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

Just the simple love of flight.

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

Flying over my grandparent’s lake house right after I got my license and waving to them with the wingtips of the airplane.

 

John Wait, Propulsion Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

The last one I flew – the J3 Piper Club. I love the experience of flying a plane I have not flown before.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

It was a desire for as long as I can remember. I finally rationalized flight training a year before my kid’s tuition bills would start.

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

Doing touch-and-gos in the strong crosswind generated by the approaching dust storm. I’d nail a banked one wheel landing, then abort one, nail one, then abort one, then the tower told me they wanted their airplane in the hangar now or I would never fly it again. As I turned onto the taxiway two people grabbed my wing tips and walked me to the open hangar door. I got a dressing down from the Chief Pilot…but he had a smile on his face the whole time. It’s definitely not the time I ran out of fuel at 7,000 feet.

 

 

Mike Kerho, Senior Aerodynamics Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

My favorite aircraft to fly has been a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

I’ve always been fascinated with flight. I got my license when I was 18. I’ve spent the better part of 35 years studying it, but it still seems like magic.

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

My favorite flying memories are from taking my family and friends up, especially for aerobatics.

 

 

Masa Hirvonen, Technical Director, Flight Control Systems

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

Some of my favorite airplanes are Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons and of course, my currently co-owned CubCrafters SportCub. Probably the most exotic aircraft I have flown is Antonov AN-2, but the most favorite airplane? Any one I can get hold of and fly…!

 

What other types of aircrafts have you flown?

I am a commercial pilot (ASEL, AMEL) and a flight instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI) with an instrument rating. I have flown roughly 40 different flying contraptions from gliders to turbine twins since I started flying in Finland when I was 15 years old (over 30 years ago).

 

Roger Noble, Vice President, Sales

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

My favorite aircraft is the McDonnell Douglas F4-E “Phantom II” Supersonic Fighter. I flew the Phantom from 1985-1992 during USAF Active Duty and have 1,300+ flight hours and 1,000+ Sorties. The Phantom used two GE Afterburning Engines and could fly close to Mach 2.0. The model I flew had both a Dogfighting Air-To-Air Combat role as well as an Air-To-Ground Combat ordinance delivery role.

 

How much have you flown?

I have about 9,000 hours total flight time. It’s a passion without any doubt.

 

David Ambrose, Structural Design Lead

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

My RV-8A. It’s a 2 seat (tandem) kit airplane that cruises at 155kts while only burning 7.6 gallons per hour of fuel and it is also capable of doing aerobatics.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

My father was a pilot and had a lot of books on flying laying around so I just started reading them at a young age. I taught myself how to use his Jeppesen E6-b flight computer (also known as the “Wiz Wheel” or “Flight Confuser”) in the 6th grade and would do time/speed/distance calculations on car trips. Kids back then were into building plastic models of cars and airplanes so I did a lot of that and then RC planes and then started taking flying lessons at Cleveland Hopkins airport when I was 15.

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

I have a few – my first solo flight in a Cessna 152 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport flying off a grass runway that no longer exists (I rode my bike to get to the flying lesson), flying from CA to Oshkosh for the big week long EAA AirVenture airshow, and taking my wife for her first ride in our RV-8A homebuilt airplane after 10 years of building it.

 

Doug Coleman, General Counsel, EVP, Governance and Compliance

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

1942 Waco UPF-7.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

I wanted to be an airline pilot!

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

#1 – Flying with my wife to a grass strip (3W3) on the Chesapeake Bay to pick crabs on our first date. #2 – Skipping law school classes to fly traffic reports for WNNK-104 in Harrisburg PA.

 

Max Warden, Principal Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

Bellanca Citabria for just boring holes in the sky, Aerostar 601 for just get’n up and going.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

The “want” to be a Navy Pilot…but really my Dad.

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

Flying my first girlfriend to Santa Paula and renting a ’57 Chevy to tour the town of Solvang – age 17.

 

Jeremy Wills, Avionics Lead Engineer

What is your favorite aircraft that you have flown?

The vast majority of my flying time is in Cessna 152s. I got checked out on a 172 once and it felt like I was flying a rocket ship.

 

What motivated you to become a pilot?

I have loved aircraft for as long as I can remember. Early in my engineering career the opportunity came up to take flying lessons, and have work pay for part of it, and I jumped at the chance.

 

What is your favorite memory while flying?

The feeling of accomplishment after first solo and then later passing my FAA check ride.  It was impossible to get the smile off my face.