Getting to Know Cliff Chetwin

Hometown: Santa Fe, NMHometown Airport: KSAF

Occupation: Retired (National Park Ranger)

Education: BS-Forestry State University NY; BS-Resources Management-Syracuse University; Aviation Safety Certificate-University of Southern California

Pilot Certificates: ASEL, AMEL, COMM, INST, CFI/CFII/MEI

Airplanes Flying/Flown: All the Cessnas with props, comparable Pipers, Beechcraft through BE-200, Katana & Diamondstar, Mooney 20 series, BC-12D

Education Specialty: Mountain flying, Youth education, Accident prevention

Q & A

What drew you to aviation? Initially the challenge of taking a machine into the air and making it do my bidding, but then the sheer joy of every flight took over.How long have you been involved in aviation education? 35 years

What’s your favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Interacting with youth and planting the seed of aviation.

What’s your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education? Suffering through the sometimes mindless bureaucracy of the FAA and TSA.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you’d like to share?  Lot’s of ‘em but two that stand out: 1) Attempting to fly over San Francisco Bay in a C-152 at 10,500 MSL and having a ground speed of minus 5 kts! 2) Flying over San Francisco Bay at sunset with the fog rolling in, the soft glow of the city under it, and the Golden Gate Bridge poking up through it … aviation doesn’t get much better than this!

Why did you join SAFE? I saw an opportunity to be part of a member centric organization dedicated to aviation education predicated upon professionalism and safety

What would you like to see change in aviation? Affordable LSA; more consistency in FAA medicals; greater use of the driver’s license as a medical; customer oriented FAA; solution to the leaded fuel problem; expand repairman certificate concept to more of the maintenance on certificated aircraft; greater emphasis on career opportunities beyond the airlines.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished? SAFE members must become more attuned to the political process and aggressively participate in it; better aviation marketing by CFIs beyond that required to gain business; development of scientific/statistics-based proposals by SAFE

Any accomplishments in, or noteworthy contributions to aviation and/or aviation education you’d like to mention? Denver FSDO FAAST Rep of the year; FAA NW Mountain Region FAAST Rep of the year; Founder of the only aviation explorer post (Boy Scouts) in Colorado; initiated and coordinate forum program for non-FAA federal agencies at AirVenture presenting over 80 educational forums each year; author of  “GA Guide to the National Parks”; owner of Kestrel Aviation LLC

Who are your role models in aviation? The Tuskegee Airmen. I can think of no group that faced greater obstacles to participating in aviation.  Not only did they become legendary airmen, they changed society as a whole.