Chad Baker

by Chad Baker on November 9, 2019

SAFE #: S0004750


Hometown: Crestview FL, United States

Home Airport: KVPS KCEW

Occupation: DoD Support Contractor

Education: BA Math, MAS Aviation/Aerospace Mgt, Master of Military Operational Art & Science

Pilot Certificates: ASEL Private Pilot / Instrument

Airplanes Flying/Flown: PA-28R-200, PA-28-140, C-172, C-152

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: Since the 1970's when I used to fly RC models with my dad I've loved being around airplanes. In college I used all the money I could get together to obtain my private certificate and then worked as a lineman and dispatcher for the flight school. To this day I don't think there's anything quite like the feel of being the PIC of a aircraft…making the perfect takeoff or greasing the perfect landing exactly on the spot you wanted.

Once I went into the USAF, the money and priority never seemed to be available for flying. 20+ years later, in 2016, I finally decided to get back into flying and obtained my instrument rating.

I'm now retired from the USAF, 51 yrs old, and wanting to get my commercial and CFI certificates so I can spend my second career sharing my passion for aviation.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: My only aviation education experiences so far include trying to lead a local EAA IMC Club and participating in Young Eagles events for my local EAA Chapter the past couple of years. My goal over the next year or so is to become a CFI and begin to refocus my vocation from what it has been the past 30 years to into sharing my passion for aviation.

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Sharing each others interests, techniques, and experiences of flying adventures.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: My first attempt at my long cross country for my Private certificate ended in an emergency landing at an airport about 30 mins into the flight. I had topped off the plane that morning with MOGAS and allowed time for any water to collect before sumping. Even so, after settling into cruise for my first leg, the engine started cutting out bad and the airport right below me was being repaved. I tried to call on the radio to let them know I might be coming in anyway but things seemed to clear up as I descended to pattern altitude. I decided to see if I could climb back up. With the engine seemingly ok, I opted to backtrack 10 miles to another airport. After flying a mechanic out, he found approximately a pint of water out of my fuel system.

My second attempt was successful but took over 24 hrs to complete. I got weathered in after my second leg and had to stay the night…waking up to 1/4 mile thick fog. I missed a calculus test that day I wan't allowed to make up…but it was worth it.

Why did you join SAFE?: As an aspiring CFI, I wanted to join an organization of like minded people that I knew could support me in my efforts to be successful as a CFI.

Who are your role models in aviation?: Jason Miller from the Finer Points. I love his approach to instructing and his appreciation for the details and safety aspects of general aviation.

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