Kevin Strange

by Kevin Strange on April 27, 2021

Kevin Strange

Kevin Strange

SAFE #: S0006712

Hometown: Beaumont CA, United States

Home Airport: KREI

Occupation: Test Pilot, Program Manager

Education: BS Microbiology, NTPS

Pilot Certificates: Commercial SEL, SES, MEI, CFI-I

Airplanes Flying/Flown: Cessna 120 and other tailwheel

Educational Specialty: Instructor, Flight Test (Manned and Unmanned)

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: My father. He is an absolute hero. 35,000 plus hours and over 262 different types of aircraft and a DPE! Beyond his experiences, he is also a humble, patient and appreciative human being. He is who I strive to be as a pilot, an instructor, a dad and a fellow member of our community.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: I received my CFI in 2001, followed by my MEI. I really did not instruct for many years, only giving Flight Reviews and tailwheel endorsements every once in a while. In 2017, I decided to achieve my CFI-I. During that journey, I met some pilots who were interested in tailwheel. After some discussion, I began to give endorsements again and fell in love with the challenge and art of instructing. For the past year and a half I have been giving tailwheel endorsements and private pilot on a regular basis. Of my 300 hours of instruction, I have taught 150 hours in tailwheel!

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: I enjoy having deep dive discussion of aerodynamics and regulations. I love gaining nd guiding additional insights from my students. I love improving our understanding of aerodynamic relationships and how we navigate the regulations. Above all I love presenting the tailwheel to as many pilots as possible.

What's your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: I am saddened when students begin to face financial challenges in spite of their talents. Our industry is needlessly expensive in many ways. I do my best to be available to my students in many ways with minimal financial commitment.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: One student was having trouble with wheel landings. During the debriefs it became apparent that two elements were occurring. One was that I was not adapting well to the student by providing alternate ways to explain to "roll the plane on the wheels by pushing forward". In addition, the student was uncomfortable with pushing forward due to a fear of a prop strike. I sought guidance from my dad and his friends and it became clear that my vocabulary I was using was not working describe why we needed to keep the tail up. Also, I was challenged with making the student comfortable by going to a long runway and have the student begin a take off and raise the tail, then lower the tail multiple times without taking off.

After we went down the runway twice, the student got it! She understood the muscle moment and gained the confidence that she was in control of the airplane! It was wonderful. And my description? "Raise the tail"

Why did you join SAFE?: I was searching for CFI insurance. When I came across the SAFE website, I was hooked. I began reading through the articles and looked at the list of activities and I was hooked.

What would you like to see change in aviation?: We need to address the costs. That is a big challenge. In the short term, we need to instill the passion back into aviation. Bring in students by getting excited about the art of flying and show them the advanced technologies and how safety has increased. In addition, sustain the pilot population by developing the love of aviation and how that you can be paid for flying in many ways. It's not always about airlines. That are many other flying opportunities that can be flown in conjunction with students "day job".

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished?: Among the many ideas I have, one way is to demonstrate the fun first, not the practical side. LSA's and unique airplanes (bush planes) can be presented first as an adventure. Showing that "hey, you love camping? Check out the unique camping sites available by air and you don't even need a runway!"

Who are your role models in aviation?: My father, Terry Strange. My mom, Martha. She is not a pilot but pushed me in all areas of aviation. My wife, Dawn. She is a student pilot but a huge supporter of my "hobby".

I also follow and enjoy Paul Bertorelli, the Kings, successful CFI's, Art Scholl, Jim Applebee and many of those who make mistakes and are humble enough to educate the rest of us.

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