From motorcycle guy to airplane guy

From passing the written to buying aircraft insurance, AOPA was there.

Thomas Remo says he has “an ear-to-ear grin every day.” Other pilots will appreciate that his happy face is caused by his most recent purchase: a Piper Cherokee. Remo is the owner of Shocker Custom Cycles in Huntington Beach, Calif., and he says owning an airplane is “a lifelong dream come true.”

 Thomas Remo

Pilots also will appreciate that it took time and effort to get where he is today. As a very young boy, a flight attendant overheard him using the word tarmac and was so impressed that she brought him to the cockpit to meet the pilot who let Remo sit in his seat. The dream of learning to fly would have to wait, however, and it wasn’t until he was 25 that he took an intro flight and fell in love with flying again.

In December 2012, Remo felt that his life and his businesses—in addition to the motorcycle shop, he owns a music studio—were stable and successful, and he could devote the resources to learning to fly. Although the instructor for his intro flight had recommended he join AOPA, he ignored the advice until he started ground school at Orange Coast College where his instructors Dr. Ernest Maruer and Richard Young both recommended the students join AOPA.

“That’s when I jumped in head first and wanted to know everything AOPA had to offer,” he says. He credits studying for the high score on his private written—especially, he says, information about runway signs. He says, “I was having a difficult time getting everything to sink into my head.” He also credits his flight instructor, Brandon Abrego, for his great teaching.

He passed his private checkride this past Mother’s Day and he turned his attention to buying an airplane. Although he had trained in a Cessna 172, he preferred the silhouette of a low-wing airplane and especially the Cherokee. He turned back to, now for information on buying an airplane. He says, “I’m only 29 and I’ve never bought an airplane before.” He says he used every resource AOPA offers to research his purchase.

When it came time to buy insurance, his experience with the association had been so positive that he naturally turned to AOPA. Again, AOPA came out on top. In fact, he had called some other insurance companies and was not impressed with their level of customer service. Remo says, “My guy at AOPA Insurance was super-nice, gave me the best rate, and told me that I’d be covered starting that day and that they’d send me the paperwork in the mail.”

As for aircraft ownership, Remo says it’s everything he has dreamed of. He and his girlfriend, Karen, took a spontaneous trip to Palm Springs, then on to Las Vegas. He says, “Flying is so awesome, I can come and go as I please. And the best news is Karen used to be afraid of flying, and now she’s thinking about getting her license. She loves it.” In the meantime, Remo is enjoying his airplane and working on his instrument rating. In sum, he says, “All I want to do is fly.”

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit us at or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal of aviation and life insurance.