'Uncle Joey' is a pilot

March 20, 2012

In the “guess-who-stopped-by-the-office” category this week is Dave Coulier, best known as Uncle Joey from the 1980s television series Full House. Coulier was a hit around AOPA’s Frederick, Md., headquarters—especially with the women, who remember him as the cute, funny uncle of the Olsen twins and best friend of Bob Saget (who later became a dirty-talking comedian). Coulier is a clean-talking stand-up comedian (he tours with the Clean Guys of Comedy) and was in the Washington, D.C., area for a performance.

But Coulier came to tour the AOPA headquarters just like any other pilot—he has been a private pilot since 1979. “My dad had a friend who flew a Cessna 180 at a small uncontrolled field near our home in St. Clair Shores, Mich. When I was just five years old, my father took me along. That first flight on a cold winter day got me hooked on aviation for a lifetime. When I was a teenager, I got my private license at that same airport,” he says.

Coulier, who has about 1,000 hours, is instrument-rated. He based his B35 Bonanza at California’s Santa Monica Airport for a number of years. “I got tired of being grounded on foggy days and started instrument training with Mark Doolittle—yep, he’s related to Jimmy Doolittle of Raiders’ fame—and six months later I was filing IFR and was a safer and more knowledgeable pilot too.”

The actor once flew his airplane from Santa Monica to the Full House set in Burbank. “It took 12 minutes. I was so tired of sitting in LA traffic. But when the studio heard about it, that was the last time.”

Coulier has agreed to serve as a co-chair for the AOPA Foundation Hat in the Ring Society. He joins aerobatic pilot Mike Goulian, celebrity chef Alton Brown, and author Stuart Woods. Actor Morgan Freeman is the honorary chairman. The Hat in the Ring Society supports the work of the AOPA Foundation.

The comedian—he hosted America’s Funniest People for four seasons—loves the joy of flying. “Have fun! We are so lucky to be flying,” he says.