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John, Martha King and Greg Brown inducted into CFI hall of fame

Editor's note: This article was updated October 16 with additional information from the National Association of Flight Instructors.

King Schools Inc. founders John and Martha King, who have coached thousands of pilots through passing their FAA knowledge exams with sage advice, folksy humor, and a money-back guarantee, and well-known instructor and aviation author Greg Brown, were humbled during a surprise Flight Instructor Hall of Fame induction ceremony October 13 at the National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas.

John and Martha King are inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame October 13 during a presentation with fellow inductee Greg Brown and National Association of Flight Instructors Program Director John Niehaus (left). Photo by Kollin Stagnito.

The National Association of Flight Instructors administers the award and says on its website that nominees are recognized for making “significant contributions to aviation education and flight instruction while reflecting credit upon themselves and their profession,” and emphasizes the “important role flight instructors play as a foundation for the safety of the entire national air transportation system.”

John and Martha King

The husband-and-wife CFI team join a who’s who list of inductees including the late aviation journalist Richard “Dick” Collins (2018), the late flight simulator engineer Rudy Frasca (2012), Sporty’s Pilot Shop founder Hal Shevers (2007), and dozens of aviation education luminaries.

The Kings began their flight instruction careers more than 40 years ago by going door to door to explain federal aviation regulations, the principles of flight, and other concepts in an easy-to-remember format that features the two bantering back and forth while taking turns leading the instruction.

John and Martha King are surprised by airline pilot, CFI, and National Association of Flight Instructors board member Brian Schiff with King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila, center, at a Flight Instructor Hall of Fame induction ceremony October 13 during the National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition. Photo by Kollin Stagnito.

They ushered in a sea of changes during transitions from in-person sessions to videos, then DVDs, and the current online format. Interjecting facts with humor, providing real-world scenarios, and sharing personal stories are the couple’s hallmarks. It’s hard to forget some of their memory-jogging phrases, which include the admonition for pilots to “look out below” when “going from high to low” during cross-country flights through changing weather systems.

“John and I have spent a lifetime in aviation, and we—like you—have a passion about flying and the people who fly. It’s a wonderful community,” Martha King told attendees at a “Straight Talk About Aviation Safety” AOPA safety forum during EAA AirVenture in July. “I want to make it clear [that] Martha is just a little bit better pilot than I am,” John King said to AirVenture attendees, “because she knows where she is, and what’s happening, and what’s about to happen next. And I’m going along saying, ‘What the hell just happened?’”

During a brief ceremony October 13, NAFI Program Director John Niehaus said that the thirty-third and thirty-fourth inductees “were the hardest people we have ever had to surprise.” He thanked the couple for giving back to the community “through articles, seminars, educational scholarships, and corporate philanthropy” and for providing instruction to “thousands of aviators” during their 43-year educational career.

The Kings have flown a variety of aircraft—from single-engine piston airplanes to helicopters and multiengine jets. They were inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2019 and have accumulated dozens of additional awards and recognition.

Greg Brown

Brown, former longtime Flight Training magazine contributor who taught and entertained students and pilots alike with stories about flying his Cessna Skylane in his Flying Carpet column, was also inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame.

Brown has more than 40 years of experience instructing, as well as experience as a corporate pilot and pilot for scheduled aviation, NAFI said. He holds instructor certificates “with all fixed-wing aircraft ratings,” as well as an airline transport pilot certificate and a type rating in the Boeing 737, according to NAFI. In addition, he has released numerous books for pilots of all levels, sharing insights from his background in professional flying and teaching: The Savvy Flight Instructor, The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual, Job Hunting for Pilots, You Can Fly!, and Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Brown also records a podcast, Cockpit Adventures from the Flying Carpet. Brown was an early adopter of social media in 1997, using it to encourage student pilots through the Greg Brown’s Student Pilot Pep Talk Facebook group that he continues to moderate today.

David Tulis
David Tulis
Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: People, National Business Aviation Association

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