Mark is a retired Navy Captain who didn’t learn to fly as a pilot until he was age 47. He began his career at the US Naval Academy then progressed to flying as a Bombardier/Navigator in the A-6E Intruder attack jet aboard aircraft carriers. Mark later transitioned to aircraft maintenance and logistics, deploying aboard many carriers, keeping the jets flying at sea. Today Mark continues as a full-time airplane guy flying airshows and training new pilots at Navy Annapolis Flight Center in MD. All of his students get the opportunity to fly inverted in his Super Chipmunk!
Mark, like many aviators, dreamed of building or restoring his own airplane. “Chippy” started life in 1951 in the Royal Air Force as a British-built de Havilland Chipmunk. It later became a world traveler, working various jobs as a military trainer in Tasmania, as a crop sprayer in Australia, then in 1972 arrived in Texas for conversion into a fire breathing airshow plane, commencing a long career flying shows around the US.
By 2009 Chippy was old and tired, so Mark rebuilt it over 5 years and 5,000 hours, culminating in the retro hot-rod with wings you see today! They won the coveted Experimental Aircraft Association’s Lindbergh Award as the Champion Custom Classic Aircraft.
While Mark rebuilt Chippy with the spirit and tools of modern innovation and technology, he flies his airshow as a tribute to the Golden Age pioneers who knew how to design beautiful, art-deco styled airplanes using paper and slide rules, then fly them with heart-pounding excitement and graceful elegance. Mark and Chippy fly a Classic Airshow! Mark would love to answer your questions about becoming a pilot, about building and flying your own airplane, or even becoming an airshow pilot!