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2018 Pilots

Get to know the pilots who earned a spot in the 2018 Mooney Caravan XXI lineup.

Element

Position

Pilot Fun Facts

A

LEAD


Flying Mooney Lead is Chris Shopperly, call sign "Toro," in C-GWFJ, a 1987 Mooney M20K 252. Toro is the 1st Canadian to lead the Mooney Caravan and has flown (17) of the 21) Caravans. Toro's kids love AirVenture so much, they call it “Christmas in July”.

#2

Flying Deputy Lead this year, Adam Carney, call sign "Sled," is in N808WM, a 1995 Mooney M20R Ovation. Sled has been flying with the Mooney Caravan since 2000. Sled earned his call sign because when he shows up, things go downhill fast!

#3

(FNG) Pia Bergqvist flying Alpha2 in N104PB, a 1974 Mooney M20C Ranger is the 2018 Mooney Caravan Rookie of the Year. Pia has been awarded this coveted spot for her flying skills and enthusiasm. With a dream job that she could not have dreamed up as a young girl growing up in Sweden, Pia gets paid to fly different types of airplanes, from light pistons to turboprops and business jets. Her favorite airplane is her Mooney which she completely restored and wrote about in Flying Magazine.

 

 

 

B

LEAD

Chuck Crinnian, call sign "Cowboy," is flying N3089U, a 1979 M20K 231. Cowboy is Vice President and Director of Flight Operations for the Mooney Caravan. He first soloed on his 16th birthday and then attempted to get his driver’s license but flunked his driver’s test because he couldn’t parallel park. We think he has since passed it.

#2

(FNG) Mike Quatacker is flying N155AE, a 1989 Mooney M20M TLS.  This is Mike’s first time flying with the Mooney Caravan. Mike lives in a suburb of Chicago, in a house constructed entirely of gumdrops.  He travels the country as a professional chicken wing judge.  When he’s not rebuilding his house after ants get to it, he enjoys knitting oversized novelty ponchos for his friends and family.

#3

Chris McGough is flying a 1964 Piper Comanche 250. Chris bought his first airplane at age 22 using a cash advance from his credit card!

 

 

C

LEAD

Bret Lowell, call sign "Whitey" flying N202PC, a 1981 Mooney M20J 201 named "Molly." About (10) years ago, his wife Dawn call sign "Fiona" was disgusted with the condition of the rental airplanes available and decided to go back to work with the intention of buying an airplane. 'She buys, he flies' is their motto!

#2

(FNG) Dominic Peterson, flying N4224N, a 1974 Mooney M20F Executive, always wanted to fly as a kid.  He forgot as an adult until he finally remembered!

#3

Jolie Lucas, call sign "Buttercup," is flying N6619U, a 1965 Mooney M20E Super 21 named "Maggie 2." Buttercup's dad was a trainer in WWII and always finished each flight with “Another successful flight of Haywire Airlines.” This is her second year flying with the Mooney Caravan.

 

 

D

LEAD

John Baker, call sign "Fido" is flying N300RA, a 1993 Mooney M20M TLS named "Trillian." Fido got to fly with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the Australian outback. This gave him the spur to become a pilot.

#2

(FNG) Ben Paetzold is flying N477T, a 1967 Mooney M20F Executive. He works in network planning for Amazon's Fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft helping Amazon get packages to your door in two days or less.

 

 

E

LEAD

Phil Verghese, call sign “Buzz,” is flying N201UT, a 1977 Mooney M20J 201, which he's owned for over 20 years. Buzz is a flight instructor but pays for his flying addiction by writing software. Buzz served in the U.S. Army as an M1A1 Tank Company Commander.  Buzz’s wife, Nancy call sign “Honey” is also a pilot. She was Phil's first passenger after getting his pilot's license and they've been a crew for 18 years and enjoy traveling in their Mooney.

#2

Dan Lubell, call sign "Bolter," is flying N5691S, a 1983 Mooney M20J 201.  Bolter earned his call sign for being part of the go-around in 2016, and he had another go-around during a practice in Yuma this year while flying Lead.  So does the call sign define the pilot or the other way around?

 

 

F

LEAD

Robert Davis, call sign "Hoser," is flying N252RD, a 1987 Mooney M20K 252. Hoser received his call sign because, as he will tell you himself, he often flies 'high, on oxygen' with his co-pilot and wife Dolores call sign "Hustler."

#2


(FNG) Ken Cathro is flying C-GSRB, a 1983 Mooney M20K 231. This is Ken’s first time flying with the Mooney Caravan. In 2009, Ken won the annual mooing contest at the Wisconsin State Fair for sounding like a real cow. He proudly wears his prize package: a cow print jacket and a cowbell!

#3

Alan Millet, call sign "Tigger," is flying N1084L, a 1997 Mooney M20J 201, earned his call sign when he put in takeoff flaps during a practice session at Madison last year and bounded up on takeoff about 50+ feet higher than Lead.

 

 

G

LEAD

Jim Rigoulot, call sign "Goat," is flying N252L, a 1986 Mooney M20K 252. As a retired Marine, an infantry officer, and combat veteran, Goat served with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines in Vietnam with the best of the best! He is the Mid-Atlantic Group Flight Lead for Mooney Caravan.

#2

(FNG) JD Le Garrec is flying N205TG, a 1987 Mooney M20J 201. This is JD’s first time flying with the Mooney Caravan. JD likes to appear on television, so whenever a news camera crew gets set up in a public venue, he hangs around in the background on camera. JD wants to be cast member on American Idol.

#3

Steven Davis, call sign "Thumper," is flying N5608Y, a 1983 Mooney M20J 201. When asked to share some words of wisdom, Thumper replied with an important tip for all pilots: 'Do not attempt to inspect the prop of your aircraft with the engine running as it is much harder to see the defects.' When Thumper is not flying, you can find him performing open heart surgery.

 

 

H

LEAD

(FNG) Ian Whitlock is flying N9150Z, a 1991 Mooney M20M TLS. Although this is Ian’s first time flying with the Mooney Caravan, he has a few years of formation experience under his belt giving him the skill to fly the position of element Lead. Ian was runner-up in the 1993 Vermont State Tiddlywinks competition.  He now resides in SC where he inspects commercial ant farms. 

#2

(FNG) Jeff Vandertoll is flying N29EM, a 2007 Mooney M20R Ovation. Jeff is a computer programmer who is developing new algorithms for mechanical bulls.  He enjoys yoga, pillow fights, and is in line to join the space cadets once the US Space Force is formed.

#3

Ken Knopp, call sign "Slide," is flying N5280J, a 1988 Mooney M20J 201. Slide is looking forward to being at AirVenture and celebrating his wife's 50th Birthday tomorrow.

 

 

I

LEAD

Linda Torrens, call sign "Slim,” is flying in N79840, a 1965 Mooney M20E Super 21. This is her third Mooney. Slim serves as Safety Officer for the Mooney Caravan. As 30-year military veterans, Slim and her husband Cam, have lived in 15 locations on 3 continents and they maintain that the best flying they've done is with the Mooney Caravan. This year, Slim is accompanied to AirVenture by 3 of her 6 children, Elizabeth, Joshua, and Matthew.

#2

(FNG) Rick Mercurio flies N1909Y, a 1964 Mooney M20D Master that his wife affectionately calls “that damn plane!”

#3

Bob Belville, call sign "Breakdown," flying N943RW, a 1966 Mooney M20E Super 21, got started as a pilot when his bride, Nancy, call sign "Wild Thang," tired of listening to him talk about someday learning to fly, gave him flying lessons for Christmas. Within months they were taking long cross-country trips. That was thousands of hours and 50 years ago, Christmas 1968! Breakdown is also an avid golfer who 3-putted 18 of 72 greens in a national collegiate golf tournament in Springfield MO in 1962. This Vermont boy had never seen a (common) Bermuda grass green.

 

 

J

LEAD

Dave Snyder, call sign “Scope,” is flying a 1995 Mooney M20J 201. Scope has been flying with the Mooney Caravan for a few years. A proctologist from Pittsburgh, Scope enjoys daytime astronomy and has recently found Buddha after surviving a savage attack by a wild flock of geese.

#2

(FNG) Brad Podd is flying N201QH, a 1977 Mooney M20J 201. For both of his daughters’ births, he was out of town and a Mooney got papa there in time!

#3

Ken Bishop, call sign "KGB," is flying N9618V, a 1971 Mooney M20F Executive.  KGB's fond aviation memories include a time when while trying to impress a girl, he rented a Cessna 172 to take her flying.  He gunned the engine trying to get the nose wheel out of what he thought was that divot, until one of the line guys, watching the whole thing from about 20-feet away came around, knocked on the pilot window, and asked if he wanted the rear tie down untied.

 

 

K

LEAD

Kevin Paul, call sign “KP,” is flying N6949V, a 1976 Mooney M20F Executive. KP was in the Turkish marines where he trained with the Donkey Calvary.  He served (2) tours in the Falafel Wars after which he returned to the US and started a lucrative business as a goldfish salesman.  He enjoys going to the pickle races and gambling on airport flight delays.

#2

(FNG) Warren Huisman is flying N2014U, a 1987 Mooney M20J 201 that was refurbished by AOPA in their 2000 sweepstakes. Warren recently started flying again after a 20-year break and now flies every chance he can.

#3

Larry Marlewski is flying N205UU, a 1988 Mooney M20J 201. Larry has moved through the flight levels from a J3 Cub to a Mooney in just 24 years.  What a climb rate!

 

 

L

LEAD

Ron Mander, call sign “Sala” is flying N1079B, a 1981 Mooney M20K 231. Sala is world renowned for his research and breakthrough in the packaging of sliced American cheese.  He has a pet seagull named Patrick.

#2

(FNG) Bruce Baer flying N231CH, a 1979 Mooney M20K 231 is still learning the airplane after 14 years of ownership. Bruce said that greatest thrill besides flying is parachute jump two years ago.

#3

Larry Newhart, call sign "Gramps," is flying N101MU, a 1994 Mooney M20J 201. Gramps has been flying for nearly 50 years and may be one of the oldest members of the Caravan.

 

 

M

LEAD

Yves Grenier, call sign "Olaf," is flying C-FQKM, a 1965 Mooney M20C. Olaf is the only Mooney Caravan pilot coming from Quebec. This province is so cold that he has to carry his snow shovel everywhere to be well prepared for his return. He received his call sign after a visit to Texas when fellow pilots noticed him exiting his Mooney, shovel in hand.

#2

(FNG) Steven Leary is flying N2145X, a 1998 Mooney M20R Ovation. This is Steven’s first time flying with the Mooney Caravan. When not flying, he enjoys safari cruises, singing with his mariachi band, and romantic bike rides near a mall.

#3

(FNG) Steve Flanagan is flying N33ZZ, a 1977 Mooney M20C Ranger. Even though this is Steve’s first time flying with the Mooney Caravan, he is already serving as a Communications Officer. A former auctioneer of fine macaroni art and volunteer cheerleading/flair coach for the local girls YMCA, Steve is in his element of getting the job done.

 

 

N

LEAD

(FNG) Rick Junkin, flying N1088F, wanted to gain his beach-loving wife’s support for buying their Mooney, so he took her on a 13-hour round trip weekend from St Louis to the Gulf Coast in their then 90 kt airplane. They now fly a 1989, 190 kt Mooney M20M TLS Bravo.

#2

(FNG) Joshua Tate is flying N862HL, a 1974 Mooney M20F Executive. Joshua is a CFI for both fly helicopters and airplanes, he is also an unmanned aircraft pilot having flown combat missions in Afghanistan, and he's an instructor for AOPA's Air Safety Institute.

#3

Ned Gravel, call sign “Flanders,” is flying C-FSWR, a 1965 Mooney M20E Super 21. Flanders is a professional cat yodeler from Topeka, Kansas.  He once constructed an entire pipe organ with different cat sounds (sampled, of course).  Flanders also has a strong affinity for novelty hose bibs.

 

 

O

LEAD

James Oliphant, call sign “Pepper,” is flying N58086, a 1986 Mooney M20J 201. Pepper is one of the two pilots in the Mooney Caravan who has participated in all 21 Mooney Caravans.  Prior to becoming a Commercial Pilot, Pepper was a public and private school band director. He still directs a Wind Ensemble in the Wichita area and enjoys playing his trombone in groups and having his biggest fan, his wife Marie call sign "Cayenne," in the audience.

#2

(FNG) David Austin is flying N2165K, a 1999 Mooney M20M TLS Bravo.  David is a Detroit native where he was on the run for (3) years as the notorious Detroit Jiggler.  He has since reformed and is now a famous sculptor known for creating derrières out of hammered copper.

#3

Terry Schleisman, call sign "Top Eye," is flying N6924U, a 1964 Mooney M20E Super 21. After years with the Air Force, Top Eye, his wife Deborah call sign "Closer" and their 4 children moved from the heat of Arizona to the extreme cold of northern Alaska to provide medical eye care to the Inupiat Eskimos. After 4 years of freezing their you-know-whats off, they moved to the deep south of northern North Dakota. At least we know Mooneys fly better in the cold.

 

 

P

LEAD

Wayne Morris, call sign "Gorilla," is flying N1068A, a 1989 Mooney M20J 201. Gorilla serves as the Sponsor and Promotion Committee Chair for Mooney Caravan. When not working or flying, he enjoys outdoor sports and anything with strings, a motor, or a trigger and makes a loud noise!

#2

(FNG) Mark Ford is flying N441WS, a 1967 Mooney M20J 201 named "Raggedy Ann."  Mark is flying in with his dad, Everett and his son, Matthew, making today's landing at AirVenture a first time for (3) generations of Ford men.

#3

Ron Hawley, call sign "Moses," is flying N9724M, a 1967 Mooney M20F Executive.  As a preschooler, Moses was fascinated by airplanes. By the time he was a senior in high school in 1966, he had his private pilot's license in his wallet. Moses has owned his Mooney for (14) years and has participated in the last (9) Mooney Caravans to AirVenture.

 

 

Q

LEAD

Craig Tylski, call sign “Ski” is flying N4305H, a 1979 Mooney M20J 201. Craig flew as an interceptor pilot scrambling down ‘lost’ Air Guard pilots and decades as an experimental test pilot.  This is Ski's second time flying with the Mooney Caravan.

#2

(FNG) Dan Bass is flying N231ME, a 1979 Mooney M20K 231.  Dan considers himself the luckiest man alive after losing consciousness in his last Mooney due to CO poisoning and woke up 2 hours later in a field!

#3

(FNG) Jason Ahmanson flying N201ZB, a 1978 Mooney M20J 201, is thrilled to be experiencing AirVenture with the Mooney Caravan for the first time.  Jason flew the S-3B and P-3C in the navy as a Naval Flight Officer.

 

 

R

LEAD

James Ronnau, call sign “Sputnik,” is flying N52611, a 1988 Mooney M20J 201. Sputnik is a retired Amish flight attendant.  He enjoys travel, coloring, and drawing silhouettes of horses.

#2

(FNG) Phil Nelson is flying N1148N, a 1981 Mooney M20J 201. He's been flying since age 16 and now enjoys sharing his passion for flying with his family. His 10-year old son, Eli is flying with him today.

 

 

S

LEAD

Bucko Strehlow, call sign "Sandman," is flying N5660Q, a 1965 Mooney M20E Super 21. When not working as a Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Sandman serves as the Texas Flight Lead and as an OPS Officer for Mooney Caravan. Sandman got hooked on formation flying back in 2014 and has now logging over 100 formation hours per year as a Lead or Wingman, in addition to his regular flying. This is Sandman's 5th Mooney Caravan to AirVenture.

#2

(FNG) Eric Dey, flying N58158, a 1985 Mooney M20J 201, started flying with his dad before he was 2, earned his pilot's license after college, and now enjoys taking my son flying. Eric, a software engineer that makes cloud storage, would rather be flying in the clouds instead.

#3

Victor Pang, call sign “Vector,” is flying N5816Q, a1965 Mooney M20C Mark 21. Vector loves flying to family events and is always in search of the 'golden' $100 hamburger.

 

 

T

LEAD

Paul Steen, call sign "Rocket," flying N252AD, a 1987 Mooney M20K 252 Rocket.  Rocket serves as a Webmeister for the Mooney Caravan web page. In order to get a kitchen pass to fly in this year's Mooney Caravan, Rocket had to take his wife Alysha, and their dog Darby, on a 5400 mile, 6 states and 2 Canadian Provinces trip first. They had a blast!

#2

Shane Schmidt, call sign "Chocks," is flying N9405V, a 1969 Mooney M20E Super 21. A southpaw and a postal carrier, Chocks has mastered the skill of driving a mail truck and flying formation from the right seat.

 

 

U

LEAD

Lacee Lamphere, call sign “Rocketman,” is flying N1016U, a 1982 Mooney M20K 231. Rocketman was an extra in an experimental Elton John cross-over country music video (he was hearing lizards in the background), he plays the accordion and is petrified of floating feathers.

#2

(FNG) David Mitchell flying N231DH, a 1979 M20K 231 named "the Marooney," dabbles in metal casting when he's not in the air.

 

 

V

LEAD

Mike Walker, call sign “Rhino,” is flying N9759U, a 1981 Mooney M20K 231. Rhino and his wife are Texas cat ranchers and enjoy their yearly trip to Muncie, Indiana to see the world’s largest collection of discarded bottle caps.

#2

(FNG) Bryan Brannon, flying a 1998 Mooney M20K 252, is on his third Mooney in 15 months, not because he has left paint somewhere or on someone, but because “the grass happened to be greener” and his wife appreciates faster airplanes.

 

 

W

LEAD

Dave Piehler, call sign "Raptor,” is a founding member of the Mooney Caravan. He serves as MC Secretary and is on the 'Council of Elders.' His 1979 M20J 201, N4583H, is THE ONLY Mooney to have flown in every single Mooney Caravan!

#2




Kevin Kammer with Mooney Corporation flying N240CV, a 2015 Mooney M20V Acclaim Ultra.

·        Pilot side door 
·        Composite Canopy
·        Upgraded interior 
·        Reengineered Safety Cage
·        Garmin G1000 NXi Avionics
·      Top Speed: 242 kt and Cruise: 175 kt  

#3

Janet Denton, call sign “Snoopy,” is flying N5254T, a 1989 Mooney M20J 201. Snoopy began her piloting adventures in 2009. She describes the perfect day as involving an airport, flying an airplane, and seeing the ocean. Doing this with her husband Mike, call sign "Tumbleweed" and her pups, Gauge and Gunner, is Snoopy's idea of heaven.

 

 

TAIL

Flying Mooney Tail is Larry Brennan, call sign "Joker," flying N9210A, a 1978 Mooney M20J 201. Joker serves as the 2018 Mooney Caravan President is the Best Coast Flight Lead,  and is also on the Council of Elders. With him are his kids, Amelia, call sign "Spike" and Bo, call sign “Dude,” who have been flying to AirVenture with Joker since 2008 and are very active in the Mooney Caravan community.

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