For Immediate release – February 25, 2020 San Diego, CA – In the early 1980’s John and Martha King realized that with the magic of video technology they could teach thousands of learning pilots in their own living rooms. By packaging their weekend ground schools into a box and shipping them off they made aviation knowledge readily accessible at an unprecedented level and changed the way pilots all over the world learn. With their engaging clear, simple and fun teaching, many pilots began over the decades to view the Kings as their personal aviation mentors.
According to John, “All the recognition is wonderful, but there is a tendency for the video medium to make us more important in pilots’ minds than we would be otherwise. What’s especially nice is that flying attracts very special, achieving people. It has been a wonderful privilege to have played a role in the lives of these extraordinary people when it means so much to them.”
In the last year and a half, the Kings have experienced a cresting wave of recognition:
- In December of 2018 John and Martha were jointly presented the Distinguished Statesman of Aviation award by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). The award honors outstanding living Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.
- In May of 2019 John and Martha were jointly chosen as one of “Eight Who Made It Great—the most inspirational personalities in general aviation”—based on an online survey of AOPA members. The others named were Bob Hoover, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, Burt Rutan, Elrey Jeppesen, Paul Poberezny, and Bill Lear.
- In July of 2019 both John and Martha were jointly given the Jack J. Eggspuehler Award from the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI). This award honors individuals or organizations who have made a significant contribution to flight instructors, flight instruction or aviation education. The Jack J. Eggspuehler Award, named for the NAFI founder, is the highest honor that NAFI bestows.
- In August of 2019 John and Martha were inducted as a couple into the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) Founders and Pioneers Hall of Fame, in recognition of their life-long dedication to making aviation accessible to all.
- In September of 2019 John and Martha were jointly enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) Class of 2019. The NAHF honors individuals who have uniquely contributed to America’s rich legacy of aviation achievement, during what is described as “The Oscar Night of Aviation.” John and Martha’s joint selection as husband-and-wife was unprecedented.
John observed, “At the outset Martha and I made the decision to be equal partners in everything we would do, including being on our videos. The thing about this recognition that has been the most satisfying to us is that every one of these organizations had the courage to defy convention and recognize us as couple.”
Martha King commented “This last year or so has been remarkable for us. For most of our careers we have thought of ourselves as young kids just getting started. In the last year we have begun to fully realize that we are no longer young kids just getting started. It has meant a great deal to get so much attention from people who mean so much to us. I guess it’s a sign of old age.”
Barry Knuttila, who is CEO of King Schools and has been with John and Martha for over 17 years, noted, “While 2019 was particularly exciting and filled with amazing public recognition and the highest honor in aviation, John and Martha’s real impact on aviation has been experienced by hundreds of thousands of learning pilots on a very personal level over the past 47 years. Helping an individual pilot achieve a flying goal, and smile in the process, is their true and growing legacy.”
Barry continued, “As a result of doing good things for these learning pilots, John and Martha have been honored by many aviation organizations, and each honor has been received with appreciation, grace, humility and, of course, King-sized humor. I’m thrilled to work beside these amazing pilots and teachers whose accomplishments now stand enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.”
John and Martha continue to be involved in the strategic operations of King Schools. They are the primary instructors for the more than 100 King Schools online video courses that use the very latest in technology to provide interactive learning on-line, and off-line through the use of tablets. The Kings have no plans of slowing down.
If you desire more information about John & Martha’ enshrinement in to the National Aviation Hall of Fame on September 28, 2019 there are links to two YouTube videos below.
- Enshrinement Weekend – Showcases the whole weekend (27:40) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xaMzCShMJM
- Enshrinement Presentation – Features the video that the NAHF created and John & Martha’s speech (12:07) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U50EXiliWks