Dear Fellow Pilot,
As King Schools approaches our 50th anniversary, you may enjoy the story of how we got started. Starting business meant putting posters up in December 1974 for classes at local flight schools in San Diego. John still remembers how his contact lenses absorbed the chalk dust, requiring him to replace lenses on a regular basis. We were airplane-less due to a business and personal bankruptcy the previous year. It wasn’t long, though, before we joined the San Diego Flying Club and started flying their Debonair to the classes.
Soon we began direct mail advertising to pilots saying we would teach weekend ground school courses in the meeting rooms of a hotel, often at a Holiday Inn with a swimming pool. Pilots would bring their families into town for weekend relaxation while the pilot took their ground school course. Martha would teach Instrument and Instrument Instructor courses in one meeting room, and John would teach Private, Commercial and Flight Instructor courses in another room. We would arrive at the hotel on Friday evening and teach the classes on Saturday and Sunday with overhead projectors. The FAA would come to the hotel on Monday morning to administer the knowledge tests.
Soon we realized we had found a customer need we could fulfill profitably. We designed a lifestyle that we enjoyed very much, flying around the Western U.S., eventually in a Cessna 340, and talking to pilots about their flying. We were happy to have found something that we could do together that was fun. It became even more fun as over a decade we polished our courses and then began delivering them on video.
In the early 1980s, when home video first showed up, we began selling our courses on video throughout the U.S. and internationally. Even then we hadn’t yet considered that our business would grow to have over 50 employees, deliver course material to over a million customers, and persevere for over 50 years. We are honored and appreciative to realize that King Schools has had a positive influence on the entire aviation community, especially in the area of risk management.