letter from Terry Pearce from England
Russ. Just to say that at last I have a share of the little Grob 109B!
I'm fully licenced and checked out! I actually did a little soaring
today, not quite Arizona lift, but enough to have fun. As promised,
I've included a photo, resplendent in my Sky King Soaring shirt!! I
trust that all is well with you, best regards, Terry.
letter from FAA examiner Terry Brandt:
Whom It May Concern:
have been aware of Russell Hustead and his Sky King Soaring operation
since before the summer of 1990. I have known Russ since qualifying
with him to fly self launched gliders in March, 2001. I have examined
students he has trained for initial glider ratings and for additional
aircraft ratings in gliders.
has a national and international reputation drawing students and others
interested in gliders and Arizona from other countries and throughout
the United States.
training standards and demeanor are worthy of emulation. His base of
operations in Payson is an additional factor in many peoples choice to
train or fly with him.
is known for his emphasis on safety, knowledge of Arizona and the
Payson region. His students are completely prepared for solo flights
and for practical tests for glider ratings.
and Sky King Soaring are assets that any community and airport would
want to have represent them.
Certified Flight Instructor 623-877-2365
letter from James, a Sky King Soaring client from California:
Whom It May Concern:
am a certificated airplane pilot, visiting Payson, Arizona for the
specific purpose of taking motorglider flight instruction from Russ
Hustead, owner of Sky King Soaring, L.L.C. My wife and I drove to
Payson from our home near San Francisco, California to enjoy the
beautiful surroundings and so that I could benefit by improving my
flying skills by working with Russ, a highly regarded Certified Glider
Flight Instructor, whose reputation reaches far beyond Payson.
wife and I have very much enjoyed the hospitality we’ve encountered in
Payson. We are staying at a local motel, have eaten in local
restaurants, shopped in Payson grocery stores and have even had our car
tire repaired at a local tire shop after a nail puncture.
am particularly happy with the flight instruction I am receiving from
Russ Hustead. I was perfectly willing for Russ to take my wife, a
non-pilot, on an introductory flight, too, which she enjoyed
immensely. I am well qualified to judge flight instructors and
flying businesses, having been a long time FAA Certified Flight
Instructor as well as an Airline Transport rated pilot. It has
struck me that Sky King Soaring is a valuable asset to the Payson
community, as it draws visitors from many areas, who undoubtedly
contribute to Payson’s economy in their own ways.
I witnessed an event which could have negatively affected Payson’s
economy, were it not for Russ Hustead’s timely intervention.
While Russ and I were waiting to take off from the Payson Airport in
his motorglider another airplane was on final approach to the
runway. As the airplane neared we both noticed that its landing
gear was not extended. As it became clear that the
airplane’s pilot was about to land gear-up (it was very close to the
ground by this time), Russ immediately transmitted a warning to the
other pilot on the airport radio frequency. The airplane pilot
added power and flew another landing pattern, meanwhile thanking Russ
for the “gear save”. Had the airplane landed gear-up, it would
have resulted in an expensive accident and an airport closure by the
FAA for at least several hours. This would have had a negative
economic impact on the Payson Airport, as no other aircraft could have
landed or taken off for several hours. Not only that, I would
have had to cancel my motorglider flight lesson. Thank you, Russ!
wife and I intend to return to Payson. We hope that we’ll be able
to enjoy Sky King Soaring’s and Russ Hustead’s services again.
W. McClendon III
and Maryanne wrote on their website after they have rented Russ
2008 - Grand Canyon Area Flight - Kyle's 40th Birthday
very much enjoying his birthday gift
turned 40 in December of 2007. We spent some time to choose what to do
to make this milestone memorable. Kyle had been keen to take Maryanne
on a soaring flight – he had learned and spent a lot of time soaring in
his younger years; this is what he really wanted to do to celebrate
this milestone age! We found a local Virginia soaring club (Tidewater Soaring); two of
thier members were especially kind and took Kyle up on a couple of
flights in the local area. "One
gentleman even took Maryanne on a flight but tried to give her the full
course in an hour and I still didn’t get to take her with me" - Kyle.
We didn’t make it to the mountains, but Kyle at least got a taste of
soaring again. We wish we had found them earlier, as Kyle would
certainly have joined. Since this cost so very little, we also were
able to go skeet shooting (clay pigeon shooting) at Old Forge Sporting Clays
with a small group of friends – it was a real Virginia experience - all
the regulars there had camouflage EVERYTHING so the skeet wouldn’t see
other birthday treats
all this birthday fun was over, and we had started to think ahead to
Chrismas, and the new year, Kyle received a surprise gift from his Mom
(Carla); she had bought him a day trip in a motor glider in Arizona.
That would enable him to fly to the Grand Canyon, which neither of us
had seen but was on both our lists! After some negotiation, Kyle
confirmed he would be able to take Maryanne with him after a short
check out flight in the Diamond Xtreme Motorglider and
certification/approval for self launch by the owner, Russell Hustead of
getting aquainted with the plane - discussing routes with Russ the owner
took the check out flight on Wednesday 16th January – this involved a
few take offs and landings at Glendale airport in Phoenix. After
looking at weather, and matching our own schedule we took off for our
day of flying from Payson airport on Friday 18th January. Russ had done
a wonderful job of directing us to a great route! We started off
leaving Payson for Sedona
– a beautiful town famous for its distinctive rock formations. On route
to Sedona we passed by via Humphreys Peak (at 12643 feet, the highest
mountain in Arizona) and a field of volcanic
cones - apparently all formed from a hot spot (still active)
of a hot spot beneath Arizona
is a really beautiful town/area - famous for its rock formations and
artist community. We had been lucky enough to spend some time there
before and enjoy the rocks at sunset. Seeing it from the air made it
even more special for us.
there we flew to the Grand Canyon airport (rest stop!) and then through
the area known as the Zuni Corridor (air traffic corridor) of the Grand
Canyon. This follows the path of the Colorado River, and also parts of
the Little Colorado River. The scenery was absolutely amazing! The
bubble canopy of the plane, gave the sensation of sitting on top of the
motorglider and with and the slightly nose down position gave an
unhindered view of the surroundings. With the great views and the
freedom to alter our flight path to look at things that interest us (as
often as we wanted) - we can't imagine a better way to see this area -
it was wonderful. Kyle said that in over 12,000 hours of flying, it’s
the prettiest scenery he has ever flown over. We continued north of the
Canyon to Marble Canyon and onto Lake Powell
– an intricate network of lakes set in similar geological cliffs and
canyons – stunning again! For those of you that think of the Grand
Canyon as being HOT - take a good look at these pictures - you will see
snow in some of them - it was around 4 degrees C on the day of the
trip; luckily the plane had heating.
Canyon, Marble Canyon, Lake Powell and Page airport - great scenes from
the Grand Canyon area
turned off the engine, and soared for a while – and landed at Page
airport for refueling and a great Lunch at the local Ranch House Grill
surrounded by Native American artwork, old cowboy artifacts and great
scenic Arizona photographs . We were reluctant to leave Page, knowing
the rest of the flight was the return journey – but Russ had helped us
with a great route that we knew would take us over some quite different
return route was over very remote terrain without the altitude
restrictions of the parks, we were able to fly much lower and really
get into the terrain and enjoyed sights such as the painted desert, Meteor Crater
(around 4000 feet diameter, formed when a metor of around 50m hit the
earth about 50,000 years ago!), wide open expanses, sand dunes, cliffs,
drop offs, and more mini-canyons – WOW! The primary feeling of the
return journey was that of the remoteness of the area; there are vast
expanses of nothing - not something we are exposed to often in the USA
we see day-to-day.
eventually arrived back at Payson (again with the engine off after some
soaring) and returned the plane to Russ with many thanks. We had taken
over 500 pictures with the camera – and both had huge grins on our
faces – what a wonderful gift. If you want to see ALL those photographs
- check out the FULL
Album on Snapfish - over 500 photos or Highlights
Only (32 photos) on Snapfish
from the return journey - remote and vast
Thanks Mom (Carla) for a
had not realized until after the flight, that this was the first time
Russ had let anyone take his beautiful plane away for a whole day
before. He must have been terribly nervous but did not show it at all
before we set off for the day.. there were a few messages left on our
cell phone checking on our progress that we never received until the
letter from Jens, a former (German) student, who made his Glider
PPL with Russ:
you very much for your warm welcome. I felt very comfortable staying
with you and enjoyed flying and gliding every day in beautiful Payson,
Arizona and California.
to you Russ, my dream of flying came true last year. This year I could
enjoy a very pleasant trip from Payson to Los
in your motorglider with you. It was quite thrilling flying over the
desert for a few hours and being side to side with F-16 fighters who
were making their exercises. When flying over Los Angels it gave me an
impression how big this city is. For me as a German it was an
extraordinary experience to see all the wide of this country – the best
way to see this is 10.000 feet high in the air in a silent glider.
I have told my wife about flying with you she can’t wait to do some
soaring and flight training in your motorglider with you. We are
already planning to come back next year!
to bee soon in Payson again!
letter from Lora Korman - her husband had a motorglider ride with Russ:
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 6:46 AM
To: Russell Hustead
Subject: Thank you so much!
Russ and Cynthia,
wanted to write and thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving
Will the experience of a lifetime this past Sunday. I knew that
he would have a wonderful time soaring with you, Russ, and
just as I had suspected, it was the highlight of the trip for
him. He hasn't stopped talking about it!!!
are both such wonderful people and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you
both. I hope that the next time we see you, you'll allow us to
take you to lunch or dinner.
let us know if there is anything that we can do to help market
your business. We are telling everyone we know about SkyKing and
I will be writing a review on the TripAdvisor site (unless you prefer
that I not do so.) I'm sure that Will told you, but feel
free to add us to your list of references should potential
clients request one.
a wonderful day.
Russ Hustead, CFIG, Owner