SKY KING SOARING ™
from Stephen Ryan,
I recently had the pleasure of flying with and meeting Russ Hustead, the owner and operator of Sky King Soaring in Payson, AZ. Payson is a nice town about 90 min outside of Phoenix, AZ. The airport and the town of Payson were friendly and very inviting. The real story is the outstanding experience of making a new friend and flying with a great pilot while adding on a self-launch glider endorsement in the Diamond HK-36 motor glider. When you are flying with Russ the first thing that you are going to notice is that you are having fun (a lot of fun) as you accomplish your training. Russ is highly recommended and I can see why. He is a mentor first and foremost. His professional knowledge and capabilities are second to none and he is focused on ensuring that you are equipped to enjoy all of your soaring experiences during your training at Sky King and well beyond. After 43 years of flying a variety of airplanes from light aircraft to supersonic jet fighters and airliners, it is always a privilege to fly with a professional aviator the caliber of Russ Hustead. Thank You Russ!
A letter from Terry Pearce from England:
Hi 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.
A letter from
FAA examiner Terry Brandt:
To Whom It May Concern:
I 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.
He has a national and international reputation drawing students and others interested in gliders and Arizona from other countries and throughout the United States.
His 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.
He 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.
Russ and Sky King Soaring are assets that any community and airport would want to have represent them.
Master Certified Flight Instructor 623-877-2365
June 11, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
I 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.
My 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.
I 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.
Today 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!
My 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.
James W. McClendon III
January 2008 - Grand Canyon Area Flight - Kyle's 40th Birthday
A letter from Jens, a former (German) student, who made his Glider PPL with Russ:
Thank you very
much for your warm welcome. I felt
very comfortable staying with you and
enjoyed flying and gliding every day
Thanks to you
Russ, my dream of flying came true
last year. This year I could enjoy a
very pleasant trip from Payson to
After 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!
Hope to bee soon in Payson again!
A letter from Lora Korman - her husband had a motorglider ride with Russ:
From: Lora Korman
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 6:46 AM
To: Russell Hustead
Subject: Thank you so much!
Dear Russ and Cynthia,
I 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!!!
You 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.
Please 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.
Have a wonderful day.
Reservations: (602) 622-2257
Russ Hustead, CFIG, Owner