Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jon Held


x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Jon Held doing a roll from the backseat of a Grob.
x
Jon Held was born and raised in San Diego, near the ocean. He was introduced to glider flying at the age of ten when he attended a glider meet at Torrey Pines Glider Port, just north of La Jolla, California. He has worked as an instructor for Sundance Aviation in Moriarty, New Mexico.
x
Presently he is working parttime giving glider rides at Warner Springs Glider Port in California. He also has a photography business with his girlfriend, Jenna Close. x
x
How did you get involved in flying?x
x
When I was about ten I attended a glider meet at Torrey Pines Glider Port just north of La Jolla, CA. I remember the thrill of watching the winch launches. x
x
I did not fly until I moved to Boulder Colorado and in 1986. A friend gave me a gift certificate for a glider flight over the mountains there. It was great! x
x
Then for the next four years I would watch these gliders silently drift over my house. But they weren't exactly silent. Some of them would emit this etherial moan. Finally the call was too great and I went out to the airport and began taking lessons. x
x
Rick Kohler was my instructor.x
x
Does anyone else in your family fly?
x
Flight is not a family trait. Though my father was a competitive javelin thrower. x
x
Do you fly both power planes and sailplanes? If so, which did you fly first?x
x
Now that I think of it, I did take a ride in a Cessna low wing with my best friend Clark when I was fourteen. So powered flight was first. His dad flew us from Montgomery Field in San Diego to San Jose. And Clark and I spent many hours "flying" in planes we built from cardboard boxes. x
x
Gliding ultimately proved to be a more captivating experience for me. Clark went on to become an airline pilot. I did get a Sea Plane rating in 2006 in Seattle. I have about 1 hour solo in a floatplane. I do not have a license for a plane with wheels. x
x
What made you decide to teach flying?x
x
As my girlfriend and I were driving to Seattle, where she was to attend Photography school, I suddenly announced that I wanted to fly gliders for a living. We had just barely moved into our apartment when I took off back to Colorado to fly as a commercial pilot for Val-Air in Durango for the summer. x
x
It was such terribly good fun that I chose to fly for another summer. But I had made the decision too late and Val-Air had already hired all the pilots it needed for that summer. x
x
I recalled that Rick Kohler once said that If I had my instructors rating he would hire me. I got my rating in Vermont at Sugarbush Soaring while we were visiting my girlfriends parents. Rick hired me the next week.x
x
So, in essence, it was by default that I got my instructors rating, but it was a completely natural thing. I had been teaching juggling for all my life.x
x
What do you like about teaching?
x
There is much frustration and satisfaction in teaching. Moments of realization, epiphany, joy, stubbornness, and terror. I like all those things. And I like the student-teacher relationship. Anyone who gets in my airplane has to trust and respect me or they wouldn't be there.
x
x
What don't you like about teaching? x
x
The only thing I don't like about teaching is when I think I have personally failed a student in some way.
x
x
What is your most memorable flight?
x
The number one most memorable flight was on a strong wave day, meaning there were severe conditions and strong winds. I did not allow enough spare altitude as I came back to the field. I was entirely too low. My butt was spared by an unexpected area of strong lift, giving me the requisite altitude to land safely. I won't ever forget that. I was unprepared to take the necessary emergency action in the situation I was in. Meaning I was not prepared to make an unusual pattern or a landout. x
x
In Durango I gave a ride to an 86 year old woman who had never before been in any kind of plane. This was her first flight experience. By the end of the hour she was flying the plane by herself. x
x
In Moriarty I had a Bald Eagle come and fly a circle with me just a few feet above the wing. It was inside of my wingspan, less than 10 feet away.
x
In Boulder I was at 16,000 feet and I saw a horizontal tornado. It looked exactly like a waterspout, about 400-500 feet long and about 30 feet in diameter. It was the rotor from a standing wave downwind of the Rocky Mountains..
x
What did you do before you became a flight instructor?
x
I have been a performing juggler for all of my employed career. I started out on the streets of Boulder, Colorado passing the hat and juggling torches and machetes and the like. Eventually I toured the world with a group known as Airjazz. We did lots of international arts festivals, international television and we were on the Tonight Showin 1984.
x
How does your past profession compare to your new profession?x
x
They both involve precision motor skills, and although it might seem dangerous to juggle torches, flight has a greater potential for disaster. x
x
Instructing juggling is easier because we don’t have to teach all the safety issues. When you’re learning to juggle you can just go for it without consequences.
x
>I
In addition to flight instruction you also have a business with your girlfriend Jenna. What kind of business is it? x
x
We have started a commercial photography enterprise. We specialize in corporate and industrial photography with a focus on alternative energy. This is a new but growing market, and something of a personal interest. And wind turbine blades are just like giant glider wings. x
x
P2 Photography
Jon Held and Jenna Close

1 comment:

Jonathan Price said...

You have really perfected this approach to interviews, and you are getting really interesting material.

Best,

Jonathan