It was May 16th, 2000 when my father took me to the Taunton Airport where I signed up for my first lesson, before telling mom… Fast forward to today, I’m a flight instructor and my parents are still supportive of my flying, for which I am very thankful!
Anyways, in 2002 at the age of 14, I switched flight schools to KING Aviation-Mansfield. Since, the Mansfield Airport & KING Aviation-Mansfield have been major parts of my life.
Soon I will be beginning a new chapter of my life, joining the staff of the New Bedford Regional Airport (KEWB) in New Bedford, MA as the assistant airport manager. I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to join the outstanding team at KEWB and I look forward to hitting the ground running there very soon! KEWB is a great airport, with a bright future, one I’m excited about being a part of. I’ll talk more about this more soon, this post is more about reflecting on my time at 1B9…
To answer a question I have received from numerous people, I WILL continue ReviewBeforeFlight with as much great and insightful content as possible!
Many of you readers have come to know me as MTElia1B9, 1B9 of course representing my home-airport identifier. For the past eight plus years I have been lucky enough to work for KING Aviation-Mansfield in a variety of roles from line representative to flight instructor, chief ground instructor to operations manager and most recently as the assistant airport manager.
During this time I have been lucky enough to work with a lot of great people and had the opportunity to get to know so many more that were customers or visitors of the airport & KING. I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to a few people, unfortunately there are so many I’d like to mention but I don’t have the time to write that much- I’m literally in the process of moving after all!
Dave & Kelley Dinneen are the first two that I’d like to thank. They have been my aviation-parents, if you will, since very early in my life as a teenager taking flight lessons. I have learned a great deal from them about airports and life.
Jim Quinn has been a great friend and teaching mentor to me over the years. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to teach 10 private pilot ground schools courses alongside Jim. Early in my teaching he was a big influence on my teaching style.
Jeremy Hanson was one of my best friends during my early years working at KING. Jeremy knew everything there was to know about 1B9 and his sharing all of the knowledge with me is a major reason I was able to be so successful over the years at 1B9.
Peter Ofner has been a great friend. Peter was an early student on mine. He always trusted in his young instructor, for which I was thankful! After he earned his wings, he purchased a share of an airplane and we continue (and hopefully will continue to) fly together regularly for breakfast, lunch, dinner or for some other reason…
Again, as I said, there are so many people who I’d like to thank for so many reasons, but I simply don’t have the time to list them all. You know who you are, so thank you to all of you that I had the pleasure of knowing during my many years at 1B9!
As I reflect on my years at 1B9 a few moments stand out, of course there are again so many that listing each would take much longer than I have… But here are a few of the highlights from my time at the Mansfield Airport…
On my 16th birthday I made my first solo flight, funny that I still have that flight bag somewhere. My flight instructor at the time, Phil Parker did so much and helped make my 16th birthday solo a reality.
During the summer of 2006, Jimmy Buffett flew his Cessna Caravan to 1B9 before his local concerts, as a big Jimmy Buffett fan and a floatplane enthusiast, I really enjoyed his one…
March 2007, Jeremy & I flew in formation for some quick pictures on the way to drop off a Skyhawk at the radio shop in Worcester, MA…
During 2008, 1B9 was the finish line to the Women’s Air Race Classic. The highlight of the event for me was that on one of the set up days during the two-week lead up, airshow pilot Sean Tucker landed at 1B9. He was doing a photo shoot for an upcoming air show and one of the photographers became airsick so Sean and his crew landed at 1B9. Sean and I drank Tab sodas while he shared some of his cool experiences!
April 2012, I arranged for the KING Aviation-Mansfield “Learn to Fly” ground school to have a meet & greet with Red Bull Air Race pilot Michael Goulian.
July 2012, photographer Michelle Amara and I won the nationwide UGG photo challenge with the picture we called, “Where to go?”
On July 31, 2013 I had the great opportunity to provide a flight lesson & aerial tour of the Mansfield Airport and local area to Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey. He did a great job at the controls of an aircraft for the first time!
My friends while I was in college at Bridgewater State used to refer to 1B9 as Matt’s-Field Airport since I spent so much time at 1B9. I truly have grown up here, but I won’t be too far away so I WILL visit regularly!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9