Mark is working today
Hours: 6am - 4pm
Mark Thompson | Flight Instructor / Consultant
Certificates & Ratings Held: CFI, CFII
As a professional pilot, my career path has been unconventional. But as someone who enjoys drilling through the factors and details that surround an issue, developing a unique and viable solution and putting that plan into action, it has made perfect sense.
Aviation consulting and flight instruction encompass those challenges for me. On an individual basis, I enjoy understanding a student's motivation for learning to fly or earning advanced certificates. This dedication leads to discovering their strengths and weaknesses and working with them to develop a plan for achieving their ultimate goal.
At an organizational level, my work with individual students feeds a neverending quest to identify ways to improve the delivery of flight training. After identifying possible improvements, I enjoy consulting with management to help put those ideas into action.
Flying is my passion, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to share that passion with others. A natural extension of this passion for me is consulting with a flight school to help shift the flight training paradigm by leveraging advances in technology.
My first taste of flying came at a young age, when I flew from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Victoria, BC to see my grandparents. Getting sucked back in the seat as we hurtled down the runway, was captivating. And then, just a few short hours later, getting to see my family inspired me to begin flight training as soon as possible.
In fact, I could hardly wait to get my driver's license, so I could drive myself to the airport near Gimli, Manitoba (Yes, home of the famous Gimli Glider. An Air Canada Boeing 767 that ran out of fuel halfway to their destination shortly after the country switched to the metric system!) where I earned my private pilot certificate just prior to graduating high school.
After high school, I then went to university for a couple of years in Winnipeg, but never found anything that grabbed me as much as flying. After a couple of years as an apprentice aircraft mechanic for a fly-in fishing lodge, I looked just down the road and across the border at the University of North Dakota (UND) Aviation Program. Once there, I finally felt at home immersed in aviation. At UND, I completed my BBA in Aviation Management and MS in Aviation, while earning my FAA certificates up through Commercial AMEL/ASEL and Instrument Airplane and Certificated Flight Instructor Airplane and Instrument Airplane.
After I graduated I worked as a lead flight instructor at UND for their extension programs where I was very fortunate to be able to work as part of the Cirrus factory training program. Delivering brand new aircraft to their owners was very professionally and personally rewarding.
Less than a year after I started that role, Naverus, Inc (acquired by GE Aviation in 2009) came to UND to hire technical pilots to help with the development and deployment of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures around the world. This was not an opportunity to be missed, and I was fortunate enough to be selected and moved to Seattle to begin work. Over the next eight years, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the pioneers in the PBN space. I was then able to share the knowledge I had gained with some exceptionally forward thinking pilots, air traffic controllers, and regulators around the world to expand and advance the concept.
In my spare time I added an Aircraft Single Engine Sea rating and a Commercial Glider to my certificates. During that time, I also kept my Flight Instructor certificate current
It has been a journey of discovery, learning from those who have overcome immeasurable obstacles, developing a first principles mindset and not being encumbered by the way things have always been done. These have been the cornerstones of my career, and I look forward to continuing to approach aviation issues with a fresh, creative, and operational perspective in my role as an Aviation Education Consultant and Flight Instructor at Rainier Flight Service.