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About Joe

From the age of 12 years old, Joe spent his free time on weekends and most of summer vacation at Capitol Drive Airport (02C) in Brookfield, WI. Doing odd jobs around the airport to get to be around airplanes, he could be found mowing the grass runway, plowing snow, fueling airplanes, or cleaning the FBO. During the abundant time spent at ‘Zero Two Charlie’ he got pretty good at scrounging airplane rides. With his routine presence, the local pilots took to calling him 'Ramp Rat.’ From this early age his passion for aviation propelled him to earning a BS-Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, and a career as a professional pilot, building homebuilt airplanes, formation flying, and racing.

As A Pilot

For over 20 years, Joe has been a pilot and certified flight instructor with 14 of those years as an airline pilot.  He has over 11,000 hours of flight time in over 90 different types of airplanes,  from the Wright Model B Flyer to the Space Ship 2 simulator. Joe also holds type ratings in the Beach 1900, Embraer 170/190 and the Airbus 320 series which he currently files for a major US Airline. With a passion for learning new types of aviation, in 2020 he earned a commercial glider rating. 


Joe enjoys sharing every facet of aviation, especially advanced and unique niche flying, with others.  With a dedicated focus on aviation safety and education, Joe has actively instructed and provided demonstration flights to hundreds of pilots and non-pilots alike. Chances are if it fits in the category of homebuilt airplanes, taildraggers, weather flying, transition training, or formation, Joe has taught it.  


He is a longtime volunteer for EAA and Vice Chairman of the AirVenture Cup, which was founded to recreate the excitement of the Bendix Trophy races of the 1930s. In this role, he helped grow participation from a dozen airplanes in 1998 to more than 75 airplanes and pilots annually. His encourages all pilots to experience the thrill of air racing.  He has also given nearly 100 rides as part of the EAA Young Eagles Program.

As An Ambassador

As A Builder

Taking 8 years and more than 4,000 man hours to build, Joe realized a long time dream of building his own airplane. The highly modified Long EZ  named “Betty.”, has been flying for 5 years now and has almost 250 hours on it. The airplane was built to incorporate advancements in the state of the art in homebuilt airplanes and with speed and efficiency in mind. For example, Betty was the first Long Ez to fly with blended winglets.


In June 2020, a new airplane project found Joe, and made him into a “repeat offender (builder).”  It is a highly modified version of a unique airplane called the Defiant. It is the fruits of 23 years of work by the original builder who passed away unexpectedly. Joe has promised to complete the airplane so the family can one day see it fly. Getting back to building and fabricating parts for a new airplane is a very welcome way for Joe to spend his free time.


As A Racer

Joe flew his rookie race season in his Lancair Legacy in 2019. He placed 6th in Sport Silver for the Ramp Rat Racing Team in the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV and was also honored with Rookie of the Year. Racing in the AirVenture Cup cross country race he took 1st place in the Sport Class. 

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