John Flippen, Lead Pilot for San Diego Salute, was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas and now resides in Bonita, CA with his wife, Mary Lou, and four kids, Paul, Hannah, Blake and Parker. They all love to fly. John served in the United States Navy from 1984-1990. He served onboard US navy Warships in the Persian Gulf as an Electronic Warfare Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class. He saw action aboard DDG-15, USS Berkeley, and FFG-3, USS Schofield. After his tour in the Navy John started working at Qualcomm INC in San Diego where he retired after 25 years through an incredible growth period in the wireless telecom industry. He started flying at Navy North Island Flying Club in 1996 and received his Private Pilot Certificate in 1997. He quickly migrated to the T-34’s at the Navy Flying club and became [...]
George Watson, a former Army Drill Sergeant and retired First Sergeant, has been flying the T-34 for more than 20 years. Has more than 3000 hours of flight time with 1500 in the Mentor. George flies for the Civil Air Patrol, and manages two of the San Diego County airports (Ramona and Fallbrook). He is past president of the San Diego Chapter Tuskegee Airmen.
Jeff is a California native and second-generation pilot who began flying as a child. He “soloed” at 16 and worked his way through college as a pilot and flight instructor. After graduation, he joined the US Air Force, serving 8 years as an instructor pilot teaching new pilots and instructors at bases in Texas. He was honored as a Top Graduate from USAF Pilot Training and Instructor Pilot Training, Instructor Pilot of the Year and Top Instrument Pilot of the Year. Re-entering civilian life, he was a flight instructor for Japan Airlines for 5 years before joining a major cargo airline. Jeff is currently a Boeing 757 Captain. In his off time he flies in airshows and events across the country in his F1 Rocket and a P-51 Mustang honoring vets and their families. Jeff has flown nearly 100 different [...]
John Knolla is Director of Product Support Engineering for LMI Aerospace-Engineering Services in San Diego. He had his first airplane ride in a Cessna 172 at the age of 3, travelling from Jefferson City, MO (KJEF) to Joplin, MO (KJLN). During this fateful flight the pilot who had been chartered to fly him, his Mother and 6-month old little brother asked if he would like to fly the plane, and his world has never been the same since. Born with a club foot, after multiple corrective surgery attempts, he had his right foot amputated at the age of 12. John qualified for a Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA) Waiver that allows him to fly aircraft without limitation and despite his disability he earned and currently holds a Commercial Pilot’s License. A long time aviation enthusiast, pilot and airshow fan, John [...]
Larry has lived in San Diego since 1971. He started flying in 1993, and is a commercial instrument rated pilot as well as a certified A&P mechanic. His T-34 was delivered to the Air Force in 1955 and served as a primary trainer at Tinker Air Force Base until 1961. Larry acquired the plane 2004 and has been flying formation since 2005.