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April 12 - 15, 2018
Destin, FL

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Aerostar Owners Association Contact Information

Address: 2608 W Kenosha, #704, Broken Arrow, OK 74012

Phone: 918-258-2346

Fax: 918-258-2346



Aerostar Owners Association Staff

Ken and Burd
Ken Bacon, Executive Director – After 10 years of serving as an AOA Board Member and AOA President 2000-2001, in 2007 Ken became the AOA Executive Director. Ken has been a Pilot since 1980 and purchased an Aerostar in 1990. He had only 20 hours of multi-engine time when he purchased his 1977 Aerostar 601P.

After Piper Aerostar Initial Training he flew with an Aerostar Pilot for fifty (50) hours to gain experience in the Aerostar. Ken feels the fifty hours was very valuable for maintenance and safety purposes.

In 1992 Ken got his Instrument rating in his Aerostar. He flew his Aerostar IFR for ten years until his flying declined to 50 hours a year. In 2005 Ken received his Citation C-500 Type Rating and flew a Citation II for 500 hours in the next three years. In addition to Citation II he also has 140 hours right seat in Citation XLS.

Ken has over 4000 hours total time with a Commercial pilot license in both single and multi engine aircraft with 2500 hours in Aerostars. To stay proficient with the Aerostar Maintenance Ken currently works for a maintenance facility who maintains several Aerostars in the Oklahoma area.

Ken feels to help other owners with their Aerostar flying and maintenance issues you need to work with the bird on a daily basis.

Burdella Bacon, Membership Support and Log Editor - When Ken Bacon became the Executive Director of AOA, much to her surprise Burdella (Ken's wife) got a new job too!  She manages the membership, edits the AOA Log, plans AOA conventions/meetings, monitors the AOA web site and handles product sales.  In addition to AOA duties Burdella is a Registered Nurse.  She has also been a computer programmer and along with Ken owned and operated computer hardware/software companies.  Since 1990 she has ridden right seat in a 601P.  Shortly after the aerostar was purchased, Burdella took the Piper Factory Flying Companion Course in Vero Beach, FL. When she is not begging people for articles for the AOA Log Burdella enjoys her grandchildren, traveling and playing bridge.


Aerostar Owners Association Officers and Board

Thomas Bienz

Thomas Bienz, Secretary - Thomas is an Orthopaedic Surgeon/Partner in Premier Bone and Joint Centers, a single-specialty medical practice based in Laramie, Wyoming.   Aviation plays a very large role in his life, both at work and during his free time.  His medical practice is rather unusual in that the physicians travel to their clinics across the remote stretches of Wyoming using 4 Beechcraft King Air C-90A’s.  Dr. Bienz is the managing partner in charge of the Aviation Department.  He also frequently uses his Aerostar 601-P/700 to access clinics across the state.  When not flying for business, he enjoys exploring the backcountry regions of Wyoming, Utah and Idaho flying his Aviat Husky.   He is also an avid skier and cyclist.   

Thomas shares his life with Karen, his wife, and his three children Sierra, Celeste, and Bryce.  Also at the house are two German Shepherds and four horses, along with a variable number of barn cats.   He has been flying since 2001 and has owned an Aerostar since 2006 (first a straight 601-P and later a 700 conversion).   Excluding the time in the King Airs, he flies about 250 hours per year.  

Bob Bliss

Bob Bliss, Treasurer - Bob started flying in 1986. He was on his last solo cross country when a tower controller announced the infamous Bill Buckner thru-the-legs error in Game 6 of the World Series.

After building time in a Grumman Tiger and then Grumman Cougar, Bob purchased an Aerostar 600 in 1993. After 200 hours, it was time to add pressurization and weather capability. The 600 was traded for a 700 in 1995. It's been 1,600 great (although expensive) hours, bringing total hours to over 2,500.

Bob flies regularly to Florida with his wife and two teenage boys. They have traveled from their home in New York City to Canada, the Bahamas, and throughout the eastern half of the US. Special trips were to the Badlands of North Dakota for a dinosaur dig (buzzing Mount Rushmore), as well as out to El Paso and then the AOA Convention in Santa Fe.

When Bob isn't flying, he's managing a small hedge Fund in New York City, hanging with Laurie and the boys, or swimming competitively.

Joel Champlin

Joel Champlin, President - Joel Champlin owns and manages a small oil and gas exploration company in Enid, Oklahoma.  He and his wife Kelly have 4 boys and 4 daughters-in-law plus 3 grandchildren. 

Joel owns the 601P (N88CX) his father bought from Ted Smith in 1976.  He has over 2000 hours in Aerostars and 2900 hours total, flying for both business and personal use.  He is an ATP and has a seaplane rating. His hobbies include sailing, fly-fishing, snow skiing, hiking and hunting. 

Gary Evans 
Gary Evans - Gary L. Evans is an attorney from Texas. He is an Airline Transport Pilot with over 12,900 hours of flight experience, over 9,500 hours of turbojet experience, a Certified Flight Instructor - Multi-Engine Instrument and Ground Instructor Advanced Instruments. His flight training includes the American Airlines Flight Academy, United Airlines Cockpit Resource Management School, and FlightSafety International. He is type rated in the Cessna Citation 500/650, Lear Jet and Boeing 737, and owns and operates the firm's Aero Commander 500S ("Shrike") and Piper Aerostar 700P aircraft.
Michael Grimme 
Michael Grimme' - CEO/Founder of AMC Liquidators in Fort Lauderdale Florida. AMC is a furniture recycler focusing on high end preowned hotel and office furniture. Sales are made locally at the retail level and in volume nationally and internationally with sales to 51 countries to date.

His Aerostar is used on a weekly basis for both business and pleasure typically around the SE United States and Bahamas.

Mike also flies as a PIC contract pilot on Cirrus aircraft, Pilatus PC 12's and SIC on a Citation II.

He received his private pilots license in 1991 at Biggin Hill Airport in England while on overseas assignment trading oil for an international trading company.

2700+ hours total time; ATP - Single and Multi Engine; CFI, CFII, MEI; Type ratings- CE 500 and G1159

Mike has owned a Cessna 210, Cessna 421C, Pilatus PC 12 and purchased a Piper Aerostar 700P in 2015.

Besides flying, his hobbies are skiing from his second home in Park City, Utah and competitive rowing in South Florida.

Mike has been married for over 30 years to his wife Pamela,and has three daughters, Ashley, Chelsea and Amanda.
Karl Hutter

Karl Hutter, Vice President - A third generation Aerostar owner and past AOA President, Karl has been flying Aerostars for as long as he can remember. His father was introduced to Aerostars by his father-in-law, Karl's grandfather, who was a founding member of the AOA. Karl took his multi-engine check ride in the family 601P, and before he knew it, owned a 600 model and was hosting the 2006 Reno Convention!

Karl currently has 2,600 hours between the Cessna 182, Citation 525, and Aerostars, but over 1,200 of them have been spent flying his 1976 Aerostar 600, both in support of his family business, Click Bond, a hardware designer and supplier to the major aerospace OEMs, and for family fun with his wife Jen and daughter Hannah. His Aerostar has carried them faithfully on adventures to Baja, Mexico and Canada, an Aerostar group trip to Alaska, and even to the dusty fun of the Burning Man festival.

Walter Kahn

Walter Kahn - Walter is an ophthalmologist from Rumson NJ who has 7800 hours PIC starting with a Comanche 250, Twin Comanche, and progressing to an Aerostar 600A in 1986. In the past few years he has taken aerobatic training in the L-39 and the T-33.

Most of his flying has been with his children and his wife Susan who has soloed. Some of his family flights have been to Alaska, Labrador, Artic Ocean in northern Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.

He has also flown his Aerostar to some of his volunteer missions with Project Orbis teaching modern eye surgery in developing countries.

Recently he has received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the FAA.

Richard Schmidt

Richard Schmidt, MD - Born 12 March, 1942 at Mackinac County Airport, St Ignace in the part of Northern Michigan know as the UP or Upper Peninsula. My father managed the airport and operated a flight school and maintenance facility. I was born at the airport because Mom says the snow was too deep to get out to the hospital. However, the doctor and his nurse waded through the snow from the highway to get to the house in time for my delivery.

Mom ran the Airport Restaurant, where she also made school lunches for the local school. She tells the story that whenever I was underfoot as a toddler she would shoo me out of the house to the airfield and Dad would put me in the luggage compartment (which was inside the cabin) of a Taylorcraft while he was giving flight lessons.

I soloed in Dad's Aeronica Champ at age 16 as did my two brothers, Skip and Paul. Both my brothers are now sailors while I now hold private, commercial with multi engine, single engine, land and sea licenses and an instrument rating.

After graduating from Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Florida in 1960, I worked for three years as a Merchant Marine sailor saving money for college.

I graduated from Florida State University in 1967 and the University of Florida School of Medicine in 1971. My studies included a year in Germany working in a factory, studying German at Albert Ludwigs University in Frieberg and living with a German family. Also I spent 10 weeks in Yugoslavia studying the public health system during Medical School.

I practiced in the specialty of Emergency Medicine until retirement in 2005. This included a stint as Chief of Emergency Medicine at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida and practicing overseas with Saudi Aramco from 1990 to 2002.

The first aircraft I owned was a Cessna 210, purchased new in 1979. I added a J-3 Cub in 1987. I currently own the 601P/700 Aerostar and a 1941 Stearman. The J-3 Cub is now one of many restoration projects. I also own a "workhorse" Cessna 172-RG.

I reside at the Buckingham Army Air Corp Field (built as an artillery training center during WWII) in an Airport Community with my wife Peggy.


Charles Southall - Charlie currently serves as a consultant to his family owned business in Virginia. Since his retirement in 2007, his two sons and a cousin have managed the day-to-day operations of the business. He primarily uses the Aerostar to fly back and forth from his home in Naples, Florida to Virginia. He has been a member of AOA since 2011. In addition to flying and maintaining his planes, he enjoys outdoor sports to include boating and golf.

Charlie began flying in January 1974 and bought his first plane, a Cherokee 180 in July 1974. By the end of 1976, he had earned his instrument, commercial and multi engine ratings. Charlie has in excess of 3,000 hours total time; over 2,300 multi-engine and over 700 in the Aerostar.

Charlie had decided early in his flying career that he wanted to one day own an Aerostar, as he was attracted to its sexy, sleek style, speed and performance. Upon retirement, he purchased in 2007 the 1977 Aerostar 601P/700 he now flies, in addition, to a Piper Seneca II he also owns.