About Me

Who give a crap about me?!  Why are you reading this page?  As long as you’re here…

Hi, I’m Emmet.

I grew up around Visalia in the Central Valley of CA.  Thats not entirely true – I lived in a town 25 mi East of there called Woodlake, CA.  That’s not actually true either.   I am a hick, and I grew up on a small horse, cattle and citrus ranch 5 miles out of town.

I generally was dirty as a kid.  I mean literally dirty – playing outside, rain or shine, blowing stuff up, riding motorcycles/3 wheelers (‘member those? They’ll kill you evidently), shooting stuff, fishing, skiing, getting in rock fights.  Spent a lot of time in the Sierras either at our little cabin or on horse back in the hi-Sierra’s.  I had a great childhood and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Maybe a P-51 and the money to operate it, but thats about it.

My family did not fly, except evidently my grandma (moms) tooks some lessons in an old bi-plane once.  But, my brother and I were bit by the flying bug early.  Not the normal boyhood preoccupation with planes – I mean full blown infatuation.  I blame it on Jacque Peterson and Jeff Davis – two pilots that had a cabin by us.  They always had some sort of little toy gliders or R/C gliders that was just like magic as a little kid.  Jeff gave us rides in this beautiful Yellow SNJ T-6 and J3.  I remember my barrel roll in that T-6 like it was yesterday.  I could barely even see out of the cockpit.

My brother was hopeless.  His little baby book said he wanted to be a jet pilot form like 1st grade.  He made it.  After getting his commission in the Marine Corp upon graduating from San Diego State, he went on to fly Harriers based in Yuma, AZ.  He still doesn’t have a real job – he’s a Southwest Airline pilot.

What did I do?  Broke my neck diving into a river on HS Senior ditch day.  That was stupid.  I was paralyzed from the chest down, retaining movement of my arms and some hand strength – technically an “Incomplete C6 Quadraplegic”.  Well I got very, very lucky, and had some amazing support of family, friends and health professionals – once my spinal swelling went down, and some hard work during about 2 month in hospital and rehab, I walked out.  Well actually I limped out.  I have some permanent motor impairment on my right side including a limp and a weak right hand.  But hey – no wheel chair.

I went to Jr. College locally, then in San Luis Obispo, before transferring into Cal Poly as a Biology/Pre-Med major.  It was during my Sr. year, having always maintained a deep interest in aircraft, that my brother started primary flight training.  I had also just started ground school at Cal Poly as they offered it to fulfill and elective.  Well, as part of the class a local flight school gave a special deal on an introductory flight lesson.  Once I actually flew the plane, it was over.  I was lucky enough that my parents paid for my school, but I had always worked.  I spent my Senior year working more than playing with my friends, and getting my pilots license (essentially along with my brother in Corpus Christi, TX in his T-34C).  On June 24th, 1994 – I was officially dubbed a “Private Pilot” – just after graduating with a BS in Biological Sciences.

I got a job for a biotech company in the LA area, and immediately started looking for what to fly next.   I really wanted to do aerobatics, so started training with a great outfit in Long Beach called Hart Air JG 54.  Did a 15hr course to essentially equip you for Sportsman level aerobatics in a RobinSport 216.  Man what a fun time.  Spent the next several years doing lots of aerobatics, flying a mish-mash or planes – a Great Lakes, some Pitts S2B time, about 50hrs in a Zlin 242, Grob 115, and the obligatory spam cans – C172’s, Cherokees, Archers, Diamond/Katana’s, etc.

As my career became more demanding, and I met my wife, the flying tapered off.  I had been building a Europa XS Monowheel kit, as I had always dreamed about building a plane.  That also tapered off.  I sold the kit about 75% completed as we bought a house, moved, and were going to start a family.  Flying was few and far between in that chapter of my life, but a very happy chapter.

By 2006, I had become head of Research and Development for my company, which made chemical analysis technologies for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.  A great company, it presented me with the opportunity to take over as President of its subsidiary division outside of Sacramento in N. CA.  My wife being from that area, and it being closer to home (and more like home) we jumped at the chance.

Aircraft ownership was really a pipe dream in So. CA.  I was building a Europa because it was a practical trailerable aircraft – hangars were just prohibitive except for the really wealthy – at least in the area I lived.

Not so in N. CA.  While still not cheap, ownership+cost of hangar became possible.   I happened to see a Rans S-7 landing at the local airport one day.  That, and meeting a guy named Fred Weaver, started my rapid slide into owning my own plane.

So a beautiful wife, two beautiful daughters, a dog, a mortgage, and an airplane.  Life is good.  Expensive, but good.

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5 responses

28 04 2011
Don

Congratulations, great life, well prioritized. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

13 11 2011
Lonnie

Emmet thats cool story. The S7’s are an awesome plane Im just waiting on sun to come up now to go fly this moring.

5 01 2013
Jeremy Myers

Enjoyed the writing! Found your site from Backcountry Pilot. You’re in my RSS feed now. I am a student pilot right now and I have a dream of changing my career to an aviation type. I started a blog about the journey and I am eating up all I can about flying…I came by the flying bug early, but chance prevented me until now. http://wildernesspilotdreams.blog.com

19 10 2015
Greg

I like that story.

19 10 2015
Greg

Can you comment more on the three wheelers? I originally came here in search for S7 wing loading data but now kinda just want to think about Honda all terrain vehicles.

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