Merrill McPeak followed his initial Air Force F-104 and F-100 flying assignments as a member …
Chuck’s aviation career is the result of a life-long interest in aviation, which was made stronger as his father – an Air Force pilot in three wars – took him to countless air shows where he watched the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels perform. This led to enrollment in USAF ROTC at the Citadel and a subsequent pilot slot. He brought the discipline he learned at the Citadel into his Air Force flight training and graduated near the top of his class.
As a result of his performance in Undergraduate Pilot Training, he was selected by the Air Training Command as an Air Force instructor pilot. He excelled in this role and was offered a position as a career trainer, which he gladly accepted. Chuck spent the next 24 years educating and training pilots, serving in various capacities including Standardization/Evaluation Chief Spin Pilot, Squadron Commander, Air Operations Inspector and Director of Operations/Training for the Civil Air Patrol. Throughout his career, he helped Air Force pilots improve their skills. Chuck retired from the Air Force in 2000 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
After military retirement, he turned his attention to general aviation (GA) where he found a huge discrepancy between the training and proficiency the Air Force offered and what was present in GA. This began his quest to bring GA training closer to the level offered by the military and the airlines through improved standardization and proficiency training. Since 2000, he has maintained this focus on providing quality GA flight instruction.
Chuck has influence well beyond the borders of the United States. As a Platinum Cirrus Instructor Pilot, he helps with ground and flight training internationally through the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association Foundation’s Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program. As a result of these efforts, owners and renters enhance their knowledge, proficiency, and safety in technologically advanced aircraft, making them more professional pilots.
As co-founder and Chief Instructor of Independence Aviation (IA), Chuck helped craft a unique and effective environment that emphasizes high-quality training in technologically advance aircraft and which fosters proficiency, safety, and fun in aviation. Since 2007, he helped grow the business from three instructors and two airplanes to more than 18 instructors and 13 aircraft with a strong base of loyal clientele. Chuck was named Chief Instructor Emeritus in acknowledgement of his many outstanding accomplishments as Chief Instructor at IA and was recently named 2017 National CFI Of The Year .
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