keithbruno.com

Flying Interests

Pilot Experience

Ever since I can remember I've always been interested in aviation and anything related to flying.

My first toys were always airplane or avation related. From toys to line controlled gas-powered to remote control airplanes, aviation and flying have always been part of my life and my one true passion. My pre-teen to my mid-thirties were full of model and remote controlled aircraft.

Somewhere in the mid 1990's I decided that I had enough of being on the ground and watching my creations fly past me and I decided to learn how to fly for real. A friend of mine and I decided to take lessons at the Seabring airport and in a couple of months we both earned our Ultralight Pilot's licenses. The aircraft that we learned to fly in (a Drifter MU 582) was little different than your average training aircraft.

After completing the pilot course I purchased an ASAP Chinook Plus 2 aircraft kit. The kit, which came in 3 large boxes, and consisted of what appeared to be a million parts, took two years to assemble on my back porch. I did everything from painting, assembly, fabric covering, avionics and even engine installation. Once the aircraft was complete the wings were taken off and put into a U-Haul truck and moved to the Bob White airport in Apopka, Florida. From there it was unloaded, re-assembled and prepped for final inspection. In early 2001, I received the final airworthiness inspection certificate from the FAA and the plane was readied for its first test flight.

After locating a test pilot at the Kissimmee Warbirds Museum the aircraft had its first test flight in the summer of 2001. Only one minor adjustment had to be made and the test pilot took me on a couple of flights and got me up to speed on how to fly the aircraft. During the time that I was building the aircraft the FAA was getting ready to make some major changes to the rules and regulations for flying two-place "ultralight-type" aircraft. To make a long story short it became necessary for me to obtain a airplane single-engine land Private Pilot license. I accomplished this on xxxx, 1999. I also needed a tailwheel endorsement which I obtained in xxxx, 2001.

Sometime between obtaining my Ultralight Pilot licenses and my Private Pilot license I decided that I wanted to go all out and become a commercial airline pilot. This was the primary driving force behind purchasing the Chinook kit. I could use the aircraft to help build flying time in a very inexpensive way. Of course, I could have a little fun with it as well along the way.

9/11

Due to the events on September 11th, 2001, there was a sharp drop-off of airline travel and the industry took a nose dive (no pun intended) for the next several years. Not wanting to give up on my dreams of becoming a professional pilot, I decided to sell the airplane and make the transition to helicopters. The helicopter industry, although a much smaller area, was not affected by the events of 9/11. I started flight training at the same place that I received my airplane Private Pilot's license. Like many pilots I found learning how to fly a helicopter challenging but a lot of fun as well. I progressed rapidly through my Private Pilot add-on, Commercial, Instrument and Certified Flight Instructor ratings.

Robinson Helicopters

Due to the popularity of Robinson helicopters as flight training helicopters and the fact that I did all my training in the Schweizer 300 series, I decided to locate a school that would help me finish my CFI training while also building some time in a Robinson R22. I received most of the CFI flight training at the Lakeland airport from Elite Flying Services.

After completing my CFI training I returned to Elite Flying Services and began work as a CFI giving ground and flight instruction in the R22 helicopters. Shortly thereafter Elite Flying Services was sold to another company and I stayed on as the senior flight instructor. Since the R22 that we were using for flight training was coming up on its 2000 time before overhaul the company leased an R44 for us to use for primary flight training. After receiving some transition training for the R44 we started conducting most of our flight training in the R44. This allowed me to build up my R44 time very quickly.

In 2xxx I started teaching at Orlando Helicopter training (where I learned how to fly) and continued flight instruction at both the Lakeland and Orlando Executive airports. I helped several students receive their Private and Commercial helicopter ratings in the time that I worked there.

Sky13 News Helicopter

During the time I worked at Orlando Helicopter training I also connected with the pilot of our local Fox news helicopter and became one of the backup pilots for the Orlando market. I have over xx hours of news helicopter experience serving in that role. I flew the Robinson R44 ENG (electronic news gathering) version of the R44.

Bell 407

During my flying time at the Lakeland airport I made friends with another one of the pilots there that worked for Phillips & Jordan. Don's normal job is to fly executives from the company to various locations througout Florida. Ocassionally, he would also have to fly EMS missions and other humanitarian types of flights. When I was fortunate to be in the area or could make arrangments to tag along Don was kind enough to let me fly their beautiful Bell 407 helicopter.

Air Orlando Helicopter Tours

Since before I started