News - 2012 & Prior

Kevin Carduner Solos on 16th Birthday

Sunday, November 18th, was a special day for Kevin Carduner.  Not only did he celebrate his 16th birthday, but he also soloed for the first time!  While Kevin doesn't even have his automobile driver's permit, he does have his log-book endorsement allowing him to fly solo in a single engine airplane.  His family, neighbors, and airport friends showed-up to support him in this momentous occassion.

Kevin with intructor, Mark Kilduff, just after Kevin's third successful solo landing. Mark performs the customary ritual of cutting the pilot's shirt tale.
A little drafty... Mark and Kevin proudly display the autographed shirt tail, which will hang as a badge of honor at Air-Mods.

FAA regulations allow someone under the age of 16 to take flight instruction from a certified flight instructor.  However, the regulations require that the student pilot be 16 years of age in order to qualify for solo flight and if he/she has met the aeronautical knowledge, medical, proficiency, and safety requirements as judged by an authorized instructor.  Kevin started frequenting the airport back in the spring and soon began working here after school and on weekends.  He would often barter for flight and instruction time - all at the age of 15.  He's now flown in over 10 airplanes and has 30 hours of instruction in his log book. 

Over the next year, Kevin will continue his ground school curriculum in preparation for the prerequisite written exam and continue flight instruction in preparation for the flight check ride...which the FAA regulations allow on one's 17th birthday.  Kevin's instructors say that he has a natural feel for the airplane.  We're sure he will do well next November 18th!


Jeremy Set to Fly to College

Jeremy Wei will be commuting to Michigan in January to attend college in his very own Mooney.  He'll be attending Western Michigan University to get his A&P license and a BA in Aircraft Maintenance Technology.  What would otherwise be a 12 hour drive from Kalamazoo Michigan, flying time will be a fun 3.5 hours back to Robbinsville.  So we'll expect Jeremy to be flying home often.

Dave hands-over the keys on Oct 19th A proud new owner checking-out his new airplane

Jeremy flying with his instructor and friend, Ken Korman, on Nov 17th as they work on Mooney proficiency.
Back in early September, CFII Bill Wheaton flies with Jeremy as Jeremy earns his Commercial Twin-Engine rating.


Helping Those Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

Support for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy has been overwhelming.  We are moved by the individuals and businesses who have contributed needed supplies and those who have flown the Compassionate Flights to deliver the supplies direct to the shore areas hardest hit by the superstorm.  Lisa Campbell, of Air-Mods, has been coordinating with various organizations including AEROBridge to collect, stage, and distribute the supplies.  We have received donations locally and from across the country.

While many have contributed, Saturday's arrival of a horse trailer full of supplies was amazing...especially since it arrived from Ridge Spring, SC.

Jody Addy, Max Parrish, and Layton Gwinn orchestrated the contributions in their home town in Ridge Spring, SC.  All week, local residents dropped-off supplies.  They left Ridge Spring at 6:00 Friday night with a horse trailer full of supplies and drove all night arriving Robbinsville at about 6:30 Saturday morning.  They first stopped at the Robbinsville Fire Station to drop-off clothes and then on to Air-Mods to drop-off the other supplies.              
Jody, Max, and Layton with our very own Lisa Campbell after off-loading supplies. 
The flights have the distinct call sign "Compassionate Flight..." that provides special handling by Air Traffic Control.  Here's just one of the flights being loaded.
Terry Friedman and his friend, Frank DiGennaro, have contributed their time and Terry's Saratoga to fly several Compassion Flights.

Here's the Saratoga loaded and ready to depart.


Max Parrish commented that the "purpose of our trip  was to get everyday needed items directly into the hands of people who need them with a minimum of bureaucracy and wait time." This is exactly what is needed.  Accordingly, Terry and Frank lifted-off early Saturday aftnoon for one of several deliveries.

As of Sunday, Nov 11th, we're now expecting more supplies from Florida, Pheonix Arizona, and North Carolina.  More and more of our local pilots are volunteering to fly shuttle trips.  Stay tuned...

All week long, we've had pilots and other volunteers helping with the compassion flights.  Our very own Bailey Campbell is always one of the first to help load the airplanes.
On November 17th, the weather was great for more flights.  Here's some of our other volunteers loading an airplane for Jong Lee for his compassion flight to Eagles Nest Airport on the southern Jersey Short.


Air-Mods Hosts Photo Shoot for Nomaterra

Nomaterra, a new fragrance brand that creates on-the-go niche fragrances, shot photos at Air-Mods on Sunday, Oct. 21st, for use in their advertising campaign. Nomaterra's founder, Agnieszka Burnett, along with the photographer, hair and makeup stylist, and model spent the day taking photos on and in two of our N87-based airplanes.  They wanted airplanes like those of Air-Mods since they knew that the "Nomaterra woman would be piloting her own airplane, still looking fabulous, and smelling of dreams and adventure".  Danielle Klatsky, the makeup stylist, created the modern-day Amelia Earhart look for model, Karolina Kwiatkowska, who personified the famous aviatrix.  Alev Takil, their photographer, was amazing and we can't wait to see 'her' photos and the final advertising campaign.  In the mean time, here's some other photos of the shoot.



Tom Gray Wins "Best Cub" at 2012 Piper Fly-In

Air-Mods' very own Tom Gray has been taking pride in restoring his 1946 J3 Cub for several years.  The ground-up restoration culminated in his flight to Lock Haven, PA for the "Annual Sentimental Journey Fly-In" on June 22nd to the 24th.  Lock Haven is the birthplace of the J3 Cub and was home to Piper Aircraft from 1935 to 1972.  For the last 27 years, vintage piper enthusiasts have been flying into Lock Haven from across the country to pay homage to the early Piper designs.  This year, Sentimental Journey celebrated the Platinum Jubilee (the 75th Birthday) of the Piper J-3.  With over 150 airplanes in attendance of which over 50 were Cubs, Tom's meticulous restoration impressed the judges and they presented him with the "Best Cub" award.  The timing of Tom's J3 completion with the J3's Platinum Jubilee couldn't have worked out any better.  We're all proud of Tom!


Air-Mods Flight Training Center Earns Accreditation

Air-Mods Flight Training Center is proud to be one of the first three flight schools to be accredited in the history of flight training.  The Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) held its annual conference in Las Vegas May 1st through May 4th and selected three flight schools in the first year of the accreditation program.

Ilissa Skinner and Lisa Campbell accepting Air-Mods' accreditation.
Ilissa and Lisa representing Air-Mods as one of the three flight schools accredited.

The purpose of flight school accreditation is to maintain the highest standard for flight schools with respect to industry business practices and professionalism.  “For the first time in the history of flight training, flight schools will be able to determine if their business model meets a set of minimum standards developed by their peers,” said FSANA President and CEO Robert Rockmaker. “As a result, the business of flight training will be well-served for years to come.” 

The program is built on seven core business strategies:
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Risk management
  • Business practices
  • Finance and accounting
  • Education
  • Customer satisfaction

Flight school accreditation will also provide the general public with an opportunity to identify flight schools that comply with the FSANA “Code of Ethics” and meet or exceed the FSANA accreditation standards.

Ocean County Vocational Technical School Field Trip

Low ceilings didn't dampen the enthusiam when Mr. Mark Lamb brought his VoTech class to Air-Mods for a field trip.  After ground briefings on aircraft maintenance and flight operations on May 5th, the soggy weather created an excuse for the class to return again on May 19th for the flight portion of the field trip. 

Ryan, one of Air-Mods' aircraft & powerplant mechanics,
discusses the finer points of aircraft maintenance.
Mr. Lamb, his students, and an engine.  Arrrr, arrrr!
George, one of our flight instructors, discusses discipline
requirements for safe flight operations.
Weather conditions were perfect on May 19th!
All of the students got to fly!


Air-Mods Produces First Instructional Video

Air-Mods just produced its first instructional video.  Our intent is to provide a series of short videos covering airplane operational and maintenance topics.  Each will be hosted on YouTube and linked back to our Air-Mods website.  This video covers cold and hot starting procedures for Air-Mods' Piper Cherokee airplanes which have carbureted Lycoming engines.  While important during the winter months, the procedures in this video apply year-round.  We will be following-up with a similar video for fuel injected Lycoming engines soon, so stay tuned!


Robbinsville First Graders Tour Air-Mods

Three groups of first graders toured Air-Mods on Nov 8th and 9th.  Mr. Miguel Edwards, one of the student's parents and a pilot who flies out of Robbinsville, conducted each of the tours.  Mr. Edwards talked about aviation safety, the different parts of airplanes, how airplanes fly, and other topics suitable for first graders.  When asked about the experience, Mr. Edwards replied, "The kids seemed to be captivated by it all and learned quickly!  They were very well behaved and respectful of the airplanes.  I think they had fun...I know I did!"

Air-Mods is family friendly and welcomes parents to stop by with their children.  For safety purposes, please check with one of the staff, though, before venturing out on the ramp.  We'll be glad to show you around!

Mr. Edwards has the attention of students and the teachers as he discusses airport safety. Mr. Edwards answers questions as he describes the different parts of airplanes.

Waiving to airplanes flying by! A departing airplane does a low fly-by for the kids.


N301KC is Ready for Maiden Flight

Air-Mods' shop project, a 1978 M20J (201), rolled out of the hangar on Friday, October 28th, and is ready for its maiden flight.













For more details, see the "Shop Project" under "Modifications and Repair"

Big Milestone Day at Air-Mods

Monday, Oct 10th, proved to be a beautiful day in Robbinsville and a big day for milestones.  David Branin passed his check-ride for his private pilot's license and Mark Labbancz and Mark Freedman both soloed for the first time.  Congratulations to David, Mark, and Mark!

Mark Freedman takes off for his first solo. Mark and his instructor, Clay Collins.  This was a monumental day for Clay, too, as two off his students soloed.


No, Mark is not undergoing a TSA security screening.  Our very own Ilissa Skinner is following the tradition of cutting-off his shirt tail to commemorate the first solo. Mark proudly displays the shirt tail - now permanently hanging on the wall in the flight school.


Ken McLauchlan Takes Delivery of His New Mooney

Ken, from Annapolis, MD, took a train to Trenton and then cabbed to Air-Mods to take delivery of his Mooney M20C on Saturday Oct 8th.  Ken purchased the airplane to commute between his offices in Annapolis and Savannah, GA.  The M20C will be a great airplane for the mission.

Dave passes the keys to N6905N's new owner, Ken. Ken departs for Annapolis.  We're going to miss this airplane, but its in good hands!



David Ayres First Solo

David Ayres soloed on June 27th! Aimee Mendoza, David's primary flight instructor, performs the tradition of cutting-off the tail of David's t-shirt.
David's sacrifice of a perfectly good shirt provides more practice for Aimee's shirt cutting skills.

David and Aimee encountered a deer during their first flight together. 
It should be noted that David did not
hit a deer during his first solo! 


Jeremy Wei Surpasses His Goals on His 17th Birthday

After his solo endorsement on June 22, 2010 at age 16, Jeremy Wei returned on his 17th birthday on June 21, 2011 to earn his driver's license in the morning and his pilot's license in the early afternoon.  He then surpassed his goal by earning his Wings with the Civil Air Patrol in the late afternoon.  
Jeremy primarily worked with Aimee Mendoza, one of Air-Mods' nine flight instructors, to hone his skills during the last year.  Aimee was there during his solo in 2010 and there to endorse his log-book on his 17th birthday.  According to Aimee, "Jeremy  is quick study and exceptional student!"
Jeremy received his Civil Air Patrol Wings from Eugene Harris who is an instructor for Air-Mods and the Civil Air Patrol.

Afterwards, family and friends joined the celebration!

Next, Jeremy will focus on his twin-engine and instrument ratings and then has aspirations to earn his Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) rating.

  Click to enlarge


Girl Scout Cadettes visit Air-Mods

Girl Scout Cadettes from Lawrenceville visited Air-Mods Flight Training Center on Saturday, March 5th.  Led by Troop Leader, Barbara Malony, the Cadettes spent several hours with our Lisa Campbell who talked about various careers in aviation and what it takes to be a pilot.  Cadettes are able to mix and match activities and resources to suit their special interest.  These Cadettes are spending time in their troop meetings and at the airport pursuing their "Aviation Badge".  Congratulations to Ms Malony and her Cadettes!


Air-Mods installing Turtle-Pac in an ATR-42

Air-Mods ferry tank team will be traveling to the western Pacific soon to finish the installation of the Turtle-Pac in a commercial airline's ATR-42.  For more info on the installation, see "Ferry Tanks" under "Modifications and Repair".













Air-Mods makes progress on their current shop project.











For more details, see the "Shop Project" under "Modifications and Repair"


Senter Reinhardt and his Mooney Rocket

As mentioned in our Modifications and Repair page, we have customers coming back to us from as far north as Maine and as far south as Alabama.  Senter Reinhardt comes to us each year for his Mooney Rocket's annual inspection from Huntsville, Alabama.  Senter became acquainted with Dave and Air-Mods when Air-Mods was recommended to him as a shop to perform the pre-purchase inspection on the Rocket he was contemplating to purchase in 2006.  During the  pre-purchase inspection, Senter saw Air-Mods' "Wall of Fame" depicting before and after photos of heavily damaged airplanes that Air-Mods had restored to manufacturer's specs.  "If they can put those airplanes back together, then these are the guys I want to maintain my airplane."  Senter did, in fact, purchase the Rocket and has come back to Air-Mods each year since for his annual inspection.

Senter's transition to the Rocket is quite exceptional.  While finishing-up his primary flight instruction in Cessna 152's, he began contemplating an aircraft purchase.  Learning about the structural integrity and speed of Mooneys, he quickly determined that a fast Mooney would fit his mission profile for cross-country flights to visit family up and down the east coast and to points in the southwest.  Senter initially had second thoughts about purchasing such a high performance, complex airplane so quickly - afterall, he didn't even have his pilot's license.  But his wife, Rachel, embraced the decision to purchase the Rocket and he developed his transition plan.  The insurance company required him to obtain his Private Pilot's license and then required a 100 hours in complex airplanes before he could take instruction in the Rocket.  Senter got his private ticket and fulfilled the insurance prerequisites in a Piper Arrow which made the transition into the Mooney very easy.  He's now instrument rated, flys about a 100 hours per year, and loves his Mooney.  What's not to like!


Jeremy Wei Solos on 16th Birthday

Jeremy fell in love with aviation when he was a child flying with his father.  At age thirteen, Jeremy started flying lessons and has since soloed in gliders and taken aerobatic instruction.  On June 22, 2010, many of his friends and family joined him here at Air-Mods for his 16th birthday and his first solo flight in a powered airplane.  After the mandatory three take-offs and landings, both of his instructors joined him in his celebration and performed the traditional ritual of cutting the shirt off his back.

Simultaneous with his work towards his private pilot's license, Jeremy is working toward his instrument rating.  His goal now is to get his private pilot's license and his driver's license on his 17th birthday.  We'll all be here this time next year to cheer him on!




  Click to Enlarge


Roosevelt School Field Trip

On Friday, May 28th, twenty-two second and fourth graders from Roosevelt Public School (RPS) ventured on a field trip to Air-Mods to learn about aviation.  Organized by, Donna Gazzani, a RPS teacher, and Bob Meissner, a local pilot, thought that a day of aviation would interest the students and broaden their horizons.  Bob, Gene Salvatore, and our very own LIsa Campbell, brought out their airplanes and described their various parts, safety precautions, what it takes to be a pilot, and how airplanes fly.  During the morning, they also visited Posey Brothers, who restores vintage aircraft on the field, for some history about the early days of aviation.  We like to thank RPS, Donna Gazzani, Bob Meissner and his friend, and Mike and Larry Posey for helping with the event.

Roosevelt Public School (RPS), educating pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, is located between Assunpink Lake and Perrineville.  With an average class size of twelve, RPS recognizes that learning happens through a variety of activities - both inside and outside the classroom. 


Lycoming's Ray Crist Conducts Engine Seminar

On Thursday evening, May 6th, Ray Crist conducted a seminar on the history of Lycoming and the proper operation of their engines.  Ray is Lycoming's Regional Sales Manager and speaks with credibility from years of practical experience.  Among the topics discussed, Ray talked about proper leaning techniques, lubricants, roller tappets, and their new IO390 engine. 

About 15 local pilots plus the Air-Mods staff were in attendance for the interactive presentation.  Quite a few stuck around afterwards to drill Ray with even more questions.  We look forward to bringing Ray back for an encore performance.





New Student:  Catherine Tomasulo

Catherine is just one of our newest students. 
From nearby Chesterfield, NJ, she has an undergrad degree in Economics from Northwestern University and will be a medical student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School this fall.

Catherine's passion for flying was fueled at an early age when listening to her Grandfather tell stories of his time as a fighter pilot.  She is working with Stephanie Shonk (CFII, MEII, and ATP) to complete her instruction and earn her Private Pilot's License before school starts this fall.

Most all student pilots dream of flight destinations as a Private Pilot.  Catherine hopes that one of her first flights will be to take her family to the Outer Banks of NC.  With Cahterine's demonstrated ambition and determination in prior accomplishments, we're sure she'll achieve the piloting and decision-making skills to accomplish this goal, too.





Colorado Student Pilot Buys first Airplane

When Mike Robbinson started flying lessons, he dreamed of owning his very own airplane.  Living in Colorado Springs, CO and having family scattered across the Plain States, Mike's wife supported the idea of flying trips rather than spending countless hours in the car.  Mike found N5688W on our website, a 1963 PA-28 160 Cherokee, that fit his mission profile and his budget.  The only problem, he only had his student pilot's license and needed several prerequisites before taking his check-ride. 

Dave and Lisa suggested that Mike take some vacation time, come to Robbinsville, and focus on getting some of the prerequisites behind him.  That's exactly what he did!  Mike finished his primary training, passed his written test, and accomplished his cross-country requirements - all while getting comfortable in his new airplane.  Needing to get back home, one of our instructors, Kyle Lehrhoff, flew right-seat with Mike back to Colorado where Mike will schedule his check-ride.  Check back soon to see how Mike did with his check-ride!