The Kings, who began their careers teaching weekend ground school courses, traveled all over the country for 10 years before establishing their business in a permanent base in San Diego, California.
Like all pilots, they made mistakes and had close calls. Unlike some pilots, they are ready to admit them and help others to learn from them, King Schools officials noted.
The Kings got their first airplane, a Cherokee 140, in 1969. Working their way up to their current Falcon 10 jet, they have seen many changes in airplane and avionics technology, as well as in the cost of operating airplanes and keeping their equipment up to date.
One of the most memorable chapters is “Until We Had Our Accident,” which begins with an account of a situation every pilot dreads: A total electrical failure above clouds, icing, and finally a forced landing in a cornfield in gathering dusk that sent a bloodied Martha to the ER.
You might think that would be enough for one chapter, but John King goes on to relate the painful feelings he and Martha would experience when they would learn that a newly-minted pilot they had instructed had died in a crash, and how it sometimes made them ask themselves: How could they in good conscience teach people a skill that was sure to get some of them killed?
That chapter is followed by another with a slightly different title: “After We Had Our Accident.” In it John King identifies what they call “The Big Lie” — the belief, encouraged by the promotional enthusiasm of airplane manufacturers and aviation periodicals, that flying is an inherently safe activity.
For too long, the Kings felt general aviation had turned a blind eye to risk. They made it their mission to develop and teach risk management tools and procedures that would help pilots recognize beforehand the circumstances and the patterns of behavior that often ended in accidents.
The book retails for $21.97 for paperback and $13.97 for Kindle at Amazon.com.