Article by the East County Magazine staff originally appeared on the East County Magazine website on May 17, 2023 To view the original article Click Here.
East County News Service
May 17, 2023 (San Diego) — “I hang around with Martha.” That’s how John King introduces himself when he and Martha take the stage at public events. It proved to be true in a new sense in February, when the Kings were inducted together into Women in Aviation International’s Pioneer Hall of Fame(link is external) earlier this month. John King found himself the first and only man in the company of more than 100 trailblazing women — the likes of Amelia Earhart, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and astronaut Sally Ride — who have made their marks in the history of aviation.
“Quiet, unassuming Martha King is the renaissance woman of aviation, and the only woman to hold every class of pilot and instructor rating” said the WAI announcement of the honor, which the Kings shared this year with author Nancy Bird and retired Air Force Colonel and U-2 pilot Merryl Tengesdal.
John and Martha King are La Jolla residents, but well known in East County. They regularly fly in and out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon, where they maintain their Falcon10 jet. Martha was also honored(link is external) by the East County Chamber of Commerce at its 2017 Women in Leadership luncheon.
Marci Veronie, a Board Chair of Women in Aviation International and an Avemco Insurance Company Executive, nominated Martha and John for the Women in Aviation International award. She says, “I wanted them recognized not only for the contributions they have made to our industry, AND the wonderful Martha King Scholarships, but personally and selfishly for being champions of aviation safety. Aviation safety is near and dear to me and has been my professional passion. When I approached them to partner with Avemco on this subject, it was incredible to me that two people so famous in our industry were willing to step up and say ‘We have a problem- let’s fix it!’. They are kind, compassionate, caring, and most importantly lead by example.”
The names of John and Martha King(link is external) are familiar to all pilots. The business they created, King Schools, began in the 1970s as a traveling ground school for aspiring private pilots. Since then, it has blossomed into the world’s most prolific supplier of print, video and computer-based instructional materials covering every aspect of training and safety both for written test preparation and for guidance in practical flight operations. The Kings can boast that more than half of the pilots in the United States have used one or more of their courses. The hallmarks of their teaching style are clarity, folksy humor and disarming candor, and their talent for breaking down complex subject matter step by step into easily digestible components.
Notably, the Kings have campaigned for an active approach to aviation safety, rejecting the belief, encouraged by airplane manufacturers, that private flying is an inherently safe activity. Conscious risk management and ongoing education are, in their view, the real cornerstones of aviation safety.
Founded in 1990, Women in Aviation International(link is external), with more than 15,000 members, supports women in aviation through education, networking and scholarship programs. One scholarship, supported in partnership with King Schools, provides a $5,000 stipend and unlimited access to King instructional materials to women who aspire to become flight instructors.
“The work WAI does supporting women in aviation has been of tremendous value,” Martha King said. “We still have a way to go, but the day when airline passengers would be shocked to hear a female voice from the cockpit are thankfully behind us. I feel deeply honored to have been selected by WAI as a Pioneer. I’m sure John is equally honored, since the company is so good, to have been made an honorary woman.”