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Aviation Experts to Present at the 2024 King Air Gathering


Aviation Experts to Present at the 2024 King Air Gathering

Haven't yet registered for the 2024 King Air Gathering? Mark your calendars for May 15-18, 2024, because our line-up of speakers is sure to be nothing short of extraordinary! 

Dr. Scott Dennstaedt

Founder of EZWxBrief, Scott is a nationally-known expert in aviation weather. He has worked as a meteorologist for the last 42 years and has a doctorate in Infrastructures and Environmental Systems from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). With a background as a meteorologist, commercial pilot, and experienced CFI, he has logged over 4,000 hours over the last 25 years and offers a unique approach to teaching general aviation pilots how to minimize their exposure to adverse weather. He is a widely published aviation author that includes his new book, The Skew-T log (p) and Me: A Primer for Pilots and is a contributing editor for FLYING magazine. He is also the co-author of Pilot Weather: From Solo to the Airlines. In his spare time, Scott volunteers as EAA's subject matter expert on weather.

This May, King Air Gathering attendees will have the opportunity to hear a presentation given by Dr. Dennstaedt himself, which will analyze a fatal King Air accident that occurred in 2022. Dr. Dennstaedt's lifelong contributions to aviation and meteorology are sure to be a highlight at the 2024 King Air Gathering.

Dean Benedict 

Dean Benedict exhibited unusual mechanical aptitude at an early age building off-road vehicles and working as an auto mechanic before he was legal to drive. After graduating high school, he served as a medic in the United States Army National Guard for nine years. He was later awarded Most Outstanding Student in Aviation Studies at Glendale College in southern California. There, he graduated with a AA degree and obtained his FAA A&P certificate in 1975. He was quickly hired as a line mechanic by BeechWest Van Nuys, a Beechcraft dealership, where he was factory trained and worked on all makes and models. Within 10 years, he rose through the ranks of Corporate Shop Foreman and Service Manager to Facility Manager, where he ultimately managed 150 employees in all areas of operation: maintenance, avionics, parts, aircraft sales, line service, and flight club. 

Later, he was drafted by both Beechcraft and Cessna, in an expert witness capacity, to assist in several crash investigations which included deposition and courtroom testimony.

On his watch, BeechWest in Van Nuys, CA became the most successful Beechcraft service center outside of Wichita. Beech owners, particularly King Air owners, bypassed other Beech service centers because the work being done in Van Nuys was unbeatable.

When Raytheon bought Beechcraft, Dean joined a corporate flight department in Las Vegas as DOM, where he maintained two King Airs, a Baron, a few Cessnas, a Beaver float plane, a Bell helicopter, a Hughes 500, plus a fleet of race boats and off-road racing vehicles. After 18 years of loyal service, not one flight was missed due to maintenance, nor was there ever a maintenance-related incident. 

A couple years later, Dean founded Honest Air Inc., where he personally supervised the maintenance on each aircraft. King Airs comprised 85% of the business and customers flew to southern Nevada for his service from all over the western United States. 

Soon after the inception of King Air Magazine, Dean was invited to contribute regularly to the publication, writing articles to give King Air owners/operators more insight into maintenance needs. He continues to write for the publication today. Through the years, Dean has been sought out as an expert witness in crash investigations and other aviation-related matters. He continues to provide DOM services for King Air operators and continues with litigation support activities. 

In 2022, the King Air Hall of Fame was established and Dean was one of 4 inaugural inductees. 

Bill Crutchfield

Bill Crutchfield received his Student Pilot’s License in 1962. Since then, he has flown a variety of aircraft ranging from a Piper PA-18 Cub to his King Air C90B which he bought new in 1997. Bill was the Opening Session keynote speaker at the 2012 NBAA convention and the keynote speaker for the Single Pilot Safety Standdown at the 2018 NBAA convention. Also, Bill was a speaker at the 2022 King Air Gathering. He is a holder of the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. Bill may be better known because of his business. In 1974, he founded Crutchfield in his mother’s basement with only $1,000 in savings. The company has grown into one of the largest and most respected consumer electronics online retailers in North America. As a result, Bill was inducted into the Consumer Technology Association’s Hall of Fame in 2007. During its 2024 session, the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates passed a joint resolution recognizing Bill Crutchfield for the 50th anniversary of his business and for his contributions to the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the Vietnam War, Bill served as a commander of a Titan II ICBM missile crew. He separated as a Captain in 1970.

Dr. David Strahle

An avid pilot, Dr. Strahle has his commercial license, instrument rating, flight instructor’s license, instrument instructor’s license, advanced and instrument ground instructor’s license and his ratings include multi-engine and seaplane. He has a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Technology from Kent State University where he was the director of the Air Force ROTC flight program. In 1969, he wrote a research paper describing the far-reaching benefits of transmitting ground based weather radar data to airborne aircraft including the required steps of implementation. His paper won first place at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics research forum and his ideas were eventually published in Pilot and Aero magazines. His aerospace degree led to employment in the data processing division of IBM which led to a greater interest in computers and medicine. As a radiologist performing fourth- dimensional MRI imaging, he has the unique ability to understand cross-section analysis as it applies to weather radar images. He is an expert on weather radar interpretation and consults with the government, private authorities and air crash investigators. Throughout the past 55 years, Dr. Strahle has continued to privately support and nurture the datalink programs including 108 national presentations to aviation groups regarding the proper interpretation of datalink NEXRAD radar. Click here for more information about his NEXRAD radar course.

Chip McClure

Chip McClure has played an active role in the aviation industry for over 20 years and is the founder and CEO of two active aviation companies, Jet Acquisitions and Vault Aircraft Records, who both share a home-base in Franklin, Tennessee.

Chip and his wife Amy started Jet Acquisitions in 2015 and it has grown into the premier buyer’s rep firm for turbine aircraft. Following Chip’s passion for serving and protecting aircraft buyers, Jet Acquisitions streamlines and simplifies the process of acquiring aircraft for its clients. Chip and Amy started their second company, Vault Aircraft Records, continuing the same mission of protecting aircraft buyers and owners, this time rescuing them from the costly possibility of poor management, damage, or outright loss of aircraft records. The company digitizes physical aircraft records as well as storing and maintaining aircraft logbooks in their physical vault. Vault Aircraft Records also provides online access to clients’ digital records through a secure client portal on vaultlogs.com. After Vault Aircraft Records was established in the summer of 2023 they carefully developed detailed policies and procedures creating the foundational basis for a solid operation bearing in mind the risks many aircraft owners and operators take with their aircraft records. The company is thrilled to announce its official launch and debut will be at King Air Gathering 2024!

Chip currently enjoys living in historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee, with his beautiful wife and business partner, Amy. Between them they have six children and six grandchildren with three of each living nearby! Chip spends his days (and sometimes his nights) following his passion in the field of aviation, but if he isn’t working, you can find him serving others by volunteering for the small church his family attends or enjoying a hike among the scenic Tennessee hills with the family. Chip has a penchant for flying helicopters and shooting sporting clays, but lately he only gets to enjoy either when his three local granddaughters allow! The rest of the time he enthusiastically takes on the role of “PopPop” which entails the responsibilities of attending all school-related events, riding bicycles, more hiking, tickling and chasing away the boys who, for now thankfully, have the dreaded cooties. 

Hasard Lee

Hasard Lee is a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who began his career flying the F-16, where he was selected as the 'Top Instructor Pilot of the Year' for the Air Force's largest F-16 Combat Wing. As a flight commander, he led his pilots into combat during one of the most intense periods during the War in Afghanistan. There he flew over eighty combat missions and became the only fighter pilot to ever fly two different types of jets into combat on the same day while supporting troops under fire.
Hasard was then hand-picked to fly the F-35―the most advanced and expensive weapons system in history―which was still in development at the time. During his last role on active duty, Hasard became the Chief of Training Systems for the largest training base in the world, leading the development of new technology and teaching methods to train future fighter pilots. Learn more about Hasard here.

Peter Basile

Peter Basile is a Senior Air Safety Investigator with Textron Aviation. He graduated from the University of Central Missouri where he earned his Master of Science degree in Aviation Safety. He began his career with the Cessna Aircraft Company in 2001 as a Manufacturing Engineer supporting the Citation Bravo (550) and Citation Encore (560) production lines. Beginning in 2003, he worked on the Citation Mustang (510) from the engineering development phase through prototype construction and first flight. In 2005, he began working as an Air Safety Investigator to support the National Transportation Safety Board during on-site investigations. He has participated as an NTSB party representative on over 225 field investigations ranging from Cessna 140’s and Beechcraft Musketeers to current production King Air turboprops and Citation business jets. Peter served on the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee for System Component Failures of Power Plants to develop safety enhancements and intervention strategies for accident prevention. He instructed at the DOT Transportation Safety Institute at FAA headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK and the NTSB academy in Ashburn, VA. He has presented safety information for multiple owner/operator/pilot associations, universities, safety seminars, and training organizations. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating, he is an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic with Inspection Authorization, and recently he earned a FlightSafety International Citation 525 series Master Technician certificate.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to hear from some of the most influential voices in the King Air industry, secure your spot today at https://kingairnation.com/gathering-2024