After starting his flying career in High School as a “hobby,” Adventurer Mark Brown is now Chief Demo Pilot for Worldwide Kodiak sales and a Certified Flight Instructor specializing in Tailwheel training and Turbine Aircraft. He’s visited all 50 states in the US and can count seven continents among his travels. Mark took a few minutes to share a little bit with us on how he got started, where he’d like to go and some tips for aviation enthusiasts . Check out his answers below:
How did you get into aviation?
This is a bit of a long story. Without boring your readers with minute details, the short version goes a little something like this: I began flying in High School – I was told I needed a “hobby” outside of school & sports to keep me busy. (I don’t do well with down time). At that time, it was something I “had” to do and I wasn’t really passionate about it. Sure, taking flying lessons was cool and unique, but It wasn’t anything more than something my parents encouraged me to do. I was able to solo on my 16th birthday, which was pretty neat (and certainly foreshadowed the passion I’d find later in life). Before I took my PPL checkride, I decided that I had better things to do and I hung up flying lessons and never looked back.
After about a 6-7 year hiatus from flying (and two college degrees later), I realized (with help from girlfriend (now wife)) that that aviation bug had grown and it was becoming an itch I needed to scratch. I quit a well-paying post-college job and jumped off the deep end to pursue aviation as a career. It was a big risk, but one that has paid off in droves.
Tell us about your most memorable adventure/flight?
Tough question… instead of most memorable flight, I’ll give a few of my favorite places to fly. I’ve been extremely fortunate to do some very interesting and unique things in my aviation career. I’ve been able to fly in about 55 countries and really see the world. A few of my favorite countries are (in no particular order):
New Zealand – there is no place else I’ve been too with the unimaginable beauty that is around every corner of New Zealand. Seeing it from the air is even more special. On top of that, Kiwi’s are the kindest people in the world.
Iceland – beauty and uniqueness plus a very active aviation community that is extremely welcoming. Plus, the northern lights.
Namibia – if you ever want feel like the last person on earth, go here. The remoteness is vast, and the geography is otherworldly.
Morocco – the culture and people are so unique – it is a melting pot of middle eastern, African, & European
Greece – flying seaplanes in Greece is everything you’d image. Plus, the food each evening will make you forget your deepest worries.
Japan – I’ve had some of my most memorable flights in Japan. It is a difficult country to fly in due to the regulations and language barrier, but those challenges make it even more rewarding. Plus, the people are incredible.
The most important thing to remember when operating an aircraft?
150 years ago, no one ever saw what the earth looked like from 3,000 ft in the air. Flying is a true blessing – never take it for granted.
Any Tips for aviation enthusiasts?
There are a million different ways to make flying/aviation into a career. I spend a good deal of time mentoring young people that want to get paid to fly. Nearly all of them default to flying for the airlines. That’s certainly the most common – but there are a ton of different avenues within aviation. Explore what’s out there and try to be a well rounded pilot.
Oh, and also get a tailwheel rating to become a beter pilot. And get a seaplane rating to have the most fun you’ll ever have in an airplane.
Any exciting projects coming up you'd like to tell us about?
There is always something in the works. Nothing I can divulge right now. But, I’m thrilled to partner with Torgoen Watches. I’ve been wearing my watch now for a few weeks, and besides being functional, it’s truly a well-designed and well-built timepiece.
What is your dream craft/destination to experience?
Space – if I had all the money in the world. I’d book a ticket to space. And better yet, pilot the craft taking us there.
What are your 5 essential items when in flight?
Food/Water/Snacks – I get hangry