Born in Columbus, Ohio, Adam did not always look to the sky chasing his dreams. Growing up, Adam had aspirations to be a Solider. In college, he originally had a major in Adult Physical Education but after taking an introduction to aviation course, he changed his minor to aviation and eventually his major after completing his private pilot at just nineteen years old. His first aviation job was mowing the grass at the local airfield.
By the time Adam was twenty-one, he was a flight instructor. Completing his degree, he did fire patrol in Kentucky and another year flight instructing before moving to Department of Defense contract position with Berry Aviation. Hired as a first officer, he was promoted to captain and finally to Hawaii base Site Manager.
Following Berry Aviation, he moved on to an organization conducting testing of different systems for aircraft in which Adam was a test pilot amongst other roles. Finally, Adam landed at NetJets which is where he has spent the majority of his professional career thus far.
Hired as a first officer for one of the world’s largest private jet companies, he was promoted to Assistant Director of Training for NetJets. This time was valuable in learning how to make training programs from scratch for new jet aircraft brought into NetJets for operation.
Following NetJets, Adam did a brief stent as a contract instructor and contract pilot for a Challenger 350, which happens to be his favorite aircraft. Ultimately, Adam has landed here at CAU as the Director of Flight Training and Chief Flight Instructor.
Adam left the world of professional aviation as a pilot to leverage his skills acquired with his master’s degree which is in Instructional Design and Human Performance Technology.
Adam provided some insight for those interested in pursuing a career in professional aviation. You need to train in a professional atmosphere. Not all flight training is the same, not all flight training centers who market as a professional institution actually are. Visit a few training centers and pick the one that you feel provides the most professional product. Be resilient because your plan will change in flight training. Keep your eye on the end goal and push forward.
At CAU, Adam prides himself on having one of the best Certified Flight Instructor courses around. His advice for current aviation students: Identify your resources and leverage them to take maximum advantage. Whether career advice, study help, additional tutoring, etc.
Start studying for CFI now! When you get to your CFI, it encompasses all of the aviation knowledge from every certificate and rating before. Master your knowledge now and do not just memorize and dump for FAA exams.
Where were you born?
Growing up, did you want to be a pilot? If not, what did you want to be?
Nope- No interest. Wanted to be an “Army guy.”
When did you start school? Was it for aviation? What education background do you have?
1996, Adult Physical Education. Freshman year, took an intro to aviation class. Changed minor to aviation. Took private pilot in freshman year after changing minor and decided to change major to aviation.
BS Aviation Administration
Master in Instructional Design and Human Performance Technology
When did you get your private pilot? Commercial? CFI? ATP?
Private- 19 years old. Commercial- 20 years old. CFI- 21 years old. ATP- 26 years old.
Total Time: 6500 give or take 1000.
How has your aviation career progressed from your first job until now?
1st– Mowing airfield at Marrysville, OH
3rd– KY fire patrol (Baron and King Air)
4th– CFI for another year
5th– Berry Aviation (DoD contract) as first officer, upgraded to captain, then site manager for Hawaii.
6th– Org that does R&D for aircraft, sales/technician/test pilot.
7th– NetJets, hired as First Officer and promoted into Assistant Director of Training.
8th– Contracted for Flight Schools and Contract pilot for Challenger 350.
9th– CAU Director of Flight Training / Chief Flight Instructor
What made you leave professional flying at a 135 operation to come to CAU and teach?
Return to leverage skills in education and other aspects of master’s degree with aviation.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about becoming a pilot?
To become a professional pilot, you need to train in a professional atmosphere. Not all flight training is the same, not all flight training centers who market as a professional institution are. Visit a few training centers and pick the one that you feel provides the most professional product. Be resilient because your plan will change in flight training. Keep your eye on the end goal and push forward.
What advice do you have to new students in aviation?
Identify your resources and leverage them to take maximum advantage. Whether career advice, study help, additional tutoring, etc.
Start studying for CFI now! When you get to your CFI, it encompasses all of the aviation knowledge from every certificate and rating before. Master your knowledge, do not just memorize and dump for FAA exams.
Mr. Matthew A. Johnston has over 23 years of experience serving various roles in education and is currently serving as the President of California Aeronautical University. He maintains memberships and is a supporting participant with several aviation promoting and advocacy associations including University Aviation Association (UAA), Regional Airline Association (RAA), AOPA, NBAA, and EAA with the Young Eagles program. He is proud of his collaboration with airlines, aviation businesses and individual aviation professionals who are working with him to develop California Aeronautical University as a leader in educating aviation professionals.