The “Glory” of Flight

Photo of a GloryOur pilots get to see great things when offering pilot services to our clients.

This is a beautiful photo sent in by our pilot during a recent mission in a Cessna Citation II (CE550).  They were about to descend into the cloud deck on an instrument approach

I asked our “Weather Rock Star” Michael Cetinich of Jeppesen about this phenomenon.  He replied that it is known as a “Glory” and referred me to this Wikipedia article about it.

Is it any wonder why we love to fly?

Colin Prenger

Colin was bitten by the aviation bug at the age of 13 when his parents gifted him a discovery flight in Scottsdale, Arizona, in a Cessna 172. That was the moment he realized he wanted to become a pilot. In the summer of 2011, Colin traveled to Independence Aviation to escape the Arizona heat and start his aviation career.  Only four weeks later he passed his check ride and achieved his childhood dream. After several years as an IA customer, Colin is now one of IA’s instructors, and his favorite part about teaching is witnessing his students fleetingly fall in love with aviation from the first flight.  Colin is also an accomplished photographer and videographer.

Continuous Decision Making

COPA LogoAccording to the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) website, there have been 71 Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) save events with 146 survivors as of January 25, 2017. This is an incredible statistic and strong argument for Cirrus’ decision to include the system in all of their aircraft, including the new VisionJet.

Cirrus Platinum Partner color logoAs a Platinum Cirrus Training Center, we at IA know the importance of teaching about the CAPS system. CAPS pull scenarios are included in the Cirrus Basic and Advanced Transition training and are a regular feature of simulator sessions in IA’s Frasca SR22 flight simulator. The Cirrus pilot should learn in their flight training to “think CAPS first” and remember this life-saving safety feature is available.

A recent accident in Colorado shows the importance of this training and what our instructors like to say is the “continuous aviation decision making” factor especially during emergencies.

Photo of Cirrus N5VK Crash siteOn January 7, Russell Ford and his wife were flying from Provo, Utah to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Near Meeker, Colorado they experienced engine failure. Mr. Ford completed his Basic Cirrus Transition Training with Independence Aviation General Manager Rhett Kamm in October 2016 and debriefed Rhett on the experience. He said that he had his hand on the parachute all the time but was worried that pulling it would result in them slamming into the side of the mountain. He elected to perform a forced landing in deep snow on the top of the mesa, which turned out to be a fabulous decision.  According to a KKTV interview Mr. Ford said, “I feel that if I pull the parachute at that time our momentum and the wind would have carried us into the cliff. The plateau is flat, but there’s about a 700 foot drop on either side and I felt that we would’ve probably crashed, if I pulled the parachute would have crashed into the side of that cliff and I don’t think that would’ve ended well.”  Check out the photos below and you’ll see what he means!

So while a “chute pull” is almost always the appropriate procedure for most emergencies in a Cirrus, it certainly depends on the situation and requires great decision-making skills on the part of the pilot.

Congrats to Mr. Ford and his wife on a fantastic successful outcome as well as to Mr. Kamm for the training he provided!

Check out a short video showing a CAPS pull demonstration in our Cirrus SR22 Frasca Flight SimulatorPhoto of CAPS in Frasca Simulator

Check out these seminars that IA has hosted on CAPS pulls
A CAPS Pull Experience
Changing the CAPS Mindset
CAPS History

CTC of the Year Press Release


Contact Person:                        Taylor Albrecht, Business Development Manager
Company Name:                      Independence Aviation LLC
Telephone Number:                 303.858.1600
Fax Number:                            303.858.1602
Email Address:               
Web site address:            


Englewood, Colorado, January 11, 2017— Independence Aviation LLC (IA), based at Centennial Airport (KAPA) in Englewood, Colorado, has received the Cirrus Training Center of the Year award by Cirrus Aircraft.

The announcement was made at the Cirrus CX Symposium in Knoxville, Tennessee where aviation educators dedicated to Cirrus Aircraft meet with the leaders of the company to discuss future direction.

“From our founding in 2007 we have recognized Cirrus Aircraft as the future of single-engine general aviation’s success. They’ve designed innovative aircraft that are meant to take people places in comfort and safety,” said Bob Stedman, co-founder and President of IA. “It is nice to be recognized by the company for our efforts to further this mission.

In addition to the award, managers of IA including Bob, Rhett Kamm (General Manager) and Chuck Gensler (co-founder and Chief Flight Instructor Emeritus) were treated to a flight in the VisionJet, Cirrus’ recently-certified single-engine personal jet. “It was a thrill to be at the controls of this ‘game changing’ aircraft for the first time,” said Stedman.



About Independence Aviation

Independence Aviation (IA) provides aircraft rentals, aviation instruction and pilot mentoring programs, plus aircraft and hangar management. Founded in 2007 by two veteran Certified Flight Instructors, the firm is guided by a philosophy that relationship-based flight instruction produces superior private pilots. Key elements of IA’s approach are to teach students in airplanes they’d be willing to fly cross-country, and mentor them as they evolve to aircraft that fly faster and higher. All IA planes are used for instruction and rentals to qualified pilots. The entire fleet is equipped with modern avionics and current databases, and each aircraft is impeccably maintained in both mechanical operations and appearance.

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Cold Temp Airports Added in CO

If you’re planning to fly to Cortez (KCEZ) or Spanish Peak Airfield (4V1) this winter, be sure to carefully look over the approaches.  Both airports were recently added to the list of “Cold Temperature Restricted Airports.”  There are many other airports in other states that were added or removed from the list.

The Information for Operators InFO 16023 issued on December 19, 2016 updates these procedures, included airports and changes to the approach plates.

Aerial Photo of Cortez Municipal Airport
Cortez Municipal Airport
Aerial Photo of Spanish Peaks Airport
Spanish Peaks Airport

Approach Plate showing temperature annotation

Helpful information from Independence Aviation.

First Flight in VisionJet SF50

One of the “perks” of being awarded the Cirrus Training Center of the Year award was some left-seat action in the newly-certificated Cirrus VisionJet SF50.  These photos capture the experience of Bob Stedman, Co-founder and President, Chuck Gensler, Co-founder and Chief Flight Instructor Emeritus, and Rhett Kamm, General Manager.


Photo of Cirrus VisionJet SF50 flown by IA executives
Photo of Bob Stedman, Chuck Gensler and Rhett Kamm and the Cirrus VisionJet SF50


Announcing GM and Chief Flight Instructor Appointments

Photo of Rhett Kamm
Rhett Kamm

Today IA announced appointments to two key leadership posts today to position the company for the future.

Chief Flight Instructor Rhett Kamm has been named General Manager, a newly created position for oversight of all day-to-day operations, including ground services, flight support, marketing and customer relations management.

Photo of Ken Fukayama
Ken Fukayama

Replacing Mr. Kamm as Chief Flight Instructor is former Assistant Chief Flight Instructor Ken Fukayama.

“Our new General Manager structure is designed to sharpen IA’s focus on superior customer service in every aspect of our operations,” said Bob Stedman, President and CEO. The restructuring also allows Stedman to devote more time to opportunities for growth and innovation to maintain the company’s leadership role in private aviation services.

“Both Rhett and Ken have proven to be energetic and enthusiastic promoters of the IA philosophy,” Stedman added. “They’ve been key contributors to our success.”

Mr. Kamm is a career aviation educator who has been with IA since 2010. He was appointed Chief Flight Instructor in 2012 and Director of Operations where he worked continuously to improve the quality of the flight instruction and mentoring at IA.

Mr. Fukayama was appointed Assistant Chief Flight Instructor earlier this year after joining IA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. During his nine years there his responsibilities included Standards Check Instructor and Head Coach of the Golden Eagles Flight Team.

“I am excited about the future of general aviation and IA’s participation,” said Stedman. “These management changes, along with our innovative approach to pilot proficiency, mentoring and our commitment to the revolutionary electric Sun Flyer aircraft, make it a very exciting time at IA.”