CP Aviation blog

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CP Aviation Named Santa Paula Business of the Year

Flight School also Celebrates 25 Years in Business

Santa Paula, CA—The Chamber of Commerce for the City of Santa Paula, CA recently named CP Aviation, Inc. its 2011 Business of the Year. Presented annually since 1983, CP Aviation is only the second airport business in Santa Paula to receive such recognition. The flight school will be honored at an awards luncheon on February 7, 2012.

Started by Clay Phelps in 1987, this year also marks CP Aviation’s 25th anniversary on the Santa Paula Airport. The business has thrived through five U.S. Presidencies, two significant economic downturns, the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and a flood that washed away one-third of the airport’s only runway. Perhaps best known for its world-renowned Emergency Maneuver Training and tailwheel transition programs, CP Aviation is a full-service, Part 61 FBO and Cessna Pilot Center.

Nowadays, Phelps manages the maintenance side of the business, while wife Judy Phelps manages the flight school side. The operation currently has 25 employees and 19 aircraft. Rental aircraft range from the Cessna 162 Skycatcher to the Cessna 182RG, and from the 7ECA Citabria to the Pitts S-2B. The fleet logs 6,000 hours annually. CP Aviation has a Designated Pilot Examiner on staff, and is home to two National Flight Instructors of the Year: Judy Phelps (2011) and Rich Stowell (2006), both of whom are Master Aerobatic Instructors and Charter Members of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).

According to Clay Phelps, “Our business is really about building relationships. We have been privileged to operate from an historic general aviation airport located in a scenic valley, work with a very supportive local community, attract wonderful employees, and enjoy the best customers a business could ask for.” CP Aviation is planning a 25th anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 2nd.

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Michael O'Connell - First Solo

January 23, 2012 - CFI Michael Phillips

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Eric Rice - First Solo

January 22, 2012 - CFI Berkeley Brandt

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Vera Martinovich



2010 CP Aviation Emergency Maneuver Training Scholarship Winner – In Memory of Vicki Cruse 

CP Aviation is pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Emergency Maneuver Training Scholarship, Vera Martinovich.  Vera works for Boeing as an aircraft flight control engineer and is also a part time flight instructor.  Vera said that she did not know Vicki but talked to her at Oshkosh a few years back.

In her essay she said “I’d like to take the EMT course to become a more effective teacher”.  She also goes on to say “I believe expanding one’s experience beyond garden variety “nosedragger” Cessnas and Pipers will help any pilot improve his or her confidence and skill level.  I would like to help other pilots gain that experience, even as I improve my own flying and teaching skills.  It would be an honor to pass Vicki’s legacy on to other pilots” 

The purpose of this Scholarship is to promote aviation safety through unusual attitude and aerobatic training so it’s fitting that Vera who is a CFI will be able to share the experience with her students.  Congratulations Vera!

CP Aviation plans to continue giving the Scholarship in Memory of Vicki for years to come.

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John Gonzalez - Private Pilot

January 1, 2012 - CFI Judy Phelps

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Evan Zalesak - First Solo

December 17, 2011 - CFI Michael Phillips

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Judy Phelps 2011 National CFI of the Year

CP Aviation is so proud of Judy Phelps, 2011 National CFI ofthe Year. She is a 3-time Master CFI-A, and a member of IAC as well as SAFE (Society of Aviation and Flight Educators), who recently renewed her Master CFI-Aerobatic accreditation. Judy specializes in aerobatic and Emergency Maneuver Training. Judy will be recognized as the 2011 National CFI of the Year at Oshkosh, later this year. Judy has also been named the 2011 FAA Western Pacific Region CFI of the Year, and she serves as a FAASTeam representative in the FAA's Van Nuys FSDO area.

The following is excerpted from the Master Instructors LLC press release regarding Judy Phelps:

"Master Instructors LLC takes great pride in announcing a significant aviation accomplishment on the part of Judy Phelps, the 2011 Western Pacific Region CFI of the Year and resident of Santa Paula, California. Recently, Judy's accreditation as a Master CFI-Aerobatic (Certificated Flight Instructor-Aerobatic) was renewed by Master Instructors LLC, the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the FAA-approved Master Instructor Program. She first earned this national professional accreditation in 2006, has held it continuously since then, and is one of only 81 worldwide to earn the credential three times. 

To help put these achievements in their proper perspective, there are approximately 93,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 700 of those aviation educators have achieved that professional distinction thus far. The last 15 national Flight Instructors of the Year were Master CFIs while Judy is one of only 51 California teachers of flight to earn this prestigious "Master" title and one of only 24 nationwide to earn aerobatic accreditation. 

In the words of former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, "The Master Instructor accreditation singles out the best that the right seat has to offer." 

"The Master Instructor designation is a national accreditation recognized by the FAA. Candidates must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community, and must pass a rigorous evaluation by a peer Board of Review. The process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism. Designees are recognized as outstanding aviation educators for not only their excellence in teaching, but for their engagement in the continuous process of learning -- both their own, and their students'. The designation must be renewed biennially and significantly surpasses the FAA requirements for renewal of the candidate's flight instructor certificate."

Judy also holds a CFI-Instrument certificate, earned in 2005.

Judy also serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula. Judy and Clay have been part of the Museum from its inception, and are very active volunteers for this nonprofit organization. The mission of the AMSP is "To educate the public of all ages in aviation and its history, both in general, and as it relates to Santa Paula, and to inspire, motivate and challenge the younger generation to carry on the dreams of our aviation pioneers." As President she is currently focused on the renovation and development of the Museum's new Home Hangar and offices.
In addition, Judy Phelps has been recognized by the Ventura County Chapter of the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots as "2006 Woman Pilot of the Year", and the Southwest Section of the organization awarded her "2008 Professional Woman Pilot of the Year." As Past Chair of the local chapter, she remains active in chapter activities, promoting and encouraging women in aviation. She has also taught seminars for pilots throughout the state.

Judy has also been an active member of the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) Chapter 49, serving on the board, competing and working in various volunteer positions at aerobatic contests, and hosting many of the chapter's meetings at CP Aviation. Judy is qualified as an aerobatic judge, and has sponsored IAC judge's schools at Santa Paula airport.

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Michelle Millea - Private Pilot

December 10, 2011 - CFI Judy Phelps

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Catt O'Brien - First Solo

December 8, 2011 - CFI Chris Olmsted

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Michelle Hynds - First Solo

November 22, 2011 - CFI Charlotte Alexander

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Instrument Rating - Chris Gilbert

November 14, 2011 - CFI Michael Phillips

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Chris Hardt - Private Pilot

November 13, 2011 - CFI Judy Phelps

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Mark Hasbun - First Solo

November 17, 2011 - CFI Kyle Ong

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Alex Garcia - Private Pilot

October 31, 2011 - CFI Darin Moody

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Jim Grefsrud - First Solo

November 1, 2011 - CFI Charlotte Alexander

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