Directors & Officers
Director At Large, President
I was raised in rural New York State. I attended Nyack High School and graduated from University of New Hampshire with a degree in Physics and a commission in the USAF. My ROTC program had a pilot screening program at Manchester NH where I learned to fly and got a Private Pilot license.
From 1967-1994 I served in the USAF and Idaho Air National Guard. During that career I flew the T-41, T-37, T-38, RF-4C, F4-G, C131, and T-39. I was active in base Aero Clubs and earned CFI & CFII (SEL/MEL). My duties included Tactics Officer, Standardization and Evaluation Officer, Flight Test Pilot, Deputy Commander Operations, Deputy Commander Maintenance and Commander RF-4C Division of USAF Fighter Weapons School. I retired at the rank of Colonel. After the Air Force I joined FedEx where I have been a Boeing 727 Second Officer, First Officer and Captain. I have been an Airbus FO and have spent most of my time at FedEx in the Flight Test Department as a crew member.
I have owned two 1955 Cessna 180s over the years but am particularly proud of refurbishing the one I have now. I am an active back country pilot and do instructing in all phases of General Aviation including Instruments, Back Country, BFRs and IPCs.
In July 2007 I was married to my wife Marsha. I enjoy spending spare time flying, camping, fly fishing and reading.
District 1 Director
My father was a pilot in the early 1950s, exposing me to flying. I learned to fly in Ames, Iowa, getting my private pilot license in 1987. I flew for a few years, but with family, was kept away from flying for a number of years. Although I wasn't flying, I remained connected to aviation through EAA. I was active in EAA Chapter 1229 at Fleming Field in South St. Paul, MN, then moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, where I organized the founding of Sandpoint EAA Chapter 1441.
Several years ago my wife, Paula, suggested that it was time to get current again, so I took re-currency instruction in Bonners Ferry. It was great to be flying again and I started looking around for a plane, finally buying a couple of Alon Aircoupes.
Last year I was accepted to the Bonner County Airport Advisory Board. The Sandpoint Airport has had a number of challenges recently and it has been a good experience to be part of the resolution process. I look forward to representing North Idaho on the board of the Idaho Aviation Association.
District 2 Director
I was raised in Pendleton, Oregon where I spent the majority of my early life. My father flew on a limited basis, but built and flew many RC aircraft, which we all got to watch and enjoy. With all Dad's airplane magazines lying around the house and his constant talk about airplanes the seed was easily planted. As a youngster, I used to flag for the crop dusters around Pendleton and after days of listening to those radial engines go roaring by only feet away, I was destined to fly someday.
After graduating from Oregon State University in Wildlife Science and landing my first job in Ontario, Oregon I was able to attain my PPL there in 1975. After a job transfer to Enterprise, Oregon in 1976, I joined Oregon's oldest (still active) flying club, the Chief Joseph Flyers and flew their Skyhawks and Skylanes. Then after some 20+ years of club flying I sold my club membership and in 2004 purchased the red 170B that I currently fly.
After retiring from my 28-year career with the Oregon State Police as a backcountry game warden in Eastern Oregon, I now get to fly 04D into many of the places that my work took me in Oregon and on into Idaho, which is right in my backyard, just a bit east across Hell's Canyon. It's my goal to do my part and keep all of these gems we have here in the Pacific NW open for all of general aviation to enjoy for years to come.
District 3 Director
Wayne D. Thiel
I began flying in 1977 in Emmett, Idaho with instructor Jay Morris, a local ag pilot. I got my private license in 1978, instrument rating August 1980, multi-engine rating August 1985, and tail dragger endorsement October 1998. My total flight time is over 2,627 hours. I enjoy flying in the mountains of Idaho, especially the Frank Church Wilderness Area. Linda and I enjoy airplane camping and fly-ins with our many aviation friends. I currently average 150 hours per year, mostly in the Idaho back country.
I have been an IAA member for 11 years and participate in several work parties each year at Big Bar, Thomas Creek, Pine, Graham, Deadwood and Big Creek. At our Annual Breakfast/Fly-in BBQ I have cooked well over 1000 pancakes! I am also a member of the Caldwell Airport Commission, Ada County Aerial Sheriff Reserve (we fly search for the Ada County Sheriff and Idaho Search & Rescue), the Quiet Birdmen, Boise Hangar, the International 180/185 Club, and the Recreational Aviation Foundation.
I've owned several aircraft including a 1978 Cessna 182, Ponderosa Aero Club Member, 1952 Cessna 170, and currently a 1955 Cessna 180 (my favorite) with P-Ponk conversion 470-50 plus many more extras. My day job is as an insurance agent in Eagle, Idaho and my other hobbies include fly-fishing and golf.
District 4 Director
Galen L. Hanselman
I live in Hailey, Idaho with Charlie (a four-year-old golden retriever), Cocoa (an 13-year-old German shorthair pointer) and various and assorted derelict pilots that drop in unannounced but are always welcomed. I started flying in 1980 and enjoyed it so much I quit my real job in 1989 and haven't looked back. I've written four books on backcountry flying and drawn nine aeronautical charts to show folks where these wonderful places are.
Having lived in the mountains of Idaho nearly all my life, I just never took to joining up. Hunting, fishing and flying were what captured my interests. I can't really explain how I ended up on the Board of Directors for the Blaine County Pilots Association, the Idaho Aviation Association and the Idaho Aviation Foundation but I figure when they realize whom they're dealing with, I'll be a free man again.
Hope to see you in the backcountry,
Galen L. Hanselman
P.S. Your turn to bring a bottle to the campfire.
District 5 Director
I was four years old when my dad took me on a flight with a pilot friend of his to spray a field. We took off and landed on a county road near Kimberly. Dad was always interested in flying and I guess that's where I got the bug. It stayed dormant until I got out of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division where I served from 1972-1976.
I received my pilot's license after taking lessons in Twin Falls and Nampa. In 1993 I bought my first airplane, a Cessna 172. When I moved to Salmon five years later I was able to fly the backcountry in my Cessna 175. In 2001 I ended up in Blackfoot (where I reside today) with a different Cessna 175 with a 0470 engine.
A turbo-charged Kolb Sport 600 is my latest purchase. It's an amphibious light sport aircraft in which I managed to get in 120 hours of time last summer. When my wife was ready to take lessons last fall we removed the floats so she could use it to learn to fly.
I love the supportive attitude of the aviation community. Going to all the unique places and seeing the pristine back country is what makes flying such a thrill for me.
District 6 Director
I started flying in Kansas when I was 18, mostly flying my parents' 152 off our grass strip. I went for 25 years without flying. I moved to Idaho Falls in 1990 to support cleanup work at the Idaho National Lab. In 2007, I got back into flying, took the Challis Mountain Flying Clinic and found myself landing in places like Big Creek, Cabin Creek, and Soldier Bar. I now co-own a 1960 182 that I use for business travel between Idaho Falls and Richland, WA. I also try to get into the backcountry a few times each year. Access to Idaho airports and Idaho's backcountry are important to me.
My flying career started around 1993 when a new acquaintance at a wedding party told Steve and I how easy it was to get your pilot's license, then you could fly whenever and wherever you wanted to. On the 18-hour drive home from the wedding we decided that I would get my license so that I could chauffeur Steve to his business appointments around the state.
That whole plan changed when shortly after I got my ticket Steve wanted me to spiral down through some clouds over Smiley Creek so we could join the others down there having a hot breakfast. I refused, he got his own license, and now I'm usually co-pilot on our back-country adventures in Idaho and Alaska. Some of my favorite activities are fly-camping, going to back-country lodges for breakfast, and our semi-annual trips through Canada to Alaska in the spring and back in the fall.
Vice President, Government Affairs
William C. "Bill" Miller enlisted in the Air National Guard while still in high school, and served 38 years. During that time he worked in many positions from aircraft maintenance to Director of Operations and most everything in between, eventually retiring in 1996 as a Colonel. "Aside from four years as a maintenance technician in the 1960s, my Idaho Air Guard career was as a part-timer," he says. To understand his aviation history you can read his recently published book, First Class...Or Not At All: Idaho Air National Guard 1946-1975.
Bill has a BS degree in social science and a Masters in Public Administration. He was employed by the Idaho Transportation Department from 1973 to 1992 holding positions as Employee Training and Development Officer, Highway Safety Manager, and Aeronautics Administrator. He has flown as a private pilot and commercial pilot, with Commercial, Instrument, and Airline Transport ratings, and is an aircraft owner. Bill was a founding member and officer of several aviation and historical organizations, including the Idaho Military Historical Society and Idaho Aviation Hall Of Fame; and has been the past president of the IAA Treasure Valley Chapter.
Bill and his wife Stephanie raised three children, Chuck, Paul, and Sarah, and live in Boise Idaho.
Vice President, Activities
Jerry is a flight instructor with over 30 years' experience flying the Idaho Backcountry. His airplanes include a C-170, C-182, and C-206.
Vice President, Awards & Nominations
I was born and raised in Caldwell, Idaho and graduated from Boise State University. I started my flying career in the US Navy and retired from the Idaho Air National Guard and Alaska Airlines. My wife and I fly a C-185 in the central Idaho mountains and love to camp out with friends.
Vice President, Communications
I am an Idaho native and started flying at the age of 13 at Bradley Field. I am currently the owner of a 1957 Cessna 182A that I bought in 1983.
Vice President, Membership
I've always had a great interest in flying but didn't pursue flight lessons until I was 54 when my kids were raised and out of the house. My favorite passengers now are my grandkids and I don't think they'll wait as long as I did to take flying lessons. Flying the backcountry and the Treasure Valley area are my favorite recreation.
Vice President, Back Country Issues
While in high school in Glasgow, Montana, I was lucky to have a father who had a couple of airplanes and encouraged me to fly. College in St. Louis gave me an opportunity to increase my experience with flight instructing and some helicopter work. I had an intense interest in helicopters, but luckily the US Army kept me in OV-1 Mohawks, probably a much safer way to spend a tour in Southeast Asia.
After a number of years in corporate aviation, my wife encouraged me to look for a 185 and so began the "fun" part of my aviation life. After finding one, Renee and I tried to spend at least two weeks of vacation a year in the Idaho and Montana back country, and had such a wonderful time that we moved to Boise after retirement to continue our "Back Country" experience.
I was born in Los Angeles in 1959 to Danish parents who had come to America as a reprieve from the doldrums of postwar Europe. Initially intending to return "home" someday, my younger sister and I learned to speak, read, and write Danish fluently. Somewhere along the way my folks fell in love with America and became citizens.
My dad taught me to recognize all the commercial airline types; we used to stand at the approach end of the LAX runways with jets landing just over our heads-to this day I love the smell of Jet-A! As a teen, my friend's brother told tales of landing his Piper Cub on "mountaintops" in Idaho. It seemed like an impossible dream.
Always in love with animals, my Biology major at UC San Diego focused on animal behavior, but I later fell into bodybuilding, winning the Natural Bodybuilding World Cup in 1991 and training Hollywood-industry clients. I'll stop lifting weights sometime after I'm dead.
I met my husband Fred in 1994-when he mentioned he was a pilot I was hooked! We rented planes and then purchased a Robertson STOL-equipped C-210 in 1997 and had it painted Danish red & white. We took our three kids everywhere in that plane, often to Lake Powell, but when I read about the IAA and Galen Hanselman's Fly Idaho! in Pilot Getaways magazine, the old spark burst into flame. We made the Idaho dream a reality when Fred set the 210 down at Wilson Bar, Johnson Creek, and Fish Lake. Spying on moose, salmon, and other wildlife, those were perhaps the happiest days of my life.
With about 1,000 unloggable hours in our plane, including all types of weather, I finally got my license in 2003. A few months later we met a pilot-M.D. in Nelson, B.C. who later for some unknown reason asked me to edit his travelogue of northern Idaho. Mentioning this in a chance conversation with Pilot Getaways' Editor, John Kounis, he offered me a job with my favorite magazine, which I have been writing and editing for ever since. We never miss a chance to promote backcountry aviation.
Recently we sold our 210 to fund my husband's start-up health supplement business and moved to: Idaho!-settling in rural Hidden Springs, just north of Boise. We look forward to exploring Idaho's natural wonders, expanding our friendships with Idaho aviators, and purchasing a more backcountry-appropriate aircraft.
I mention all these events because it's interesting for each of us to look back on our lives and see how one thing leads to another, often by the slimmest thread. Share your flying stories or take a kid up for a flight; you never know what kind of spark you may ignite.