Meet the Founder of Sierra Charlie Aviation
With a pilot grandfather and flight attendant mother, one would think Scott Campbell, founder of Sierra Charlie Aviation, would have developed an interest in aviation at an early age. Instead, he intended to pursue a career as a firefighter! It would not be until 2004 when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps that he would discover his passion for flying.
While at Pensacola Naval Air Station for Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) school, where he graduated at the top of his class, Scott initially handled aircraft recovery on land-based systems. But it was an introductory flight in a T-34 Mentor, the initial trainer aircraft for Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps pilots, that would inspire him to become a pilot.
Scott completed his enlisted contract in the Marine Corps, serving four years on active duty in Japan and Iraq. He then went on to complete the aviation degree program and flight training at Arizona State University in Tempe.
He spent two years as a flight instructor (for a competitor) and then moved to Juneau, Alaska, where he worked as a bush pilot for Alaska Seaplanes, a Part 135 air charter company that flies passengers, cargo, groceries, mail and supplies to remote communities throughout Southeast Alaska. For many pilots, bush piloting is the ultimate in aviation.
The weather and terrain in Southeast Alaska are famously rugged and unpredictable, and Scott learned many valuable skills there that he now passes along to his students. “I had read about special VFR, seen forecasts of high winds and reduced visibility, but had never flown in it. None of the flight instructors who trained me would fly when the winds were more than about 10 knots. But I think it’s important for students to learn those skills, too. It’s not always calm out, with unlimited visibility.”
Back in Scottsdale, Arizona, Scott formed Sierra Charlie Aviation to share his joy of flying with others and help make the dream of flight come true for as many students as possible in a fun, inviting environment.
He remembers his first flight and first solo like it was yesterday, and still gets a thrill from taking people up on their first flight. “Learning to fly is an incredibly rewarding and life changing experience,” says Scott, and he enjoys watching the personal development of his students as they gain confidence as pilots.
Today, Scott flies because it’s fun – pure and simple. He starts each day with his personal mantra – “It’s a great day to be a pilot!”
Described by students as knowledgeable, courteous, friendly, and “a very well-rounded instructor,” he has been recognized as the Best Flight Instructor in the Southwest Region by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and Sierra Charlie Aviation has been honored as one of the top flight schools in the country.
Scott currently holds his SEL, SES, MEL Commercial Pilot, Instrument Airplane, and CFI and MEI Flight Instructor Certificates.
When he’s not in the office or in the air with a student, you’ll find him at the ice rink playing hockey, piloting his new aerobatic plane and preparing for the Xtreme Decathlon, or enjoying every minute he can spend flying with his wife, Melise, a fellow pilot, and their year-old twin sons.