I then went to work flying for Great American Airways out of Reno. I worked there for five years flying the DC-9 and
MD-80 series aircraft. It was during this period when I attended our twenty year reunion and ran into Bonnie Van
Dyke. A year after the reunion, Bonnie and I were married in Reno. The following year we were blessed with a baby
girl (Anne Kayla Gillette).
During April of 1997 Great American went out of business. We purchased an accounting firm for Bonnie and a
After three years we decided to sell both businesses. Bonnie and I both had job offers in Florida. So, we packed our
stuff and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. Bonnie went to work for a CPA firm and I went to work for Southeast
Airlines flying the MD-88.
After two years, I went to work for Allegiant Air flying the MD-82, MD-83 and MD-87. Again, we packed our stuff and
moved to Fresno, California. Bonnie went to work for another CPA firm and I helped Allegiant Air get their approval
for international over water flights. After all of the paperwork for the FAA was in order, we packed our stuff (AGAIN)
and moved to Denver, Colorado. While in Denver I was promoted to a Check Airman position. Basically that made
me responsible for training pilots for international over water flying, conducting initial operating experience for
new hire pilots, and conducting line checks on new hire and recurrent training pilots. I was also flying the line as a
Captain full time.
During March of 2005, Allegiant Air notified the Denver base that our contract with Apple Vacations was coming to
an end and there were no plans to extend the contract. I was offered the Orlando/Sanford base Chief Pilot position
for the airlines new Orlando base. So, we moved back to Florida again. Housing in Florida at the time was hard to
find, so we ended up buying a nice house in a golf course community, even though we didn't golf. I was thinking
we ought to buy a golf cart anyway, just to fit in. We ended up making lot's of friends and had a lot of good
After two years in Florida, we decided it was time to go home to Montana. I stepped down from the
Orlando/Sanford Chief Pilot position and took a position the training department. My duties were to train new hire
and Captain upgrade pilots in the flight simulator, conduct Check Rides in the flight simulator, and all of the Check
Airman duties on the line.
In May of 2008 I took my old Florida position back, but was going to travel back and forth from Montana for work.
The position had grown from the Orlando/Sanford Chief Pilot position to the East Coast Chief Pilot while I was
On June 15, 2011, I stepped down from the East Coast Chief Pilot position for the last time and returned to the
training department. I also served as a tech or special assignment pilot, which means test flying aircraft that come
out of heavy checks/inspections.
And finally, effective July 11, 2013 I retired from the airline. Life is good!!
Annie was born March 21, 1997 in Butte, Montana on the
morning of Vernal Equinox, with Comet Hale-Bopp high
overhead in the sky. She has already lived in Butte, Bozeman
and Belgrade, Montana, Clearwater, Tampa and DeBary,
Florida, Fresno, California and Denver, Colorado. Annie is
currently a freshman at Bozeman High School in Bozeman,
Montana. Annie is also a level 7 gymnast and is very
competitive, earning lot's of medals.
Personal Web Site
After graduating from Bozeman High School (yes I did), I spent several years
practicing the art of ski bum, trouble maker, hot rod engine builder, etc. I
finally decided the best way to go really fast and stay out of trouble was to fly
airplanes. So, off to Reno I went, where I trained for and started my flying
career in 1980 with Summit Engineering Corporation out of Reno, Nevada. I
was with Summit for twelve years flying several corporate airplanes.
Heather & Tanner Stapp
Heather was born May 6, 1984 in Reno, Nevada. She grew up in
Reno and Sonora, California. Heather graduated high school in
2002 in Sonora. She began her college career in Sonora and
finished it at a Christian University in Southern California.
Heather got married to Tanner Stapp on September 10, 2011.
Heather and Tanner now reside in Lewisville, Texas.Tanner is a
Captain American Eagle.
Rudy was born on August 12th, 2006 in DeLand, Florida. His
registered name is LeFires Rudy Valentino. Rudy weighs in at
just under 8 pounds and is all alpha male.