FMA Ambassadors Generate Activity Through Communication
ambassador – a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified group/activity
(Download the FMA Ambassador Outline)
Are you involved in your local aviation and or music community? Become a FMA Ambassador! As an ambassador for FMA, you will familiarize yourself with your organization in order to confidently communicate with others the benefits of the FMA Network. Contact your regional ambassador to become involved TODAY.

  • Northwest (Louise Vickerman) – AK, CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA, WY
    (Join the FMA-NW email list!)
    Louise Vickerman was appointed Principal Harpist of The Utah Symphony/Utah Opera in 1999 and has been a featured soloist with the orchestra on a number of occasions, most recently being the Utah premiere of Mark Adamo’s “Four Angels” where she was praised by the Salt Lake Tribune for her “powerful impassioned performance”. She has also appeared as soloist with the San Antonio Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, The Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square, on BBC & Norwegian National radio & at the Heidelberg Castle Festival in Germany. Prior to her appointment in Utah, she was formerly Principal Harp for the San Antonio Symphony & The New World Symphony in Miami. Originally from Glasgow Scotland, she regularly appeared with all of Scotland’s major orchestras including The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony & Scottish Chamber Orchestra before moving to the US in 1993. She has performed at major festivals worldwide including the Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, BBC London Proms, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and regularly plays Principal Harp for The Grand Teton Music Festival, WY.
    More at Utah Symphony
    Louise Vickerman is a commercial single/multi instrument rated pilot with glider privileges.
    • Colorado (David Peel) – CO
      One of the best-loved solo entertainers anywhere, David Peel generates energy and excitement everywhere he performs. He’s the consummate one-man band! A versatile singer/guitarist with a remarkable career stretching from his native Nashville roots to Hollywood..to Las Vegas…to Branson and finally to his home in the Colorado Rockies. For the past 8 years, he’s been the featured entertainer for a sleigh-ride dinner theatre in Frisco, Colorado. (Two Below Zero Dinner Sleigh Rides). David also specializes in corporate and social events, both large and small. An avid aviation enthusiast, he performs at aviation events whenever possible.
      “My passions are simple…The stage…my guitar…and anything aviation”
    • Montana (Perry Chinn) – MT
      Perry Chinn is a (mostly) retired chiropractor living in Trego, MT with his wife Melanie. He has most recently practiced chiropractic in Seattle and is currently spending his time consulting, keynote motivational speaking and conducting nutrition and chiropractic related seminars. He is also having fun acting as a sales representative SeaDek Marine flooring and selling boats for Whitefish Marine and PowerSports in Whitefish, MT.
      Music experience includes 15 years singing tenor with the Seattle Symphony Chorale and is currently singing first tenor with the Glacier Symphony Chorale. He is currently organizing an a cappella vocal group in the Flathead area. Dr. Chinn is the author of two books, Soaring Beyond Fear and Symphony of Wellness. His instrumental pursuits include guitar, saxophone and building Native American flutes.
      He has recently completed building a SeaRey Elite amphibian and is looking forward to extensively exploring the backcountry and waterways of the magnificent country we live in.
      Perry is the proud father of four boys, three step-daughters and four grandchildren. His flying experience includes fixed wing SEL and SES, helicopter CFI, tailwheel endorsement and SeaRey manufacturer.
      Learn more at www.PerryChinn.com
  • Southwest(Jay Mason) – AZ, CA, HI, NV
    (Join the FMA-SW email list!)
    Jay Mason is studio and live performance musician in the greater Los Angeles area, and a flight instructor with airplane single and multi-engine, and instrument privileges. He has performed on soundtracks for numerous motion picture, television and video game productions, notably The SpongeBob Movie, Frozen, Adventures of Tin Tin, World or Warcraft, Diabolo, and the Tonight Show. He is a member of the recent Grammy-winning ensemble The Big Phat Band, and he is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU, Long Beach and Concordia University, Irvine. As a pilot he has owned two aircraft, given more the 2400 hours of dual instruction, earned a Gold Seal on his CFI, and serves on the FAASTeam as a volunteer presenter for the WINGS proficiency programs. He is married with two children, and most enjoys the opportunities to combine the need for travel for musical performance with his ability as a pilot to fly himself (and other musicians) to gigs.
    As a FMA Ambassador, Jay hopes that musical pilots, and aviation-minded musicians, will contact him from within his region to put together performances and make a presence at aviation events.
    • California ( Ali Miller ) – CA
      A native of Baltimore, MD, Alexandra brings over 25 years of musical experience to the stage. A classically trained harpist, recitalist, & teacher, she specializes in French Romantic,Baroque, Jazz, and Pop music. Alexandra is an advocate of musician health and wellness, having wrote her masters thesis on incorporating wellness techniques into harp pedagogy. While enjoying solo recitals, Alexandra is most comfortable performing with organ, wind ensembles, orchestras, chamber groups, and rock bands. She has recorded with the rock band Mimsy, as well as on Naxos with the Christ Church Schola Cantorum. Alexandra received her Bachelors of Music in harp performance from the Eastman School of Music (’12) under the tutelage of Kathleen Bride and her Masters of Music Education from Old Dominion University (’15) with Barbara Chapman. During her masters, she appeared regularly with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Falletta. When not performing, Alexandra can be found working with her husband on their RV-8, designing for Home in the Hangar, or exposing her infant son to aviation and music. Alexandra and her husband enjoy anything aviation related, moving wherever the Navy sends them, along with sharing the world with their son and Siberian husky, Katdog.
  • South Central ( Bruce Dunai – acting) – AR, IA, KS, LA, MO, NE, NM, OK, TX
    (Join the FMA-SC email list!)
    • Iowa ( Scott Sky Smith ) – IA
      Scott Sky Smith grew up flying model aircraft and helicopters and transitioned into full size aircraft while still in high school. He has been a licensed, single and multi-engine pilot since 1975.
      Since 1985, Sky Smith has been an independent specialty insurance agent offering Wings, Wheels and Watercraft insurance specializing in aircraft, drones, custom and collector cars, motorcycles, boats and more, nationwide.
      Sky Smith is also a nationally recognized writer and speaker. His books: How To Buy A Skymaster, How To Buy A Single-Engine Airplane, Ultimate Boat Maintenance Projects, How To Build A Hot Tuner Car, are published by MotorBooks International and available at bookstores or online.
      You can read his current columns and features in: Pilot Getaways, STOL Aircraft, Kitplanes, Cessna Owners, Piper Owners and Pontoon and Deckboat Magazines.
      Sky Smith’s speaking topics include boat, aircraft and drone ownership issues such as the cost of ownership, selecting, financing and of course, insurance.
      Follow Scott Sky Smith on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.
      Visit SkySmith.com
    • Missouri ( Dave Williford ) – MO
      Dave Williford is a piano/ keys session player and producer living in Jefferson City MO with his wife Becky. Together Dave and Becky operate a small publishing company and recording studio specializing in soundtracks and demos for country and gospel songwriters. Dave obtained his private pilot certificate in 2011 and often shares his passion for flying, music and missions with young people at concerts and events. In 2014 Dave and Becky became official music ambassadors for Mission Aviation Fellowship. Dave recently released a Piano Instrumental CD entitled “The Drive Home” and is currently working on a Christian country vocal album to be released in the spring of 2016.
      “I am excited to work with John and the Flying Musicians organization and look forward to networking with fellow Missouri pilots to grow our membership and encourage young people to pursue the joy of flying and music!”
      Visit WillifordMusic.com
  • North Central ( John Vining ) – IL, IN, MI, MN, ND, OH, SD, WI
    (Join the FMA-NC email list!)
    Spearheading FMA’s Jam at Oshkosh for the last three years, John Vining’s commitment to music and fellow musicians is extraordinary.
    John has worked in factories, the garment district, sung for two Presidents, got a pilot’s license, sailed a bunch of different boats all over the great lakes and on the Atlantic, once sailed a windsurfer from Huntington NY to Norwalk CT and back, started an Opera company, sang at Lincoln Center, directed a lot of musicals, taught a whole bunch of kids to sing and love music.
    In addition to being a life time volunteer at AirVenture, John has become a go-to-guy at OSH for interviews and musical performances. Contact John to assist at OSH or in the North Central Region.
    • Michigan ( Josh Homet ) – MI
      Josh is currently a Captain on the Gulfstream G-450 for Flexjet LLC. He’s a 2008 graduate of Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation flight program. Josh then moved on to aerial survey to start his career. After only one season he moved into flying cargo around North America. After 7 years of on-demand freight hauling, he moved into fractional ownership corporate aviation with Flexjet. Josh has a long background in music/performing from his childhood school years. This included both instrumental (Saxophone) and various vocal groups. More recently, he stays involved with music by playing cajon and singing for his local church. He currently lives near KPTK with his wife, Becky and dog, Maggy.
      • Michigan ( Aaron Smokovitz – student ambassador)
        I was born and raised in Midland, Michigan, to a family with deep roots in both music and aviation. My Grandfather was a trumpet player (I play his trumpet for gigs now and then), and owned and piloted a Cessna 195, which is still in my Uncle’s hangar. My Uncle, a pilot as well, is now the chief mechanic of Delta airlines out of Detroit Metro, and still plays the flute, religiously playing with the EAA band at Oshkosh every year. My Dad kept the same roots, however leaned the other way. He is also a pilot, and was my band director up until last year, now retired. That is just my immediate family, the story is more or less the same for my cousins as well.
        I am currently attending Delta College, planning to attend Oakland University in the future. I hope to one day fly to pay the bills. I have worked hard and had fun with music my whole life, and as of the summer of 2017, have been diving full speed ahead into the aviation world, thanks to the FMA Solo Program. I now am a student pilot, working closer and closer to a private pilot certificate. I have more hobbies than can be named, and am currently building a Legal Eagle ultralight with a 1/2 VW engine. I look forward to becoming more involved in the aviation community, much like I have the music community.
      • Michigan ( Nathan Nothelle – student ambassador) – MI
        My name is Nathan Nothelle and I’m a 17 year old senior from Imlay City Michigan. My passion in music goes way back to the four stringed guitar I found in my barn when I was five, and has only escalated since I learned to play when I was 10. My real musical career began in 2010 when I picked up a trumpet for our beginning elementary band. I played trumpet all the way through middle school and learned the real meaning between passion and determination.
        Going into high school, I auditioned for our top band and began my real study. I was placed lead and section leader in my marching band and concert band my sophomore year. Since then I’ve taken great pride in tutoring students of all ages in all of the brass instruments I’ve learned including trumpet, horn, euphonium, trombone, and tuba. Some of my favorite experiences over the past four years have been playing in 14 various college honors bands, playing for my high schools concert band and wind ensemble, playing for many jazz ensembles, community bands, and so many more that I could go on forever. This year I’ve completed 51 performances so far!
        My passion in aviation dates back to when I took a flight down to florida when I was 9 and I was stunned by the absolute beauty of being up in the sky. Since that moment, all I ever want to do (besides play horn) is be in the air. My goal in aviation is to fly search and rescue missions with the United States Coast Guard. To reach my career goals, I am currently working on receiving my private pilot license from Flight 101 at KPTK to gain knowledge and accelerate my career. Before I apply to become an officer, I plan to complete a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology from Western Michigan University. While attending school, I’ll devote as much time as I have available to the USCG Aux Air as I’ve recently joined as an observer. Currently, my line of work before I ship off to school includes my day job as a custom fabricator for a local diesel and body shop, my night job as an equipment maintainer for a farm, and my many students that I continue to try and inspire with music as it’s inspired me.
        Happy flying!
    • Minnesota ( Ron Beitel ) – MN
      Ronald Beitel is an active soloist, chamber music artist, and horn class clinician. As a soloist, he has appeared with a The National Arts Chamber Orchestra, The San Antonio Symphony, The Salt Lake Symphony, The Vivaldi by Candlelight Orchestra in Salt Lake City, and the Sheboygan Symphony. As a chamber musician, Mr. Beitel has appeared with numerous friends and colleagues around the country, most recently on the Nova and Intermezzo series in Utah, and Manhattan to the Mountains at Snow College and Southern Utah University. During the last 32 years, his music career as an orchestral artist has included positions with The Utah Symphony for 18 years, The San Antonio for 9 years, and The Memphis Symphony and The Ohio Chamber Orchestra for one season each. He has also performed, recorded, and toured with The Cleveland Orchestra, and The Houston Symphony. Now a resident of Rochester, Minnesota, his musical activities are varied, including composing and arranging music for horn, teaching private lessons, chamber music and local solo appearances.
      Ron started flying in 2009 after another FMA artist Louise Vickerman took him on a short flight around the Great Salt Lake in her Cessna 150. After receiving his private pilot license in 2009, his aviation enthusiasm flew him all over the intermountain west, the southwest, and California. Often, when the Utah Symphony was touring regionally in Utah, Ron would fly on the tours because most of the small towns and cities where the symphony would perform were also served by general aviation airports. Some memorable flights that were music related included trips to St. George, Utah with scenic flights over The Grand Canyon and Bryce Canton before heading home at the end of the trip, and a trip to Burbank California to visit horn builder Mark Atkinson. Now living in Minnesota, Ron flew two recent music related missions, one to St. Paul for a rehearsal with The Minnesota Opera, and one to retrieve and instrument for horn builder and repairman Wes Hatch.
      Ron spends the remainder of his time domestically; raising his daughter, gardening, cooking, and providing domestic support for his wife who works long hours as a laboratory pathologist. In his free time, he enjoys building thing, having most recently built a doll house, and looking toward building a boat or even and airplane in the future.
    • Ohio ( Don Bilbrey ) – OH
      “If you hit the right notes, the toes start tapping.”
      I have a band here in Georgetown Ohio. We are a 3 piece. Our band Name is (Blue Spirit) I play Guitar and sing. Our sets are 60-70 rock n roll. I’ve been playing for many years. I own a Cherokee 140, I fly as often as I can. I live at the GEO Airport. Looking forward to new opportunities to express my music and perform with other musicians.
      • Ohio ( John Laughman – student ambassador) – OH
        My name is John Laughman and I am honored to be one of the 2018 Flying Musician Solo recipients. This scholarship will go a long way toward helping me full fill my dreams of working in the aviation field. I am currently a senior in high school and have been taking classes to become a certified aviation mechanic. I am getting ready to take my test to become a certified A & P. I have always had a love for music and have spent the last six years playing the sousaphone, bass guitar, and trumpet. Being involved in my high school marching band and pep band has taught me numerous lessons about responsibility, leadership, and discipline all of which are necessary to work in the aviation field.
        I discovered my love for flying a few summers ago when I helped out my uncle at the airport that he owns in Philipsburg, Ohio. I would mow the airport and did odd jobs; in exchange he would take my flying. With this scholarship I will be able to get my solo pilot’s license and work toward getting my private pilot’s license, and then work towards my professional pilot’s license. I plan on attending Sinclair Community college in the fall to get my professional pilot’s degree. I can’t express to you how much the Flying Musician scholarship will help me in reaching my dreams. I look forward to many adventures thanks to the support of my fellow music and aviation enthusiast.
  • Northeast ( Gregory Knowles ) – CT, DE, MA, ME, MD, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
    (Join the FMA-NE email list!)
    Greg Knowles is based just north of NYC. On the music side, he holds a doctorate in music and is a Professor of Music at The Julliard School. Starting as a touring and session drummer, Greg has been a record producer since the 1980’s. He co-owns Bimperl Entertainment, which is a multi-platinum artist development company. He spent 15 years as a Governor, Trustee, and 3 terms as L.A. President of the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards).
    On the flying side, he holds an ATP for AMEL, CE-500, DC-3S, and Ford Tri-motor type ratings; Commercial for ASEL, ASMES, Heli, Inst. Heli, and glider. He is a CFI – ASME, Heli, Inst. Airplane and Helicopter. He owned a Cessna dealership in Los Angeles, and now is a Check Airman based out of Hudson Valley Regional Airport. He is also a FAASTeam member, and does several Wings programs each year.
    • Coastal Mid-Atlantic ( Jeff Auen ) – DE, MD, NJ
      Jeff Auen (W48 in Essex, MD) has been playing guitar most of his life. He’s the owner of the Baltimore Guitar School and has toured and performed in a comedy musical duo called “Change of Pace” since 1982. He recently completed construction of a Lockwood AirCam, called the “GuitarCam” because of the tail art. It is housed with another AirCam at Essex Skypark in a newly constructed hangar known as the Speakeasy, an homage to it’s interesting and controversial history. Jeff is married with two boys, Jack and Nick, both students and musicians. He regularly makes the flight between W48 and KOBI near Avalon, NJ.
      Jeff regularly hosts and attends song circles and jams around the Baltimore area. He is looking forward to combining his love of flying with his love of music and encourages anyone in the region to contact him directly. Some hangar hootenannies are in the works.
  • Southeast ( Karen Baskin ) Acting– AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
    (Join the FMA-SE email list!)
    Hanging out in the Clarinet section of the Craven Community Concert Band; I’m still in touch with my 6th grade beginner band director, high school and college bandies through Facebook. After a New Year’s Eve Jam at Marcia and Gus’, I fell in love with the bass Ukulele. I know there’s a Bass Player within! Mentored from afar by Marcia, I have three ukulele chords and the up and down strum tackled. As a Charter Member of AWAM and an Airframe Certificate holder; have most of my flight hours flying as a CFI, CFII, MEI, and ATP out of KLIT, Central Flying Service. These days, I’m a renter at KEWN, Tradewind Aviation. My military career started as an enlisted C-130E mechanic, later commissioned Maintenance Officer and retired in 2009 from the Air Force Reserves, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC.
    My current gig is working for the Navy as an Engineer at the Vertical Lift Center of Excellence (VLCOE) in Eastern North Carolina.
    I’m very excited about the opportunity to share my Aviation and Music Passions through Flying Musicians Association!
    • Florida ( Marcia Buckingham ) – FL
      Marcia Buckingham is a pilot and mechanic who plays bass, mandolin and piano. She owned and operated her own airport in Florida before becoming a mechanic and then inspector on the Space Shuttle. Now that that chapter has come to an end, she has more time to enjoy her musical passion. She participates in several collaborations, covering a variety music genres.
    • South Carolina ( Denny Kotz ) – SC
      I was born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio. I grew up loving airplanes and going to air-shows, but I didn’t know any pilots and did not receive my first airplane ride until I flew from Cleveland, Ohio to San Diego, Cal. when I entered Navy Boot Camp in 1969. I started playing guitar in 1963, I received my first guitar at Christmas and heard the first Beatles song the following February. I joined a band in High School as a rhythm guitar player, and the group was good enough to be booked for a performance at the Erie Hullabaloo Club in Erie, PA. I was being drafted and enlisted in the Navy for 6 years. After the Navy, I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. I moved to South Carolina to work at a Government Owned Contractor Operated Facility in Aiken, South Carolina where I worked until I retired. I started performing again at local open mic events and fell back in love with performing, this time including my singing. I do solo performances and also perform with a good friend, also named Dennis, as the Group Double D. After a lifetime of putting it off for another time, my wife bought me an introductory Flight Lesson a few years ago. It took me two years to earn my Private Certificate, and in November 2014 I purchased a Piper Cherokee 180E.
    • Tennessee ( Gary Piper ) – TN
      Gary is a retired Oakland Firefighter (CA) who after retiring in 1989 moved to Nashville, TN to follow his songwriting interests. He appeared on the Television show 20/20 during a “Country Music Love Affair” episode, performing at the world famous Blue Bird Café. He is a volunteer with the T. J. Martell Foundation, which is the music industry’s fundraising avenue for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research, hosting events in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles and other locations. He took his first flying lesson in 1967 and regularly flies his 1940 Piper J-3 Cub and his wife’s 1967 Cessna 150.
  • Canada ( Mike Manny )
    (Join the Canadian email list!)
    Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mike Manny started taking piano lessons when he was 5 years old with the Humber College – Music Education for Children Program. He continued his music training throughout high school at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, post-secondary education at Humber College, and eventually, graduate studies at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
    After studying in New York, Mike returned to Toronto where he freelanced throughout Southern Ontario in various jazz settings and local Salsa bands. Working at the Toronto Faculty of Music, he was the conductor and music arranger of the Toronto All-Star Big Band for 10 years. After starting his military career in the Artillery Reserves, Mike transferred to the Regular Force as a full-time musician in Ottawa, Ontario, and was subsequently posted to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2009. As a musician in the Canadian Armed Forces, he has travelled the world performing music.
    Throughout his life, Mike had always dreamed of obtaining his pilot’s license. Without putting it off any further, he started flying at Rockcliffe Flying Club, Rockcliffe Airport (CYRO) in 2008, while posted to Ottawa – Canada’s capital city. Upon being posted to Winnipeg in 2009, he has continued his flying adventures from Harv’s Air at St. Andrews Airport (CYAV). He is frequently in the skies taking friends and family up for city tours within Winnipeg, or for jaunts around the province in search of new places to visit and new sights to see.
    As a Regular Force military member Mike volunteers with a local air cadet squadron — the 170 “St. James” Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron (RCACS) — Mike teaches the cadets proper drill, dress, and deportment. However most importantly, he is the administrator of the squadron’s Power Familiarization Program where he regularly takes cadets flying in order to encourage them into aviation, and possibly inspire them to get their own pilot’s license.
    Mike has remained in Winnipeg with a posting to The Regional Cadet Support Unit (Northwest) in 2015 as a Training Support Coordinator NCM. Although not currently playing with the military band, he continues to perform as an in-demand, professional musician in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas. Although he prefers ‘straight-ahead’ jazz, his huge appreciation of other genres of music allows him to move comfortably thorough various styles giving audiences a diverse musical experience.
    Check out Mike’s official website at: www.mikemanny.com
  • Mexico & Caribbean ( Kassiano Smith )
    (Join the Mexican & Caribbean email list!)
    Kassiano is a bilingual, Jamaican-born singer, songwriter, fine artist, holistic teacher and motivational life coach who has lived in Mexico for most of his life. His performances, which punctuate with spontaneity and a stage presence that commanded the full attention of his audiences, won him the “JFM Best New Artist Award” in 1990 .
    In 1992 Kassiano moved to Mexico, learned Spanish, and landed a successful four-year, three album deal with Emi – Music Records. He has performed alongside Paul Anka ,Julio Iglesias,Juan Gabriel, Los Pericos from Argentina and recently Rick Ross, Beenie man , Lee “Scratch” Perry and Kymani Marley at the High Vibes Reggae Festival.
    His mega hits, “Ay Cosita Linda “ and “bote de Bananas” ,gave way to performances at international events such as the Miss Mexico World Beauty Pageant, Siempre en Domingo, Oktoberfest, The Acapulco 96 and 97 Festivals, Merida Carnival, Coca Cola Tour, Veracruz Carnival , Hard Rock Live, CNN latino , Telemundo and the annual Teleton, a benefit concert for disabled children and the Terry Fox Run.
    Kassiano earned his pilot certificate in 1994 and has single, multi and instrument ratings and owns a Cessna 310 that he flies to his shows in Mexico and the Caribbean.
    He is the owner and creator of Real de Talpa, a 180 acre holistic resort being built, close to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and transmit a message of peace and harmony in his music while helping young musicians get their pilot certificates.
    Check out Kassiano’s official website at: www.Kassiano.com