Brett Wickizer  |  CK Aero Co-Founder & Chief Pilot

I began flying models at the age of 9. My dad was looking for a hobby to get into with my older brother and I, and he decided he wanted to build and fly a remote control airplane. I think he was mostly interested in building the thing, he got the LT-40 kit so he could see the pile of sticks slowly become an airplane over time. When he finished it my brother and I spent months on the buddy box but never got proficient enough to solo; I think my dad was glad that he knew how the thing was built, because he certainly had to fix it enough times!

After a good portion of time with little success, we moved on to racing cars and spent several weekends at the track. I had some mild success at the track but it never "bit" me like flying did. Eventually RealFlight simulator was released, which my dad purchased, and I was ready for the flying field in no time. After years away from the flying field, I went back with some RealFlight simulator time under my belt and had no issues handling the airplane by myself. That is really where my story begins.

I was soon flying sport planes, small scale aerobatic airplanes, 3D airplanes, large scale aerobatic airplanes, etc. Much of my effort in those days was dedicated to 3D flying. Like most kids that age, I loved to see the airplane close to the ground, doing things airplanes weren't supposed to do. Eventually though, around the age of 15, I was losing satisfaction with the pursuit of how low I could get to the ground. I needed a bigger challenge, a goal to work towards when I flew. Naturally, I looked towards competition and naturally, I gravitated towards IMAC and freestyle. However, there wasn't much IMAC in my area and Don Ramsey, our current United States judge for the world championships, was a member of my club so I had the support for pattern if I needed it. So I thought to myself, "what the hell, I'll just fly pattern to start."

I was hooked right away. Since then I've been very successful with the help of too many people to count. I will point out that without the awesome support of my family, Bryan, and all of the wonderful people in NSRCA District 6 (South Central U.S.) there is no way I would have had the success that I've had in the short amount of time that I've had it.

Airplanes have always had a romance about them that excite me to this day. They are the ultimate convergence of man's genius and nature's elegance, and pattern, in my opinion, has always displayed that better than any other discipline. Pattern also satisfies my competitive tendencies. I love competition itself almost as much as I love flying; it has a way of stripping back all of the unnecessary "surface" of life, testing my character, focus, self-awareness, and dedication like no other activity can. F3A is the perfect melding of these two passions.

I'm excited that I can share these passions through CK Aero and I hope that my insights will help someone out there to be a better pilot and a better competitor.