Dan "Taz" Christman @Chrisairaviation
This month's Aviator Spotlight shines its light on Taz Christman; a 20 year Air Force Veteran Pilot and the 2018 FAA CFI of the year! Taz is a proficient Aerobatics pilot, a helicopter pilot, and just so much more that you will have to see for yourself. Taz has a unique aviation story riddled with challenges and obstacles he overcame. As such, Taz is a shining example as someone who gives back to the aviation community and why we wanted to share his story.
Follow Taz to see his fantastic aviation content: @chrisairaviation and his youtube channel "Taz Christman".
Read along with Taz's one-of-a-kind story as he tells it in his own words...
Taz Christman's story in his own words:
As a young kid growing up in northern Indiana, I always knew I wanted to be a pilot. My father was in the Air Force Reserves and would regularly take me to the base to see the planes. I had every model plane and could vis rece any plane that flew overhead by the time I was 9 or 10. When I was 11 my parents bribed me, saying that if I made the honor roll, they would pay for flying lessons. It worked, and I have been hooked ever since.
A family friend was the president of the Mentone Flying Club which was based in our hometown of Rochester Indiana. He would routinely pick me up at precisely 5:32am every Saturday to take me out to breakfast with the club members and then over to the hangar to work on the planes and do some flying. Most of the members out aged me by about 30 years.They didn’t mind having me around, and I learned so much from them. I started taking flying lessons soon after I turned 11. I would get about 1 lesson every month until a few months before my 16th birthday. By the time my birthday arrived I was ready. It was a cold February morning, and the winds were forecasted to pick up by 9 am. So we planned to arrive at 6 am and try to be done before the winds arrived. Everything went off without a hitch. I actually soloed at 6:54 am, which was almost a full hour before I was born. So technically I wasn’t quit 16 yet. After another year of training, I received my Private Pilot Certificate at age 17.
Following High school, I attended Vincennes University where I majored in Professional Flight Technology. While there I earned my Commercial Instrument SEL and MEL as well as my Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) and my Instrument Instructor (CFII). Post CFI training, I was asked to teach the aerobatic course the following two semesters in the schools Super Decathlon. I transferred to Purdue University for my Junior and Senior years. While at Purdue I earned my Multi-engine Instructor (MEI), Commercial Glider, Commercial Single Engine Sea, as well as my Flight Engineer Turbojet Certificate. I also gained experience flying the King Air 200 and the Beechcraft 400.
" We were told all aircraft were being directed to land immediately. "
During my weekends at college, I would drive the 5 hours back home to instruct at my hometown flying club. After graduating from Purdue, I became the Chief Flight Instructor at the Mentone Flying Club and a part time co-pilot on a Sabreliner 40. During this time, I had been offered a first officer position with Chautauqua Airlines (now Republic Airways) and was actively pursuing a position with the Indiana Air National Guard. On September 11th, 2001, we were overhead Indianapolis, returning to our home airport from Sarasota FL in the Sabreliner when we were told to land immediately at KIND. We were told all aircraft were being directed to land immediately. We were within about 10 min of our home airport, and they allowed us to continue to our destination.