This word sums up the actions that our organization wishes to take in the interest of keeping our Warbirds safely flying with a viable, transparent set of guidelines to help us along the way. In essence, we wish to "do unto ourselves before something less than desirable is done to us." We want to help create a truly safe environment through continuing education and professional action.
There is no denying that the high-visibility of Warbird accidents in recent years have affected all owners and operators, not to mention just the devastating impact of the overall economic climate. The APWO was formed to give its members a place to convene, share, plan, and voice their collective wisdom in a manner that is professional, transparent, and sustainable.
"To create and maintain the highest level of professionalism across the entire spectrum of warbird operations"
We will use our combined knowledge to educate and increase the competency of our members thereby reducing risk and ensuring the survivability and sustainability of Warbird air crews and aircraft.
This is a broad-ranging initiative, and our intent is to provide valuable resources to Warbird owners, operators, individuals who fly for others, corporations, museums, airshow producers, airbosses, and virtually any entity that forms any component of the Warbird community.
“The history of Warbirds and what they mean to this country is a rich one. They helped set a foundation for today’s passion, and we need to come together to help APWO protect and promote these treasured aircraft.”
- Mark Baker, CEO and President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
"It is critical for our industry that we all come together to focus on safety and operations. Our future depends on it"
- Fred Bell, Vice Chairman, Palm Springs Air Museum
"Warbirds are an important link to the roots of our country's freedom and military heritage. APWO's advocacy for responsible operation and maintenance practices is crucial."
- Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO-6)
"EAA's history is rich with the stories and heritage of Warbirds and their caretakers. Our very origins stem from the love for aviation that our founder, Paul Poberezny, discovered as a flight instructor during WWII. His commitment to the men and women who labor tirelessly to keep Warbirds and antiques in airworthy status is legendary, and we are proud to endorse the efforts of the Association of Professional Warbird Operators as they work to promote and ensure the safe ownership and operation of these important historical aircraft."
-Jack Pelton, CEO/Chairman, Experimental Aircraft Association
John R. “Lites” Leenhouts loves all things aviation, and his enthusiasm is contagious. The retired Naval aviator recently retired after ten years as President and CEO of the Aerospace Center for Excellence, home of the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo.
Leenhouts obtained his private pilot license in 1970 and has accumulated more than 12,000 hours piloting various military, antique, and civilian aircraft. Commissioned an Ensign in March 1974, he was designated a Naval Aviator on August 22, 1975 at NAS Kingsville, Texas. Leenhouts primarily flew the A-7 Corsair, F-14 Tomcat, and the F/A-18 Hornet and holds the distinction of performing more landings (or “traps” in naval nomenclature) on an aircraft carrier than any other naval aviator in U.S. history with 1645 arrested landings. He retired from the Navy in 2001, as Commodore Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic.
After his retirement from the Navy, Leenhouts worked for over ten years for the Northrop Grumman Corporation as the F/A-18 MRO Program Manager in the Jacksonville, Florida area where he oversaw the modification, repair, and overhaul of all models of the F/A-18, including the Super Hornets.
In 2011, Lites came on board at SUN 'n FUN in 2011 and transformed it from a fly-in to a world-class education facility featuring the world's first purpose-built aerospace hands-on learning facility.
In his time out of the office, “Lites”, and wife Nancy, enjoy flying his 1964 Piper Comanche or 1930 Waco, driving antique British cars, or riding his Harley on the many back roads of our great nation.
Vice President, COO
Greg is a brand management and marketing expert who comes from an extensive and successful sales and marketing background in auto racing, wireless technology, and aviation. He owns Tailwind Enterprises, a consulting firm specializing in the branding, metric analysis, and marketing of airshows, performers, FBO’s, flight schools, and other aviation–related businesses.
He served as Chief Marketing Officer and Air Operations Director at SUN 'n FUN in Lakeland, Florida from 2013 - 2021. In addition to SUN ‘n FUN, Greg’s client list includes the Reno Air Racing Association, Navy Legacy Flight Foundation, Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Fagen Fighters WWII Museum, and many others. He has also managed two FBO’s.
Greg is a tailwheel-endorsed commercial pilot and holds an instrument rating in both single and multi-engine aircraft. His favorite aircraft to fly are the PT-17 and AT-6 / SNJ.
Greg began his career as an aviation insurance broker with Rollins Burdick
Hunter/Aon in 1982 and was an underwriter with USAIG for 6 years. He opened his own aviation insurance agency, Air Capital Insurance, in 2000 with his partner, Glenn Tate.
Greg is an accomplished pilot, obtaining his private pilot license at age 17 and adding Commercial, Instrument and Multi-engine ratings before he turned 20. He spent several years participating in airshows operating several of his own warbirds including a T-6, Casa HA200, Provost MK5, Iskra TS-11 and L-39. For 18 years, he owned and operated King Airs including a 90 and a 200. Greg continues to be an active pilot today.
His education includes an Associate in Business Aviation degree from Wichita State University and Bachelors in Business Administration and Bachelors in Industrial Management degrees from Kansas Newman University.
Greg is currently a Senior Vice President with Assured Partners Aerospace.
Hank has over thirty-four years of professional experience, nearly twenty-three of which were spent in the service as a member of the US Navy.
Upon retiring from the Navy in 2008, he became the Director of Quality Assurance and Emergency Engineering Solutions at an industrial construction firm serving in the Gulf Coast oil and gas industry. He led his staff to implement a superior quality management system and enhanced vocational training. In 2012, Hank returned to the field of aviation to become the President of Aerosim AFA, a multi-million-dollar flight training operation. There he built a team that delivered world-class flight training to those seeking to become fully qualified, professional airline pilots. It was in this role that he became committed to attracting more people to the field of aviation.
Hank is currently the president and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force(CAF). The CAF owns and operates 170 vintage military aircraft which are cared for by 12,000 members in more than 80 unit locations within the United States and four foreign countries. The organization continues on its mission to Educate, Inspire, and Honor through living history experiences.
Bob graduated from Arizona State University in 1972 and Naval War College in 1992. He retired from the USAF in 2004 as an Air Reserve Technician after 32 years of flying big airplanes and helicopters in Combat Rescue, Special Operations, and some tanker and transport tours. Additionally, Bob graduated from the USC safety management/accident investigation school and the Air Force aircraft mishap/accident investigation board president course. This training allowed him to participate in aircraft accident investigations in the USAF and General Aviation.
Subsequently, Bob went to work for the CAF as a consultant for operational and flight safety matters. He was hired as an employee in 2005, where he served as VP of Operations, Safety, and Maintenance, and retired as the interim President and CEO in 2018. In 2015 Bob led the effort to create the Living History Flight Experience (LHFE) Industry Group and is currently co-chair. Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors for the CAF and the new Association of Professional Warbird Operators (APWO).
Bob stays busy helping warbird operators update their policies and procedures to obtain waivers, LOAs, and exemptions from FAA rules and policies.
He is having a blast shooting Sporting Clays about once a week.
Sean joined the EAA Staff in April of 1996. Sean was assigned to lead EAA’s Aircraft Operations and Air Tours in 2000. In 2010, Sean was promoted to Vice President, Advocacy and Safety for EAA. As part of his senior level responsibilities, Sean has oversight of these Aircraft Operation programs and participates in the development and implementation of pilot training and standardization in EAA’s fleet. In addition, the aircraft maintenance department is part of his line of business at EAA. Oversight of a national B-17 tour, a national B-25 tour, national Ford Tri-Motor(s) tour, and the annual carriage of over 16,000 passengers are all part of what EAA accomplishes with its very special fleet of aircraft and is a significant part of Sean’s duties at EAA.
On the Government Advocacy side, Sean has the entire EAA government team under his leadership as well. With these responsibilities, he manages EAA’s government affairs offices at both EAA headquarters and in Washington, D.C. He and his team are responsible for reviewing and analyzing government policy on the federal, state, and local levels that affect recreational aviation, as well as advocacy for EAA members and private individuals who build and fly aircraft for recreation. As an example, Sean recently led the nation-wide DPE Reform Working Group within the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee and developed a series of recommendations for the overall improvement of DPEs for all levels of certification work.
With over 10,000 hours total time, Sean is a pilot, instructor, and examiner in most of EAA’s vintage and experimental fleet. He is a Specialty Aircraft Examiner and conducts type ratings in EAA’s B-17 and B-25. Some of the interesting aircraft that Sean has flown include: 1929 Ford 4-AT-E Tri-Motor, 1927 Ryan NYP “Spirit of St Louis Replica”, North American T-6, North American P-64 (experimental auth), Douglas DC-3 (type rated), North American B-25 (type rated), Boeing B-29 (experimental auth) and Boeing B-17 (type rated).
Copyright © 2023 Association of Professional Warbird Operators - All Rights Reserved.
The Association of Professional Warbird Operators is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
Site created and managed by Tailwind Enterprises