MDPA Member Limelight June-July 2023

Our featured member for June-July, 2023 is Ryan Baillie. Ryan embodies what aviation is about.  He is serving as the Vice President of MDPA in addition to being a Certified Flight Instructor (more on this later) and earning a living flying as a Captain with JSX out of Oakland, CA. 

Aviation has always been a passion for Ryan since his grandfather introduced him to flying as a child. His earliest memory of aviation was looking at warbird books with his grandpa, coming to KCCR for the B-17/P-38/B-24 tours, watching planes from next to the KCCR tower and building model airplanes with his grandpa. It seems Ryan’s grandpa was a big influence in his life.

He had his first GA flight when he was in Boy Scouts, earning the aviation merit badge, during a Chapter 393 Young Eagles flight on 10/27/2002. Ryan “caught the bug” thanks Duane Allen for introducing him to our avocation.

He originally took lessons from Sterling Aviation at Buchanan Field and logged about 20 hours between 2011-2013. He purchased a Piper Warrior II in June, 2017 and with an independent instructor he had his Private Pilot Certificate in his hand in March, 2018.

Ryan with Loki his Australian cattle dog  

an at Work

Ryan joined MDPA in 2017 when he realized he couldn’t kick the aviation habit.

Ryan Flies his Warrior II and other flying club/student planes when instructing students from Buchanan or Livermore airports. He is interested in building a plane someday but he needs the time, money and most importantly, the patience to tackle a building project. He knows building a plane project would be rewarding and that his impatience could affect the outcome. Recognizing this point alone lets us know that Ryan is a good pilot. He knows his limitations.

Ryan’s logbook includes 27 different aircraft makes/models including hot air balloons and a helicopter. The top 4 Make/Model aircraft in his logbook with the most hours are the Piper Cherokee, Cessna 172, Piper Seminole, and the Embraer E-135.

In the experimental world Ryan has flown a SeaRey, Zenith Zodiac, and Lancair 4 (Thanks to Harvard and Sara Holmes). He is looking forward to more time with experimental aircraft in the future. Ryan recently purchased a ‘Just Highlander’ project from a member at Buchan Field. Evidently he has found the patience and money to pursue a build project.

When asked about his favorite flying memories Ryan immediately answered.

“I think a big one is taking people for their first GA flight. I have done that around 65 times. The most gratifying ones are the people that fear flying and through explanation and a good flight they are then comfortable and do not have the fear anymore and actually enjoy aviation. Seeing that $#!# eating grin on someone’s face that they just can’t hold back on their first flight and knowing you did that to them is magical.”

I doubt anyone of us could express this feeling any better than Ryan has.

We all have our likes and dislikes about flying, and here are Ryan’s thoughts.

I like the freedom it gives me, the adventures, and the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been and the fact there’s always somewhere else I can go or something I can do for fun or to help someone or something with the plane.  The thing I dislike the most is the cost (pronounced I don’t have unlimited money to fly all day every day in various airframes like I want to haha). I bet the dislike will always be there even when he has the money to do all the flying he wants.

His favorite destination is Utah, specifically St. George and Moab and the areas in between. There is just something magical about that area.

”When I flew into there, I was really taken back about how little and insignificant I was in this amazingly beautiful world. No real way to describe it and pictures do no justice”.

Canyonlands near Moab, Utah

It sounds like Ryan would prefer to spend all his time airborne, but he does participate in many other activities.

Ryan enjoys motorcycling, mountain biking and firearms. He has never really been interested in traditional sports or wearing spandex. He enjoys hiking, camping, and most anything outdoors he can do with his dog Loki.

He loves music! He has played guitar since he was 12 years old and dabbles with other instruments. Primarily he plays guitar and bass but also a little ukulele, piano, and drums. He was in three rock bands including lead guitar in an original rock band, rhythm guitar in a Scorpions tribute band, and bassist in an original metal band.

He has also owned and operated a live sound production company for about 4 years providing sound/lighting and DJ services in the bay area for small/medium sized crowds up to around 500 people.  Life and work are now in the way and he is not currently involved with any bands, but he has a rehearsal studio in his house with all the various instruments and tries to play regularly. Anyone wanna jam?

He also enjoys photography and videography doing the editing of both while working on fun and funny projects.

MDPA Member Limelight - History

View previous recipients by clicking on a link below:

Maurice Gunderson - December 2022

Elaine Yeary - February - March, 2023

Steve Kennedy - April - May 2023

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