I Believe I Can Fly (July 2014)

Sep 24, 2016

Courtesy of Times Record News, July 8, 2014

Owner of Cobra Kai Flight Academy at Kickapoo Airport would rather be in the airtrn-plane-picture

Listening to Martin Bohn talk, he lends the impression that he would just as soon discuss his business in the sky as on the ground. His home essentially is where his heart is ? and that’s airborne.

Where business and pleasure comfort levels exist in many capacities, it makes sense that Bohn is partial to being in-flight. He is the owner of Cobra Kai Flight Academy at Kickapoo Airport, and teaching pilot skills to men and women students of varying ages is not only his career but his passion.

After completing 20 years of service in the German air force that included a tour of duty as chief of pilot instructor training in Sheppard AFB’s elite Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT), retired Major Bohn settled in Wichita Falls to do what he does best.

“We opened our professional flight school here in 2012 with very experienced instructors and a training program that goes above the standards of Federal Aviation Administration in qualification and safety,” he said. “We’ve incorporated a better, faster way to learn about aviation. We train the brain, not the pilot.”

At Cobra Kai, students learn through recognition where memory is tied to nerve cells. Rather than repetition, Bohn and his instructors teach recognition, an ordinary process compatible in life, and not just for pilots.

“It is a better, and in the end, a less expensive way to train pilots,” he said. “Training the brain to recognize colors, triangles and complicated instruments enables the student to quickly pick up the aspects of flying. Every day we prove that it is a sound, efficient way to learn.”

Henry Florsheim, president and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, salutes Bohn’s ingenuity as another step forward in the field of aviation in Wichita Falls.

“This is an aviation community,” he said. “Sheppard Air Force Base is the single-largest contributor to our economy, and we have quite a few manufacturers engaged in making parts for the flight industry. Air Force retirees live throughout our city.

“As we invest millions of dollars on the new Wichita Falls Regional Airport, it just makes sense that the timing is right for the development of this flight school. We will continue to do everything we can to support these and other projects.”

Bohn is proud to show off the flight school’s new hangar. Inside the immaculate multistory building are several airplanes used in student training, including the popular Cessna, Beechcraft Bonanza and twin-engine Baron.

The hangar also includes a classroom for student study, and Bohn hopes one day to have a flight simulator. One immediate goal is to offer air taxi services to other cities in Texas and Oklahoma.

In addition to the flight school, Cobra Kai offers pilot rental services, aircraft hangaring and aircraft management, aircraft and auto cleaning and detailing and aircraft buy and sell services.

“We have four full-time and four part-time instructors ? all military trained and with considerable experience,” he said.

In addition to Bohn’s 20 years of flying experience and more than 4,000 hours airborne and 2,200 hours of instruction, all Cobra Kai instructors have in excess of 3,000 hours in the sky, plus at least 1,500 hours of instruction.

“Our students range in ages from 16 to 65 and we have men and women from various careers and walks of life. Some want to fly for recreation, while others need to be licensed for their business.

“When new students come in, we try to match them to an instructor that fits their makeup. Building trust between instructor and student is vital since you are putting your life in that instructor’s hands.

“Since human beings are not meant to fly, I see it as a privilege,” Bohn added. “We drill into our students that if you take this privilege lightly, or if you lose a little respect for flying, you are prone to make a mistake. A careless pilot is inexcusable.”

Bohn is like many who train at Sheppard AFB and later call Wichita Falls home. He and wife, Elke, have settled here with their two children.

“We love Wichita Falls,” he said. “The people here are great. Believe me, it’s not like this everywhere. It’s a terrific city. I just wish it would rain.”

Many Cobra Kai students come from Wichita Falls, plus a wide area that includes Munday, Chickasha and Altus, Okla., Seymour and other area cities. To learn more about the flight school, call 940-263-1168 or go online to cobrakaiflightschool.com.