Photographed By: Marylou Uttermohlen

It used to be that when guys talked about their wheels, they were referring to a cool car or a motorcycle. Gliding was something they did on a dance floor and a landing was where they went to get into a boat. Now, some men are able to glide toward a landing before lowering their wheels. For most of us, if we want to fly we have to purchase a ticket – some guys just purchase an airplane. Here are a few profiles of local men in their cockpits. They are all cleared and ready for takeoff.



Addie Fanguy
REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT, ODYSSEY AVIATION
Beach 58P Baron


“Flying is a passion! It really puts into view God’s awesome power. You see first hand how beautiful America really is. You can’t describe flying at 45,000 feet on a moonless starlit night over the Grand Canyon and observing a shooting star pass in front of you. Flying demands the utmost in precision, accountability and responsibility. I use my Baron to fly for my company. It gives me so much flexibility in traveling to company locations in North and South Carolina, as well as Ohio. It’s one hell of a business tool.”



Kelvin Contreary MD
Surgeon
King Air 90 (Turboprop) and two helicopters (Robinson R22 and Robinson R44)


“Why do I love to fly? Hasn’t man always been jealous of birds’ freedom from the constraints of gravity? For me, flying is thrilling and invigorating. Like my profession, surgery, flying requires long hours of study and practice to acquire the skills necessary to successfully and safely accomplish the tasks involved. When I burst through the clouds over Colorado and see that little airport just where it should be, or when I hold my helicopter steady in blustery winds, I maybe feel just a bit like Drew after a completed touchdown pass. Plus it’s on the bucket list.”



Eric R. George MD
PRESIDENT/CEO, ERG ENTERPRISES/CDOT AVIATION
Bombardier Challenger (jet)


“My younger brother, a test fighter pilot who was killed in a failed mission, sparked my interest in aviation. I assumed a dual father role requiring travel to (his family’s) home in South Carolina. The time demands of a surgical practice coupled with expanding international entrepreneurial endeavors necessitated this cohesive business and family tool. My Bombardier Challenger has permitted me to explore every continent, recently allowing me and my family to charitably build and supply a school in Mombassa, Kenya. As the jet propels me to the silence of the upper atmosphere, it is there I feel the essence of my brother by our side.”



Michael Gray
President, The Gray Insurance Company
Eclipse500


“As president of an insurance company regulated in 47 states and at the federal level, I need to have flexible fast travel available 24/7. The Eclipse 500 has changed the way I do my job. I can go to Washington, D.C., have a meeting and dinner, and be home in a 13-hour window. This all happens above the weather at 37,000 feet and at the fuel efficiency of around seven miles to the gallon. Competing with Southwest Airlines on direct operating cost and having jet safety and speed has expanded the meaning of time machine. Did I mention I love flying?”



John Houghtaling
Attorney/Partner Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams, LLC
Cessna 421 Golden Eagle


“I bought the plane so that I could escape easily for quick weekend trips to Seaside, Fla., but my law partner and I started to use it more for shuttling lawyers around as our practice expanded. The plane allows me to move easily between offices in Houston and New Orleans. I also fly into fairly remote racetracks to race sports cars, a hobby that my business schedule would prevent without a private plane. I’m proud to be able to donate the plane for charity. This year we flew sea turtles to SeaWorld Orlando after they were rescued from the oil spill.”



Victor  “Sonny”  Schilleci IV
PRESIDENT, AURIC ENTERPRISES, INC.
L-39ZO Albatros (jet fighter),
T-6G Texan (World War II trainer)

“Following in the footsteps of my father, I realized at a very young age I was destined to be a pilot. While most kids my age were just learning how to drive, I was learning how to fly. From my first solo flight on my 16th birthday to the numerous ex-military aircraft I have been afforded the opportunity to fly, I can say that aviation is truly in my blood. There is nothing more exhilarating and fulfilling than piloting an ex-military aircraft and demonstrating its powerful capabilities at air shows as a tribute to the veterans who helped achieve our freedom.”



Marc Vezina
WhistleBlower ATTORNEY/owner VEZINA & GATTUSO, LLC
Beechcraft Bonanza


“My plane is my time machine. Having a nationwide law practice representing whistleblowers demands that I be able to go on a moment’s notice to faraway places. My airplane enables me to do that and so much more. Moreover, flying allows my mind to clear and spirit to soar, so the experience is priceless. A mentor, Col. Sandy Sisco, once told me that flying an airplane was like dancing with a woman. He was right. You must lead her without fighting her (or she will step on you). So I respect the process, relax and enjoy the journey.”




Robert Watters
PRESIDENT, Rick’s Cabaret
Cessna Corvalis 400


“Flying lessons were my ‘surviving Katrina’ self-reward and served to give me something to look forward to during the painful recovery. Now, five years and 750 hours of flying time later, my plane is the fastest fixed gear single, and this amazing machine takes me all over the country on business at speeds up to 250 miles per hour. I love everything about flying; the pure excitement of wheels up and the visceral thrill of a successful instrument approach can’t be beat. Private aviation is one of the great American freedoms that I count myself fortunate to be able to enjoy.”
 

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