Bessie’s newest Featured Flyer is no stranger to the Janesville Airport! When John was a kid, his grandpa took him to watch planes take off and land at KJVL. Those summer visits sparked his love of airplanes, but John decided he wanted to be a pilot when he took a commercial flight in the first grade.
In 2020, John left his corporate job to pursue his life-long dream of becoming an airline pilot and received his Private Pilot License. When John decided to rent a plane for a day, his first stop was a no-brainer: Bessie’s Diner! We had the pleasure of cooking for John when he flew in with his girlfriend in a Piper Archer III.
And, of course, they had to get a $100 Hamburger! Well, a $100 Omelet.
Congrats on the Private Pilot License! What’s next for you?
Thanks! I'm currently an Assistant Airline Dispatcher at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, while also working through my instrument rating on my days off. After instrument, I plan on obtaining my commercial, multi-engine and CFI ratings, with the ultimate goal of becoming an airline pilot.
Did your grandfather fly planes? Was it just coming to KJVL as a child that sparked your interest?
My grandfather (Beloit native Ruben Martin) was not a pilot; however, he was an Air Force retiree that worked around planes for his entire career. One of my fondest memories at JVL was eating at the old terminal restaurant when I was six years old, and we met a pilot that was nice enough to take me and my grandfather up, which helped spark my interest in aviation. Soon after that, I took my first airline flight to New York aboard an Orange Braniff Airways 727 and I was hooked!
What airport do you currently fly out of?
I fly out of 3CK - Lake in the Hills Airport in Illinois.
Dream flying job?
Flying tours on Rottnest Island in Western Australia.
Any words of advice or recommendations for other pilots interested in flying to Bessie’s?
My go-to menu item is the Destination Omelet, and it should be a crime to visit Bessie's without ordering the pancakes. If approaching from the East, you can catch some spectacular views of Lake Geneva and other surrounding lakes. In my experience, the controllers at JVL have been very pleasant and professional. As with any airport, pay close attention to all instructions and just ask for clarification if needed.
Or how about any other words of advice for aspiring pilots?
If you’re passionate about flying and it’s something that you want to do, go for it! I didn’t decide to trade in my corporate career in an effort to pursue my dream until the age of 34, and my only regret is that I didn't do so sooner. The flight school that I attended had many students that were well into their 40's, so it’s never too late! The airline industry has its ups and downs, but it always bounces back. So, if a career in aviation is what you desire, don’t let the downs deter you from following your dreams!
Anything else the people should know?
The staff at Bessie's has always been extraordinarily friendly and welcoming, and I would highly recommend stopping in for a great experience regardless of whether you're flying in or driving in.