Growing up in the Willow Glen district of San Jose, California Jon was by no means a farmer or in a rural environment for that matter, however, his grandmother did grow up on a farm, and she was always there as he grew up. She was the ninth child of ten, born and raised just after the turn of the twentieth century on a farm in Moran, Kansas. Her genetic gift to him was a bit of the “Kansas farmer mentality.” You know where your food comes from, and how it got to the table. It’s not prepackaged from the meat & vegetable faerie. The Midwestern ideals of family, friendship, and community, along with responsibility, integrity, and how you conduct business were instilled in Jon from the beginning.
Joining the Cub Scouts at eight, he worked his way up through the ranks ultimately reaching the rank of Eagle Scout in 1985. Scouting reinforced those values throughout his formative years and helped develop a love of learning new skills in hands-on environments. Friends and family know him as a Jon-of-all-trades; as such, he has accumulated experience in a broad array of areas ranging from various construction skills to blacksmithing, bookbinding & preservation, media production, business, non-profit leadership, telecommunications, security/law enforcement, search and rescue, network and server administration, fiber arts, radio, piloting, navigation, teaching and a slew of other things too diverse and numerous to mention here. Over the years while acquiring these skills Jon found that widely diverse and seemingly unrelated skills often converge in the most interesting places. It is his desire for knowledge and new skills that eventually lead him to aviation.
As a scout Jon developed a love of maps and navigation. Jon had been using land navigation skills almost as long as he can remember, as a scout and in search and rescue and throughout his life. He wanted to expand on that knowledge by studying marine navigation so he picked up some charts, navigation tools, a good sighting compass and started reading books on maritime navigation.
The nautical environment provided new challenges to the basic skills of land navigation, the addition of forces acting against, or enhancing travel made time/speed/distance calculations and fuel consumption more complex and more interesting. He was having a lot of fun adding these skills to his repertoire. As he continued learning more about navigation it occurred to him that he was missing one of the mediums of travel, air. At this time he had never even seen an aeronautical chart, this was a whole new area he could study.
As a child Jon had always wanted to fly, helicopters mostly, but he didn’t know anyone who was a pilot. A friend of his mothers was a Navy reservist assigned to a flight group stationed at Moffett Field Naval Air Station in Mountain View, California and he took Jon out to Hanger 2 with him on a duty shift, but he was a supply clerk in the aircraft maintenance department which diluted the initial awe of being there. Jon had been to a couple of air shows at Moffett over the years, but that was the extent of his aviation experience.
One day while working for Bosch Tool Corporation as a service tech Jon decided he wanted to learn about aviation navigation. At the time he hadn’t really considered learning to fly, he was just looking to add to his navigation knowledge. After work one day he headed over to the local General Aviation airport, Reid-Hillview (RHV) in San Jose, and dropped into the pilot shop, The Airport Shoppe. There were a lot of charts and other navigation materials but he wasn’t sure where to begin. Starting with the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Jon began learning about aviation navigation and aviation in general.
The pile of books and charts got bigger and after a few short weeks, it became clear to him that he needed to put some of this new found knowledge into practice. After talking things over with his wife Tammy, it was decided that he would take an introductory flight and see how that went. When he got home from the April 22 flight in 2003, he knew he had to pursue flying, aviation was now a part of him.
There were several bumps in the road, but they were just that, bumps in the road. With three flights under his belt, he ran into his first delay. Jon ended up having to wait until September 2003 to get back in the air but by the end of October 2004, he had earned his Private Pilot certificate, an Instrument Rating, a Commercial Pilot certificate, and two Ground Instructor certificates. 2004 was an amazing year, he was flying a lot, spending a lot of time at the Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) nearly every day, even working as a part-time ground instructor and dispatcher. Aviation had become a huge part of his life.
In 2004 Jon heard about an organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association. It turned out that there are a whole bunch of people building their own aircraft. This opened up a new part of aviation to Jon, building and maintaining aircraft, both experimental and certificated. In a move to further his knowledge in this part of aviation, Jon went back to school in 2011 to work on a degree in aviation which lead him to the Gavilan College Aviation Department where he enrolled in the Aviation Maintenance Technology program. After completing the 2 years, 70 unit certificate program he earned his A&P Mechanic Certificate (Airframe & Powerplant) from the FAA and after completing his general education requirements he also earned a degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology.
In 2017 Jon expanded his aviation credentials by earning his Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rating allowing him to operate unmanned aircraft for hire.
As well as his interests in aviation, Jon is an amateur radio enthusiast having earned his Technician Class license in October of 2013, his General Class in March, and his Extra Class in June of 2014. Enjoying all of the band privileges available to Amateur Radio, Jon frequently works on projects like building electronics bench-tools, antennas, and radio equipment including transmitters, receivers, and transceivers. He also works on vintage radio restoration projects. Jon began a website specifically for his radio adventures in February or 2015. For radio Amateur Radio related posts and information take a look at www.KK6GXG.com. Along with operating, repairing, and building radios Jon also spends time as a VE (Volunteer Examiner) for the ARRL VEC (Amateur Radio Relay League Volunteer Examiner Coordinator) proctoring and grading FCC amateur license exams to others interested in amateur radio.
Jon also holds a commercial radio license, the General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) and is preparing for his RADAR endorsement for this license. The commercial license is a prerequisite for working on Aviation and Marine radios. Both the USCG and FAA have additional requirements for working on these radios.
Along with his Amateur Radio and GROL radio licenses, Jon holds a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) license.
Woodworking is another passion Jon spends a fair amount of bench time on. He has built furniture, shop and bench fixtures, jigs and templates as well as a variety hand tools. He also restores vintage hand tools along with other restoration projects.
Jon and his wife Tammy have been together since 1992 and welcomed their son Zack into the world in 1995.