Robert C. Collins, long time WPA Paine Field Chapter member and co-founder of Simulation Flight LLC, passed away on 15 August. Bob will be remembered and missed for a long time, as a friend, an aviator and as an exceptional human being who cared for others safety in aviation.
With 50 years’ experience as a pilot, including 35 years of airline flight experience, Bob demonstrated a passion for aviation and dedication to passing on to others his knowledge and skills that enable them to be better and safer pilots. He was a patient teacher with an outstanding knowledge of subjects related to aviation, which he shared willingly with others.
Bob started in GA (“General Aviation”) in Canada as a young pilot, then became a flight instructor. He expanded his skills by adding ratings, flying professionally, and teaching others. He became a check pilot, and was also a check airman at Fight Safety, for the Canadian built Challenger jet. His airline experience started with Quebec Air as First Officer in a Boeing 727. From there he went to American Airlines and worked his way up from 727 Flight Engineer and First Officer to Captain of Boeing 737, Airbus 300, Boeing 757, and 767.
After retiring from American Airlines, he moved his family to Mukilteo and built a fully equipped and IFR capable RV-7, which he flew with us on many of our Saturday fly-outs. He then acquired a pressurized Skymaster (P337G). Bob was an active member of multiple pilots and flight instructor organizations (AOPA, WPA, NAFI, EAA, FAASafety, Angel Flight, FATPNW, etc.). Through his GA experiences, he became convinced that there was a serious need for a business that concentrated on Instrument training and proficiency for owners and renters of GA airplanes (single and multiengine piston and turboprop aircraft).
Bob had a strong belief that GA pilots would be more proficient and safer if they had affordable professional level IFR training available, and that was not conveniently available in this area. His vision and dedication were that such training could be provided with experienced instructors through a combination of training with a certified AATD (simulator), and in-flight IMC experience in the pilot’s airplanes. He formed Simulation Flight in 2016 for that purpose.
In late 2019 Bob foresaw the need for an AATD level training device for the Boeing 737 Max. He believed the pilot shortage, new pilot training requirements, and the demand for pilot recurrent training in expensive full flight simulators would create a demand for the less expensive and highly effective in-flight procedure and emergency training device.
The aviation community will miss Bob’s upbeat and encouraging instruction style which has benefited many pilots. His dedication to their personal safety of flight was obvious and respected. Bob was a qualified candidate for the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, for Fifty Years of Dedicated Service to Aviation Safety.
Bob earned the high respect from both airline and GA pilots who knew him. We all miss him.