Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2017
After 20 years of efforts, Seaplane Pilots Association Field Director, Jim Priest, and other seaplane pilots from Ohio, were successful in gaining unlimited seaplane access to Ohio lakes beginning in June 2016. Priest has been flying since 1960 and holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with single and multi-engine land and sea ratings, and a glider rating. He is also a Certified Instrument Flight Instructor in both single and multi-engine aircraft, and has more than 7,500 hours. Priest currently flies a Cessna 414 for business, and a Cessna 180 and Grumman G44A Widgeon for pleasure. He became an active seaplane pilot in 1975 and purchased his Widgeon in 1988. He uses the Widgeon mainly on trips to northern Ontario for fishing and hunting. He has flown as far north as the Arctic Circle to photograph polar bears.
Priest is Chairman of the Cleveland Plant & Flower Company, a wholesale distributor of flower and nursery products, with 12 branch outlets in the eastern United States. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and attended law school at Case Western Reserve University. He is a past Key-Man and Governor of the Quiet Birdmen, Cleveland Hangar.