Helping To Spread Passion & Enthusiasm For Aviation
Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2018 issue
In August 2012, Al Waterloo and Marc Epner, both of Chicago, got together to create SimpleFlight Radio based on their shared love and optimism for aviation in the present and the future. The result was an aviation program that differentiates itself from strictly aviation podcasts by delivering an informal and relaxing format via a live internet radio show (www.simpleflight.net/radio) with the added convenience of a recorded podcast (www.simpleflight.net/podcast). The show is broadcast from the SimpleFlight studios in Hangar 5 at Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK – formerly Palwaukee), or anywhere they choose to create the program, including live remotes.
The show, which airs each Sunday evening from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. central time, started as a two-hour show for the first few years, but was eventually scaled back to one hour. Guests have included the founders of King Schools, ForeFlight, BoldMethod, AbleFlight, Surf Air, CloudAhoy, LIVEATC.net, FLYTHISSIM, the presidents of many national aviation organizations, as well as aviation personalities like Amelia Rose Earhart (not to be confused with the Amelia Earhart of the 1930s), who completed her 24,300-mile flight around the globe in a Pilatus PC-12 NG on July 11, 2014 by landing in Oakland, California, where she departed from on June 26. More than 150 pilots and aviation leaders with a story to tell have told their stories on SimpleFlight Radio, so far.
Al Waterloo left the show in 2017 to become the Regional Sales Director in Chicago for Cirrus Aircraft, leaving Marc Epner as the pilot-in-command to carry on until he was joined by his current cohost later that year, Rhonda Khabir of Madison, Wisconsin.
Marc Epner’s love affair with aviation started at a young age. In 2004, after a 25-year hiatus from flying, a chance flight in a GA plane rekindled the spark and a passion to share aviation with others. He does that by taking people flying, speaking before civic and aviation groups, leading a successful flying club, and of course, bringing his energy to SimpleFlight Radio. Epner relishes the opportunity to help revitalize General Aviation.
Epner primarily flies a Cirrus G3 SR-22, but don’t be surprised if you hear him on frequency flying various other airplanes. His favorite destinations include Iowa and Missouri to visit family, or most any airport that has access to a restaurant.
Rhonda Khabir has always been forward focused with a clear vision of where she’s going. But that all changed after a short flight with a police officer. It was clear to Khabir that some of her dreams required her to look up. After only an hour aloft in a 1967 Piper Colt, she found a place she’d like to stay… up in the air.
Now, Khabir regularly logs flight-time around Chicago Executive, Madison, Wisconsin and even Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is working on her instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate. Her energy, curiosity, and eagerness to experience all things aviation bring a unique perspective to SimpleFlight Radio.
Joby Benoit of Chicago recently joined the team and works the technical aspects of the program behind the scenes. He is the guy with the magic that makes the program possible.
Whether the topic is innovation in aviation technology, flight training, or community outreach, Marc Epner and Rhonda Khabir bring their passion and contagious enthusiasm to the aviation airwaves.
Now in its sixth straight year, the show continues to evolve with the industry with new and exciting topics and guests. Listeners comment on how the show helps them get through a rush-hour commute, or makes a Sunday evening with a glass of wine more enjoyable.
So, tune in at www.simpleflight.net/radio each Sunday from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. central time, or anytime via podcast at www.simpleflight.net/podcast, or through your favorite podcast app.