John Pike, owner of Big Sky Stearman, is celebrating his 50th anniversary in aviation. His earliest memories were of airplanes. His father, Rev. Claude Pike, was an early influence. Claude grew up in Seattle, WA and spent his youth watching Boeing P12 pursuits and B9 bombers fly out of Boeing Field in the thirties. He dreamed of being a Boeing test pilot, but alas was called to the ministry as a young college student and had to forgo flight training.
In 1954, dirt poor as a small church pastor, he was able to acquire and 1939 J3 Piper Cub derelict for a $50.00 duck boat he built for trade. He rebuilt the Cub and the Franklin engine in the living room and then taught himself to fly it. John’s early Cub memories at age 9 were of the Cub shadow dropping away from the grass field and the little tire spinning to a stop. He still tries to bring those memories back with every Cub flight. The Cub still remains as a prize possession in the Pike family.
John went on to earn his Commercial, Instrument, CFII, multi-engine, seaplane ratings and an ATP typed in Citation and Hawker jets. He also earned his A&P IA mechanic’s license.
His first love is vintage aircraft and has the luxury of his hobby being his vocation. Big Sky Stearman technicians have put the finishing touches on a Waco UPF-7 that he soloed in 1961 at age 16. It was a fitting ceremony to test fly the Waco after 50 years of aviation.