Col. Charles Arthur Skelton
Chief Pilot and CFI-I, Yale Aviation
Photo on right, Charlie Skelton doing a "taildragger" flight instructor refresher course in a Piper Cub J-3. With him is Tim Preston of Preston Aviation, Winter Haven, FL.
Undoubtedly the greatest reason to fly with Yale Aviation is our Chief Pilot and Flight Instructor, Col. Charles Arthur Skelton, whose aviation experience is with little equal. It is not an uncommon experience, when standing on the East Ramp, to point out some incoming jet or unusual aircraft to Charlie and discover he has not only flown it but has had a type rating in it as well. Fortunately for his fledglings, he is as good an instructor as he is a pilot, which is to say he is the best.
Charlie’s first log book entry is dated July 1, 1948, at which time he was working as a “lineboy” for Usher Aviation at Tweed New Haven Airport. Through high school and college, he remained at Tweed, earning his commercial pilot certificate and instructor rating before he graduated from Quinnipiac University in 1956. Concurrent with his early aviation training was his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which he joined in November 1951, serving in Korea. There he moved through the ranks from Private all the way to “Full Bird” Colonel; he retired as such in 1987. While in the military, he held several aviation related commands. After active duty, he flew corps for a time, before he joined Southern New England Telephone (SNET) in 1962 as a salesman. As with the Marines, he quickly rose there as well, retiring as District Director in 1995. It was at that point that he started CAS Aviation.
A Master CFI for 20 years recognized by both the National Association of Flight Instructors and the Society of Aviation Flight Education, Charlie has also been awarded the distinguished FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which is given to pilots who have maintained safe flight operations for 50 or more consecutive years. More locally, he is a Past President of Yale Aviation and the Nutmeg Soaring Association.
When asked by curious students how many hours he has logged, Charlie, in his characteristic wry demeanor, responds that he stopped counting somewhere around 10,000. Those of us under his tutelage would not be surprised if the true figure were double that.
Col. Skelton’s Ratings and Certifications:
Airplane Transport Pilot (ATP)
Airplane Multi-engine Land, Type Rated Cessna Citation 500
Airplane Single Engine Land and Sea, Rotocraft Helicopter and Gyroplane, Instrument Helicopter, Glider
Flight Instructor (Gold Seal)
Airplane Single and Multi-engine, Rotorcraft Helicopter and Gyroplane, Glider, Instrument Airplane, and Helicopter
Aero Sport Connection, Basic Flight Instructor, Powered Fixed Wing