Captain Leabman in UniformRobin LeabmanAviator Bio I always knew I wanted to be a pilot. Actually, like all boys with their heads in the clouds… I wanted to be an astronaut. I still do. I started flying at the age of 14 back home in Polson, Montana. I soloed at 16, received my Private Pilot license at 17, and my Instrument Rating just after graduating high school and before leaving home for college at the University of Central Missouri.

Robin Leabman after his first solo just days after his 16th birthday in a Cessna 172 in Polson, Montana.Robin Leabman Airplane Solo FlightRobin Leabman after his first solo just days after his 16th birthday in a Cessna 172 in Polson, Montana. Robin Leabman after his first solo just days after his 16th birthday in a Cessna 172 in Polson, Montana.Robin Leabman Airplane Solo FlightRobin Leabman after his first solo just days after his 16th birthday in a Cessna 172 in Polson, Montana. Robin Leabman after his first solo just days after his 16th birthday in a Cessna 172 in Polson, Montana.Robin Leabman Airplane Solo FlightRobin Leabman after his first solo just days after his 16th birthday in a Cessna 172 in Polson, Montana.

While getting my aviation degree at UCM, I became the youngest Certified Flight Instructor to be hired by the university. I was on the payroll by the first semester of my Sophomore year teaching two flight students, while also taking a full 18 credit-hour course of classes. By the end of that third semester I had finished the entire flight curriculum by obtaining my instrument and multi-engine flight instructor certificates. I added to my flying repertoire by taking a Sport Aviation class that initiated me into the world of towing and instructing in gliders.

Robin Leabman after completing his Commercial Glider checkride at the University of Central Missouri in 1996.Robin Leabman Glider PilotRobin Leabman after completing his Commercial Glider checkride at the University of Central Missouri in 1996. Robin Leabman after completing his Commercial Glider checkride at the University of Central Missouri in 1996.Robin Leabman Glider PilotRobin Leabman after completing his Commercial Glider checkride at the University of Central Missouri in 1996.

Following my Junior year, the Summer of 1997, I was awarded a Trans World Airlines internship at JFK Airport. During that incredible 10 weeks, I worked on the planning committee for the TWA Flight 800 Memorial in remembrance of the ill-fated flight that crashed the previous year. I also flew in the jump seats of Boeing 747s, Lockheed L-1011’s, and everything else TWA flew. I even once had an entire 747 to myself. Just the pilots, one flight attendant…and me. I spent the entire flight running up and down the aisles, playing up in first class, and raiding the cookie rack.

I spent every weekend abroad during my internship. It was my first time ever leaving the United States, something I recommend every American do early in their adult life to give them adequate perspective on an American’s true place in the world. I traveled to San Juan, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Cairo, Mexico, and Belize that summer. I had definitely gotten a taste for global travel, and I wasn’t about to stop.

Robin Leabman during his 1997 internship at Trans World Airlines (TWA) at JFKRobin Leabman in 747 EngineRobin Leabman during his 1997 internship at Trans World Airlines (TWA) at JFK After graduating UCM in 1998 I stayed an extra semester teaching and accumulating more flight experience to reach the 1200 hours total time milestone. In January 1999, I started my job at AirNet Systems headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Back then AirNet had a huge market share of flying cancelled bank checks and other time-critical freight to all major and minor cities across the United States…three times a night. AirNet was the most impressive flight operation I had ever been a part of, and is still to this day the best company for which I have ever worked. I flew their piston props (Beech Barons and Piper AeroStars) for six months, then was a Learjet copilot for 12 months, then a Learjet captain. I was 24 years old. While based in Seattle I acquired my commercial single-engine seaplane rating, which was something I had yearned for since a child.

Robin Leabman after successfully passing his Airplane Single-Engine Seaplane check ride at Kenmore Air on Lake Washington.Robin Leabman Seaplane RatingRobin Leabman after successfully passing his Airplane Single-Engine Seaplane check ride at Kenmore Air on Lake Washington. After living and flying for nearly three years, moving back and forth from Columbus, Buffalo, Boston, Seattle, and then back to Boston, I decided it was time to get out of the freight game. So I moved once again…back to Seattle.

Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days.Robin Leabman Learjet CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days. Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days.Robin Leabman Learjet CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days. Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days.Robin Leabman Learjet CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days. Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days.Robin Leabman Learjet CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 55 flying days.

I took up a Lear 35 and Lear 55 captain job flying out of Boeing Field with a passenger charter operation that no longer exists. From there, I transferred to their larger Los Angeles operation (that also no longer exists) located at Van Nuys Airport. This company also provided Learjet air ambulance support, where I enjoyed my first experiences as an international air ambulance captain. I immediately fell in love with the adventure and being confronted with challenges that tested my problem-solving abilities.

Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. This photo in Kyoto, Japan.Robin Leabman Air Ambulance CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. This photo in Kyoto, Japan. Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days.Robin Leabman Air Ambulance CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. This photo in Baggio, Philippines.Robin Leabman Air Ambulance CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. This photo in Baggio, Philippines. Robin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. This photo in Baggio, Philippines.Robin Leabman Air Ambulance CaptainRobin Leabman during his Learjet 35 and Learjet 36 air ambulance captain days. This photo in Baggio, Philippines.

This affinity for venturing into the unknown in parts all over the world would be the catalyst that will soon lead me to starting my own global aircraft delivery company, Windward Aviation.

After the financial meltdown in 2008 I started Windward Aviation with my friend and fellow actor/pilot Ryan Culver, and manager/pilot Jerry Clark, with whom I flew Learjet charters at Ameriflight. I was having the most amazing time ferrying little tiny single- and multi-engine piston airplanes all over the world. I have to admit that being a ferry pilot has to be the hardest and most challenging flying I have ever undertaken. It is not for the inexperienced nor the fair-weather flyers out there. Aircraft ferrying is a type of flying that has left more airplanes and more pilots at the bottoms of oceans than any other facet in aviation... Except maybe war. I was starting to get the feeling I would never fly a jet again. I was getting that sick feeling that I was getting spit out at the bottom of the aviation industry in much the same way a failed actor gets spit out the bottom of the entertainment industry by doing porn. I was getting the sense that my airplane career was drawing to close.

Robin Leabman ferrying a King Air 200 across the Atlantic to Morocco.Robin Leabman Ferrying a King AirRobin Leabman ferrying a King Air 200 across the Atlantic to Morocco. In 2010 I made an incredible gamble by deciding to pursue another lifelong ambition. I made the difficult choice between spending a large amount of money on purchasing a Gulfstream G-IV type rating, or spending the same amount of money on helicopter training. Neither would have a guaranteed job at the other end, but after considerable industry research I decided to follow my passion and quickly added commercial helicopter pilot to my airman certificates. Later in 2013 I added helicopter instructor and helicopter instrument instructor to my airplane, seaplane, and glider instructor certificates. Then the unthinkable happened…

Robin Leabman flying helicopters.Robin Leabman Helicopter Flight InstructorRobin Leabman flying helicopters. Robin Leabman flying helicopters.Robin Leabman Helicopter Flight InstructorRobin Leabman flying helicopters.

No, I didn’t crash!

After pestering a long-time aviation contact of mine for over five years to hire me as a Gulfstream pilot, and hearing different variations of “no” every time, I got the call to come interview with the owner of the company. I was hired as a first officer and sent to Gulfstream G-IV training. Exactly one year later, I was upgraded to captain. Exactly one year later again, I was upgraded as captain to the Gulfstream G-V. I now fly all over the world on one of the finest jets ever made. I love my aviation career. I love everything I’ve done in it, and I can’t wait to see what’s next over the horizon.  Robin Leabman flying his favorite jet, the Gulfstream G5 (G-V).Robin Leabman Gulfstream G4 and G5 CaptainRobin Leabman flying his favorite jet, the Gulfstream G5 (G-V). Robin Leabman flying his favorite jet, the Gulfstream G5 (G-V).Robin Leabman Gulfstream G4 and G5 CaptainRobin Leabman flying his favorite jet, the Gulfstream G5 (G-V). Robin Leabman flying his first Gulfstream, the Gulfstream G4 (G-IV).Robin Leabman Gulfstream G4 and G5 CaptainRobin Leabman flying his first Gulfstream, the Gulfstream G4 (G-IV).