Member Spotlight – Bill Wootton

by Bruce Estes

This month we feature Bill Wootton, one of our chapter Board Members. Bill Wootton obtained his Private Pilot license in 1978, and has accumulated about 700 hours since. He started his lessons with the Lockheed Aero Club, flying Cessna 172’s out of San Jose. Bill’s father was an engineer at Lockheed.

Bill’s job as an engineering manager with Intel keeps him very busy, but his other life revolves around flying. Bill’s wife, Jody, also
shares the passion of aviation. Jody spent eleven years flying C-130s for the Coast Guard, and is now in the Reserve. In fact, Bill and Jody got
married in a Beech D-18. The wedding party flew as a five ship formation. The official ceremony, onboard a Beech D-18, was broadcast on the radio to the others in the five ship formation. As the official words “I now pronounce you man and wife” were broadcast on the radio to the other four airplanes, one airplane turned on his smoke. Sounds cool. The reception was then held in a hangar at Vacaville Airport.

Bill has flown Cessna 172s, Cessna 152s, Pipers, Citabrias, and AT-6s, but his favorite airplane, by far, is his own RV-6 that he built and completed in 2012. Jody provided a lot of encouragement to keep working on the RV until it was completed. Bill says the RV-6 has many capabilities. It’s aerobatic, efficient (cheap to fly), and fast (175-180 kts. TAS). The only drawback for Bill is that the RV-6 is only a two place airplane. Bill and Jody’s five year old son, Willy, LOVES to fly in the RV. Willy has fallen in love with Bill’s airplane. Willy loves to clean off the bugs, and has been seen kissing the airplane “good-by” when the hangar door is being closed. Bill has flown his RV to Oshkosh (twice), and as far as the Caribbean. This involved 568 miles over water. Building your own airplane gives you a lot of confidence in the airplane.

Unique to Bill’s RV-6 is that the airplane is not painted, but is instead “wrapped.” Wrapping is only legal on experimental aircraft, weighs about 30%
of a painted finish, is ½ the cost, and can be done in one weekend. The registration number on Bills RV is N212BJ. February 12 was the day Willy was born, and BJ stands for Bill and Jody. This is a flying family.