As the publisher of AVweb (since 2012), Tom Bliss is also chairman of the Triple R program and an active owner-pilot with 2,300 hours in 26 different airplanes, with instrument and commercial tickets. "It's a balancing act that is sometimes overwhelming but never dull," he says.
Tom joined AVweb after running Bliss Marketing Communications, a technology-focused marcom agency in Phoenix for 28 years and servicing some 300 clients in five states with a progression of airplanes beginning with a Mooney M20C and moving up to an A36 Bonanza and eventually a Cessna P-210N Centurion.
Before the agency, he managed marcom for divisions of Sperry Flight Systems (now Honeywell) and Collins Avionics.
His first marketing job was at Cessna in the days when Wichita produced hundreds of airplanes every week. Although those days are long gone, he thinks there is a strong future ahead for GA but in a different way than you might think.
Tom's flying story...
All things that fly fascinated Tom as a kid growing up in Ames, Iowa, including his first trip to the local airport fly-in circa 1960.
A flight in a 172 float plane at age 10 and a few airline flights by age 12 were as close to the yoke as he was able to get.
But at age 15, a friend's dad took Tom flying in a new Mooney executive with curtains and a fake wood instrument panel no less and after an hour of flying from the right seat, "my life would never be the same", he says.
A year later, in 1971, he was 16, a junior at Ames High school in Ames, Iowa and a part time line boy, pumping gas and washing airplanes in the afternoons and learning to fly Saturdays and at night. He soloed after six hours at Goodrich Aviation, a Cessna Pilot Center.
A year later, thanks in part to a swimming scholarship at Arizona State University, he passed his Private Pilot check ride via the University's Aero Tech program and later earned a commercial license. He has also owned a share of a Mooney M-20C and was the sole owner of an A-36 Bonanza before trading up to the pressurized 185-knot Cessna P210N Centurion.