Pilot of the Month- March 2024 Jonathan Peterson (@ultimajp)

Pilot of the Month- March 2024 Jonathan Peterson (@ultimajp)

We would like to Introduce you to Mach Coatings Pilot of the Month for March 2024. Jonathan Peterson. We interviewed him recenlty and asked him what his passion is for aviation.
Read it here or Watch now on our YouTube Channel the full Interview! 

Mach Coatings: Tell us a little bit about you, and your background before we get started. 

Jonathan: Yeah, so I'm Instagram @ultimajp, and my background is in finance, and thats was I do as a day job. I am actually starting college again this summer for aerospace engineering. Part of my airplane project has sparked an interest in engineering, and I would like to learn more about my project because there's a lot of things that I'm kind of, I don't know, pencil whipping or, like, I'm just doing, what do they call that, where you kind of just do elementary type math to solve a problem, but it's like, it's good enough math.

I was originally a car guy, and I had a Dodge Viper. I had it fully built. I had a lot of horsepower, and I frisbee'd it off the road.
So it was essentially my very first flying car. (Sad but funny joke) 

So yeah, I Frisbee'd it off the road at 140 miles an hour until I hit a tree at around 100, knocked the tree completely down and then continued to slide, like 500ft onto a golf course. So then I decided that I should get into aviation because it's more regulated and there's no trees in the sky. I thought, man, well, if I want to reduce my chances of hitting a tree, I should get into aviation. Naturally, as I'm going through the pilot training process, I start looking to buy a plane.Well I find it's a lot of money to get my pilot's license. What am I going to do with this? So I had people sending me airplanes, and someone sent me the plane that I have now.

And it's the ls one that was built by Chris Operman back in 2003. This plane has kind of gone through a few different hands. Nobody really flew it. And I think a lot of people were really scared of it. There's not a whole lot of information on it. I had to do a lot of digging and a lot of asking people talking to, and I'm super thankful for the previous owners because they've been able to give me all of the information that they have and just kind of tracking things down and doing a lot of research and having other test pilots and engineers look at it and kind of give me their feedback. And now we are where we're at today, where I basically took every single wire out of the plane. I completely rewired it from nose to tail.

Because the FAA has a traditional old school thinking, they haven't really bridged that gap. And me being a car guy, I'm like, no, I trust this stuff. I have a lot of experience with some of it. So took out all the traditional circuit breakers, all the traditional relays, switches, and we put in a solid state PDM.

So it's kind of like a very modern car where it's all computer controlled and I can monitor everything. I can literally monitor every single circuit in the plane, which is great because it allows me to see a problem before it happens. So I have a really good example for that, is I have two fuel pumps, I have a primary and a backup fuel pump. Right. So if I have a fuel pump failure, I have the other one as my redundancy. But I also have a warning on my PDM to where if it starts drawing 14 or 15 or 16 amps, if it starts drawing more amps than what it's supposed to or less amps than what it's supposed to, it'll show me a warning. So I had a fuel pump that was drawing a lot of amps and it was tripping the system.

So I'm a huge fan of the modern technology with just what's out there. And I guess my biggest goal with that is to just bridge the gap between the automotive enthusiast and the aviation enthusiast.


Mach Coatings: What type of Training have you gone thru? 

Jonathan: Yeah, great question. So I went just like traditional. I didn't go to an actual school. I just did the kind of at your own pace type of thing. I went through the king school, ground school instructors. He was just hitting his 1500 hours and left me on the finish line. I like to joke with him, he's a really good friend of mine, but that set me back a little bit. Just changing instructors. Because then you go to a new instructor and then especially because the instructor I went to was a newer instructor and then. So they have a lot on the line, right. They don't want to sign a student off. And then something happened with that student or that student failed a check ride. It makes them look bad. So I totally understand. It just put me back just a little bit.

It wasn't a big deal. But yeah, I just trained in like a 150. And then when I got my rv seven, I had to go through additional training. One because it's high performance, and then two because just for my insurance, they wanted me to have a minimum of 10 hours with an instructor in the airplane before I could be fully insured. So I've definitely gone way beyond there. I've flown in it with a test pilot, and we've had a lot of good times in it. We've emergency landed it once and just been testing and tuning it ever since the whole rewire thing, and it's been a lot of fun. And we're kind of finally getting it to a point where she's running really good, better than she's ever ran before. So I'm excited for that and excited for what's to come.

Jonathan Peterson

Mach Coatings: What has given you that reason, or that passion for aviation that you have? 

Jonathan: Airplanes are cool, right? And I've been so fortunate, and I'm very thankful for all the support that I have on the social media. And even outside of social medias, I've gotten the chance just because of the project that I own. I've really gotten a chance to meet and network with some super interesting people. And it's cool. It's really cool to also be able to share that experience with other people. I think every time I take someone for a ride in my plane that either isn't really into aviation or it's their first time in a small airplane, those are the moments where you're like, this is it. I'm lucky enough, and I'm fortunate enough to be able to share this experience with other people.

It reminds me of a lot of when I had my Viper, because I just remember going on a road trip in that car, and I stopped for gas because they got the worst fuel economy ever. When you have, like, 1000 hp, you're only getting 100 miles per tank. So we stopped at a lot of gas stations, and there was a gentleman there who was like, oh, my gosh. The Dodge Viper is my dream car. I've never seen one in person. And the guy was just like, he'd just never seen this car ever in his life. And I'm like, do you want to sit in it? He's like, no. And then I let him start it, and it literally, that guy will probably remember that moment for a really long time.

Aviation has had the same sort of positive impact, and it just makes me feel really good to be able to share that with people. And it gets even cooler with airplanes because cars are definitely really cool. But when you get to take someone to a small airport and you get to just drive through because you have gate code access. You can just drive up to an airplane. People just have no idea what that experience is like, and it's so much fun. 

Mach Coatings: What advice would you give someone who's looking to turn this passion into maybe a career or to turn it into just a hobby? What steps would you give them?

Jonathan: Oh, yeah, great question. And actually, I love this question because I'm helping someone else through it right now. My advice would be

1. Go do a discovery flight first. Just do a discovery flight if you have a negative experience with that. Try one more. Sorry, try one more discovery flight if you have a negative experience the first time, because I had a very negative experience the first time, and it was four years before I went and tried again. The instructor was super arrogant. I got motion sick. It was an extremely hot day. It was just like a combination of miserable things. And I'm like, man, do I really want to be an aviator? When I finally went back, it was a complete opposite experience. So one, do a discovery flight.

2. If you decide to proceed with it, go get your written out of the way. And then you just stay consistent. One lesson a week, or two lessons a week, whatever you can afford, just start.

Because it doesn't matter if it takes you one month or twelve months. You just have to start. And that was the other reason I didn't do it for so long, was because I knew that it was going to be $10,000 and I didn't understand at the time that I didn't have to pay that all up front, I didn't understand that, oh, I can just pay a couple of $100 every single time as I go do my lessons, and I think it's important for people to understand that. So if you can just, whatever you can budget, just go out there and do it, and then you'll figure other things out.

There's tons of different scholarship opportunities if you really want to do it for a career, or there's different loan programs and stuff like that, depending on how serious you want to get with it. 
ls swapped plane

Mach Coatngs: Do you see any industry trends that are moving forward as far as this is something to look out for in the future?

Jonathan: I love it. Because I really am trying to make a difference, especially the experimental aviation community. I think there's a lot of really good technology out there that we're not tapping into, and I personally would really like to see us get away from 50, 60 year old technology and actually be innovative. I think there's a huge lack of innovation, especially in experimental aviation. I think people are kind of stuck doing the same thing, and then if you step outside of that box, a lot of times you're blacklisted for it almost. I get a lot of people that won't associate with me, don't want to have anything to do with my project because of the automotive engine, and I'm just really pushing to make it more acceptable. So that's one thing I'm focused on.

As far as the industry as a whole, I really don't know. I like what dark arrow is doing. I can't wait to see them finish their project. I think it's a really cool plane. I'd love to see one with an LS3 in it, but that's just me.

Mach Coatings: So, any closing thoughts that you would like to share for the aviation community? Something that you would aspire them to know about you or about your plane?

Jonathan: I should have prepared for this question more. Yeah, I think, don't be afraid to be innovative, and don't be afraid to fail. I mean, kind of going back to training, being more accessible. Don't be afraid to train. I think it's very good, actually. Don't let things impact your confidence as an aviator. I think I actually have a buddy here that just had a little airplane crash. He nosed over in a tail wheel and had a prop strike. Especially like him being a younger or a lower time pilot. I would really like to see people learn from those experiences and then be able to share that and become instructors to talk about those experiences.

I think maybe a lot of times our instructors don't have critical experiences, or they don't talk about them enough, because there is a lot of learning from each of those, and there's very well qualified pilots that still have accidents. So it's not something that you need to hide or be ashamed of. Lets become a let's be open about that, let's share that, and then let's also, as a community, not be judgmental towards those people.


Thank you Jonathon for being part of the Pilot of the Month Program. We cant wait for you to try your Mach Coatings Aviation Detail Spray. 

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