STEWART LAWRENCE — Chairman, Mission Commander
JOHN “JB” HOLLYER — Chief Executive Officer, Pilot
MIKE BARKSDALE — President, Pilot
CHARLIE “TUNA” HAINLINE — Vice President, Pilot
MARK SKINNER — Vice President
MARY MILLER — Treasurer & Secretary
ROBERT “HOOT” GIBSON — Advisory Board Member
PAT DEEGAN — Pilot, Operations Guru
DON “MUDDY” WATROUS — Pilot
ERIC SPEARS — Crew Chief
Chairman, Mission Commander
Stewart Lawrence, born in Miami in 1960, moved to the Bahamas aboard a sailboat in 1973, earned his GED and joined the U.S. Navy in 1977. Following his honorable discharge as a Machinist Mate, Second Class Petty Officer in 1982, Stewart matriculated at the University of Houston, graduating magna cum laude in Journalism in 1987, newly married to his Spanish class crush.
Stewart’s first direct boss out of college was world renown corporate activist T. Boone Pickens at Mesa MLP in Amarillo, TX, where he served as speech writer and corporate communications specialist. Having been so gloriously introduced to the business world, he returned to the University of Houston and earned an MBA in Finance in 1993 while working full-time in corporate communications at Panhandle Eastern Corp.
With the MBA in hand, Stewart pursued progressively advancing investor relations positions at Tesoro Petroleum in San Antonio, MCN Energy in Detroit, Anadarko Petroleum in Houston, and Energy XXI in Houston, where he retired in October 2014 as Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications.
In January 2012, Stewart and Captain Mike Bialka co-founded Albatross Adventures LLC upon the purchase of Pegasus, their first Grumman Albatross. Stewart serves as Managing Member, with co-owner Mike Barksdale, who purchased his interest following Captain Bialka’s untimely passing in December 2017. Following the September 2012 purchase of Zeus, a second Albatross, from Charlie “Tuna” Hainline, the partnership began operating under the name Everything Albatross, appearing at air shows across the south. Stewart, Captain Bialka and J.B. Hollyer, who purchased Pegasus from Albatross Adventures, founded Seaplane Crossings as a Texas non-profit corporation in 2017.
John “JB” Hollyer
Chief Executive Officer, Pilot
JB Hollyer is the consummate people-oriented leader, aviator, visionary and professional. He specializes in cross-corporate/cross-venture strategic partnerships and alliances, and has extensive experience in the start-up and development of commercial ventures.
JB developed the HyperSpace Fun Center, a one-of-a-kind family entertainment center, from concept through business plan, financing, construction and start-up. His vast background and 24+ years of experience in the US Navy (naval aviation operations, flight training, system development, flight test, acquisition) have given him the ability to read the winds of change flawlessly. From the ashes of large corporate buyouts, he co-founded ASEC-Inc., a rapidly growing government support services contractor with hooks into the leading-edge acquisition groups within the Naval Air Systems Command, helping to grow it from the four visionary co-founders into nearly 150 employees in less than six years. He left ASEC to found HSSInc and Stargazer Aeronautical Services LLC, to further his interests in flight testing and flight test engineering. His superb hands-on, in-the-trenches leadership and people skills allow him to read people quickly and size up meetings and programs rapidly, allowing him to match people skills with programmatic needs and to maximize output.
J. Michael Barksdale
Captain Mike “Dawg” Barksdale was born in Denver and grew up in an aviation family. His father, Jim, flew fighters in World War II, then became an airline pilot and married a stewardess, Mike’s mother, Rita. His grandfather flew in WW I in France, so Mike is a 3rd generation pilot. He started flying about 50 years ago and now has more than 37,000 hours in a variety of airplanes. He started his aviation career in San Jose, California, moved on to Chicago, then Los Angeles, where he joined Continental Airlines.
Mike spent most of his Continental career in Denver and Houston flying the B-727, DC-9, MD-80, DC-10, B-757, B-767, B-777 and B-787, operating as a Line Check Airman on most. He finished his career on the B-787 where he was FAA designated Initial Cadre for the then new B-787 Dreamliner. As the first Lead Line Check Airman, he set up the initial airborne training for the new aircraft, working closely with the FAA and Boeing. Mike was named “2013 Captain of the Year” for United Airlines (Continental’s successor) in Houston. After retiring several years ago, he moved to Auckland, where Air New Zealand was the launch customer for the next generation Dreamliner, the B-787-9, helping set up their initial training program. After returning to Houston, Mike joined Boeing’s training department as a Global Instructor for the B-787, teaching at Boeing campuses around the world, most recently starting a new B-787 program for ANA in Japan.
Mike owns seven airplanes, so he remains active in General Aviation, flying many types of aircraft, mostly his Citabria and Zeus, the HU-16 Albatross. He also operates a small flight school from his hangar at the Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport for higher levels of training, ATP and Commercial Multi-engine. He is the FIRC (Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic) Director for the Greater Houston Association of Flight Instructors. As Director, Mike conducts quarterly safety clinics providing FAA-approved credit for Flight Instructors. Mike also is a founding member of the newly formed Advisory Board for the Lonestar College Professional Pilot program, working with other members of the aviation community to develop a four-year college degree with all ratings, though Commercial and CFI’s.
Mike works with the Wings Over Houston Airshow, previously as the Waiver Holder, and now as the Team Liaison for show teams like the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, Canadian Snow Birds, Breitling and others. Mike has hosted a large group of friends at the Reno Air Races for many years, and a few years ago formed his own race team in the Formula 1 Class for several Cassutt racers, including one flown by his son Jason, who won “Rookie of the Year” in 2017.
Charles H. Hainline
Vice President, Pilot
Charlie “Tuna” Hainline was born in Medford, Oregon in 1964. He grew up on a small farm and worked his way through college harvesting wheat and grass seed in the Willamette Valley. He saved up and learned to fly when he was 18—his instructor would land the Aeronca Champ on a farm road near the field Charlie was working and give him a lesson at lunch time. Upon graduation from Oregon State University, Charlie was accepted to US Air Force Officer Training School and was commissioned a 2nd Lt in October 1986. Charlie flew the A-10 in Korea and in Louisiana, where they started calling him “Tuna,” then moved on to the F-117 Stealth Fighter at Tonopah Test Range, NV and Holloman AFB, NM. After the F-117 he was accepted as an exchange officer with the Navy, where he flew the F/A-18 Hornet in VFA-106. As a RAG (RTU) instructor, he was carrier qualified with over 100 traps (101, to be exact). He then was re-assigned to the F-117 where he saw combat action over Belgrade in the Kosovo conflict. During this time, Tuna flew multiple combat missions during Operation ALLIED FORCE, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the F-117, Tuna flew the F-4F with the German RTU at Holloman AFB, NM then finished his career flying the QF-4, becoming the first F-4 West Heritage Pilot. In 2006, Tuna retired as a Lt Col and Command Pilot with over 5,000 total hours in the T-37, T-38, A-10, F-117A, F/A-18A/B/C/D, T-34C, F-4F, and QF-4E/G. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one device, Air Force Achievement Medal with three devices, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Air and Space Campaign Medal, and Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.
After retirement, Tuna was hired by a commercial airline and flies the 737. He spends his spare time working on airplanes—he has restored a Stearman, T-6, J-3 Cub, DHC-2 Beaver, Beech 18, and Zeus, the Grumman Albatross. Tuna also flies with the Lone Star Flight Museum, in Houston, where he is qualified on the PT-17, T-6, B-17, B-25, P-47, F4U, AD Skyraider, and the P-51.
Mary L. Miller
Treasurer & Secretary
Advisory Board Bios
Robert “Hoot” Gibson
Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson, United States Navy, graduated with an Associate Degree from Suffolk County Community College on Long Island New York, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. He entered the United States Navy and served as a Fighter Pilot in F-4 “Phantom” and F-14 “Tomcat” Aircraft and flew combat missions in Southeast Asia, making more than 300 carrier landings aboard the Aircraft Carriers “USS Coral Sea” and “USS Enterprise”. After attending the Navy Fighter Weapons School “Topgun”, he graduated first in his class at the U. S. Navy Test Pilot School and served as a Flight Test Pilot prior to being selected as an Astronaut in 1978 in the first Space Shuttle Astronaut selection.
In 18 years as an Astronaut he flew 5 Space Flights, 4 of them as the Mission Commander, aboard the Space Shuttles “Challenger”, Columbia”, “Atlantis”, and “Endeavour”, and accumulated over 36 days in space. His final Space Flight was the first mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station “Mir” in 1995. In his career with NASA, he held the positions of Deputy Chief of NASA Aircraft Operations, as the Chief of the Astronaut Office, and as the Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations.
After leaving NASA and retiring from the U. S. Navy in 1996, Captain Gibson flew for 10 years as an airline pilot and Captain with Southwest Airlines. In a flying career covering over 45 years, he has accumulated more than 14,000 hours of flight time in more than 150 types of military and civilian aircraft. He has been an Air Race Pilot in the Reno National Championship Air Races, racing in the Unlimited Class and the Jet Class and was the Unlimited National Air Race Champion in 2015.
He has received numerous honors, awards and decorations including the DOD Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (3 awards), the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. He has been awarded numerous international medals as well, including the Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Medal from the Russian Federation, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) in 1995, and two awards of the FAI Louis Bleriot Medal in 1991and 2004.
He has established six World Records for aircraft; “Altitude in Horizontal Flight”, Class C-1A in 1991; “Time to Climb to 9000 meters”, Class C-1A in 1994; “100 Kilometer Closed Course Speed Record”, Class C-1A in 2004; “Speed over a Recognized Course” Seattle to Las Vegas, Jet Class C-1H in 2004; “Speed over a Recognized Course” Las Vegas to Wichita, Jet Class C-1H in 2004; and “Speed over a Recognized Course” Chester, England to Geneva, Switzerland, Jet Class C-1H in 2009.
He has also established 3 World Records for Spaceflight: “Assembled Mass of Spacecraft in Earth Orbit”, Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir, 1995; “Distance Traveled in Linked Flight”, Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir, 1995; and “Altitude in Linked Flight”, Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir, 1995.
Other honors and awards include “The Freedom of Flight Award” from the Experimental Aircraft Association in 1989, “The Crystal Eagle Award” from the Aero Club of Northern California for “Contributions to the Realm of Aeronautics and Space – as a Pilot, an Engineer and a Manager” in 1997, selection as a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1998, selection as an “Honored Alumni of the Year” by the California Polytechnic College of Engineering in 1986, the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” by Suffolk County Community College in 1993, the California State University “Year of the Alumni Award” in 1996, and the “Outstanding Alumni Award” by the American Association of Community Colleges in 1997. He has been awarded two Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees, one from Westminster College in 2002, and one from the California University System in 2004. He was also awarded a “Doctor of Aeronautical Engineering, Honoris Causa” from the Indiana Institute of Technology in 2009.
Captain Gibson was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003, the Long Island Air and Space Hall of Fame in 2011, the Spacecamp Hall of Fame in 2012, the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2015, and was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2013.
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