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.
J. Michael Barksdale
President & Chief Executive Officer, Pilot
Captain Mike “Barky” 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.
Treasurer & Secretary