Strategic Advisor – Middlebury, CT
Guest Speaker – 3/4/2021
Eric Zipkin serves as a Strategic Advisor to Young Pilots USA, consulting on the management of the national organization and non-profit financial management, in addition to logistical coordination roles with the Goodspeed Fly-In and Coast-to-Coast Cub flight. He presented at Young Pilots USA on Thursday, March 4th, 2021, focusing on opportunities for young people to get involved with warbirds. Originally from Bedford, NY, Eric first got involved in aviation through his father, who earned his Private Pilot License in 1951 on the G.I. Bill as a World War II veteran and owned a Boeing Stearman.
Eric is the President of Tradewind Aviation, an independent regional air charter and premium scheduled service company which he founded in 2001 with a single Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, and has since expanded to operating 25 aircraft, including the Pilatus PC-12 and Cessna Citation CJ3.
He is the President of the Board of Directors of the Tunison Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of a D-Day veteran aircraft, the 1942 Douglas C-47 Placid Lassie. As Chief Pilot of the D-Day Squadron, a Tunison Foundation campaign in 2019, Zipkin organized the Atlantic crossing of 15 DC-3, C-47, and C-53 aircraft to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion and the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The Foundation also owns a Consolidated Vultee PBY-5A Catalina under long-term restoration. He is a member of the Commemorative Air Force's Sea Control Squadron in Rhode Island, as well as the North American Trainer Association and the Soaring Society of America.
Prior to aviation, Eric started his career in real estate development in southern New York, later starting and selling an e-commerce business selling antique car parts in Brewster, NY, which was later named on Forbes' Best of the Internet list. He became a professional pilot in 2000 as a seaplane flight instructor in East Haddam, CT, and later flew air charter in Piper Navajos and night cargo in Cessna Caravans.
Zipkin holds a B.S. in Economics, with a concentration in Entrepreneurial Management, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from the class of 1995, and attended the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. He also serves on the aviation advisory board of Bridgewater State University and has been a featured speaker at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a dual U.S. and French citizen, and speaks English and French fluently.
As a pilot, Eric Zipkin holds an Airline Transport Pilot License. He holds ATP-level ASEL, ASES, AMEL, and AMES ratings, and a Commercial-level glider rating. He holds CFI and MEI instruction certifications, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 525 series (single-pilot), Douglas DC-3, and a VFR-only type rating in the Grumman TBM Avenger. Mr. Zipkin also recently completed an Experimental Aircraft Authorization for the North American P-51 Mustang. He holds a current FAST Lead formation flying qualification, as well as a qualification to both fly into and instruct at Aérodrome Rémy-de-Haenen (TFFJ) in St. Barths. Mr. Zipkin has made nearly a dozen Atlantic crossings in light aircraft and has performed at airshows across the United States. He has flown over 60 types of aircraft and has over 10,000 hours of flight time, much of it in tailwheel and warbird aircraft.
As an aircraft owner, Zipkin currently owns and operates his 1946 Piper J3C-65 Cub, 1980 Piper PA-23 Aztec F, 1942 Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor, and 1976 Cessna 180J Skywagon. Previously, he owned a Cessna 172M, Cessna 210N, and Ryan Navion A. He is also the co-owner of Goodspeed Airport (42B) in East Haddam, CT, since November 2020.
Eric lives in Middlebury, CT with his wife, Ann, and sons Luc (16) and Ben (13), when not managing the Goodspeed Airport in East Haddam, CT or travelling to the Caribbean on business.