Eric Zipkin

Middlebury, CT

Eric Zipkin serves as a Strategic Advisor to Young Pilots USA, consulting on the management of the national organization and non-profit financial management. Originally from Bedford, NY, Eric first got involved in aviation through his father, who earned his Private Pilot License on the G.I. Bill as a World War II veteran and owned a Stearman biplane.

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. Today, Tradewind operates 18 Pilatus PC-12s, 3 Cessna Citation CJ3s, has grown its team to over 180 people, and has bases in Oxford, CT, White Plains, NY, and San Juan, PR, with a further 20 Pilatus PC-12 NGX aircraft on order that will make the company one of the world's largest operators of the type.

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, Zipkin organized the Atlantic crossing of 15 DC-3/C-47/C-53 aircraft to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion and the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. He serves on the General Staff of the Commemorative Air Force and on the aviation advisory board of Bridgewater State University, and is a member of 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, started and sold an e-commerce business in ​antique car parts, and later became a professional pilot as a seaplane flight instructor in East Haddam, CT, before flying air charter in Piper Navajos and night cargo in Cessna Caravans.

Mr. Zipkin holds a B.S. in Economics and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and attended the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. He 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 holds an Airline Transport Pilot license with ASEL, ASES, AMEL, and AMES ratings and a Commercial Glider rating, along with type ratings or experimental aircraft authorizations in the Cessna Citation 525 series, Douglas DC-3, Grumman TBM Avenger, and North American P-51 Mustang. Mr. Zipkin holds CFI, CFII, and MEI instruction qualifications and a FAST Lead formation qualification, and led the only known formation of civilian aircraft to fly over a sitting U.S. President, with several other heads of state also in attendance. With almost 11,000 hours in the air across over 60 types, he has made almost a dozen Atlantic crossings in light aircraft and performed at airshows across the United States.

Mr. Zipkin owns and operates a variety of airplanes, but prefers the helm of his World War II veteran Beech 18. 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 (17) and Ben (15), when not managing the Goodspeed Airport in East Haddam, CT or travelling to the Caribbean on business.