Rich Perkins’ Resume

Rich Perkins

Lt. Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

Livermore CA

(925) 337-2156


  • Master Aviator.  Holds highest Pilot ratings in both Civilian and Military aviation.
  • 40+ years, 11,000+ hours flight experience in 140+ different aircraft.
  • Flying airshows since 2001.  Low level Aerobatic Entertainer and Consummate Crowd Pleaser.
  • Holds Zero Altitude Air Show Waiver in both Jets and Propeller Driven Aerobatic Aircraft.
  • Experimental test pilot.  Experimental Aircraft Association Flight Advisor.
  • Decades of experience managing multimillion to multibillion dollar assets.
  • Decades of supervisory experience, from 1 to 300 personnel.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously in high stress, high visibility situations.
  • Expert planner and coordinator.  Projects, Air Shows and International Conflicts on time and on budget.
  • A self-starter.  Built aviation organization from 0 to over 1000 members in 26 countries in just three years.
  • Professional Speaker.  Sought after Presenter.
  • Published Writer, Experienced Editor.  Professional Photographer.


1997-Present  Flight Instructor, Airshow Pilot, Test Pilot, Consultant

Nationally recognized Professional Air Show Performer.  Flies the only single ship L-39 Jet Aerobatics act in the U.S.  (See  Only L-39 pilot in the U.S. who holds a Level One Low Altitude Waiver, allowing aerobatic flights down to “Zero Altitude.”  Known for the Firecat Wall of Fire performance.  Featured in “Air Classics,” “Airshow,”, “World Airshow News,” and other periodicals.  Also qualified for low level aerobatics in high performance propeller driven aerobatic aircraft and the BD-5J, the world’s smallest jet.  Well known and respected member of the International Council of Air Shows, the trade organization for the air show industry.

1997-2016  CEO, Attitude Aviation, Inc., Livermore, CA

Grew unique aerobatic and adventure flight school from one small hangar and one airplane to the largest school of its type.  Runs most eclectic fleet of rental and ride aircraft in the U.S.  In addition to basic, aerobatic, tailwheel and formation training, offers nostalgic biplane tours, jet orientation flights, air combat flights, open cockpit aerobatics, warbird experiences, etc.  Flies everything.  Manages all aspects of multimillion dollar organization encompassing all aspects of aviation.  Kept Attitude Aviation growing when other flight schools failed after 9/11.  Diversified revenue streams to include Aircraft Maintenance, Aircraft Storage and Care, and Retail Sales in addition to Flight Training and Aircraft Rental.  Made Attitude Aviation a world aviation destination for fun flying and aviation service.

1992-2002  Director, US Air Force Technical Liaison Office, NASA Ames Research Center, CA

Managed complex aerospace research projects, coordinating efforts of all four Air Force Laboratories with two major NASA research centers.  Expanded the technology envelope through engineering analysis and translation of highly technical concepts into reality.  Leveraged assets worth several billion dollars to eliminate duplication of effort, save significant money and increase effectiveness of all organizations involved.  Published quarterly NASA activity report, praised by top execs, which spurred new research efforts.  Promoted joint USAF/NASA deicing fluid research which saved the Air Force $1.5 billion in environmental cleanup costs.  Made possible computational fluid dynamics analysis of C-17 wing by NASA which will save $50 million in fuel costs.  Supervised high lift technology test in world’s largest wind tunnel, with direct transfer to our next generation fighter.  NASA deemed this test the most successful in data quantity and quality ever run in that tunnel.

1987-1992  Director, U-2 Special Operations Branch and Staff Officer, Offutt AFB, NE

Directed worldwide U-2 reconnaissance aircraft operations, coordinating highly classified activities with national and international agencies.  Produced unprecedented 95%+ mission success rate during Desert Storm, the largest, most complex U-2 deployment in history.  Established formal course of training and co-authored U-2 training regulations.  Briefed top level executives daily.  Scripted, produced and narrated highly praised reconnaissance video for CEO of multibillion dollar organization.  Constructed budget for U-2 Program.

1984-1987  U-2/TR-1 Flight Examiner, Flight Commander, Instructor Pilot and Pilot

Set the standards in one of the world’s most elite flying units.  Flew unique U-2 and TR-1 spy planes on classified reconnaissance missions world wide.  Nationally tasked and internationally sensitive, these long duration, high altitude missions were flown solo, in a full pressure suit in a near-space environment.  Due to the inherent danger of these missions and the possibility of capture, the program was Volunteer Only.  Due to the missions. importance and sensitivity, the results were often briefed directly to the President of the United States.

1981-1984  Instructional Program Developer, T-38 Instructor Pilot, Randolph AFB, TX

Created academic courseware used in Air Force Pilot Training.  Authored four textbooks and five instructor guides; co-authored others.  Broke new ground authoring and introducing computer assisted instruction to military pilot training.  Produced instructional audiovisuals.  Served as public spokesman for multibillion dollar training and education organization, presenting multimedia briefings to numerous VIPs.  Air Force Air University’s expert on public speaking noted presentation was one of the best he had ever observed.  Also flew daily as select T-38 instructor pilot, teaching pilots to be instructors.

1978-1981  T-38 Instructor Pilot and Director of Academics, Columbus AFB, MS

Advanced jet instructor.  Taught aerobatics, basic combat maneuvers, formation, instruments, and navigation, including high-speed low-level navigation in supersonic jets.  Managed instructor staff and academic training of over 1000 student pilots.  Top notch platform instructor and lecturer.  Cited as “Best Instructor Pilot” and “Best Academic Instructor” by numerous classes.

1975-1978  C-130E/H Aircraft Commander, Little Rock AFB, AR

Flew tactical airlift worldwide, including air drop, disaster relief and secret courier missions.  Top grad in C-130 training.  Upgraded to aircraft commander in minimum time.  Youngest Aircraft Commander in the world’s largest tactical airlift wing.

1974-1975  U.S. Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training, Moody AFB, GA

Graduated in top 10% in a training program where 50% failed to even finish.  Top academic graduate.  One of only eight selected as Fighter Qualified directly out of pilot training.

1969-1974  Professional Photographer, Manager of photographic outlets, Student. Columbus, MS

Obtained BS in Aerospace Engineering on full Air Force scholarship.  Ran successful photographic business in portrait, wedding, technical and advertising photography.  Top salesperson at two photo equipment retailers.  Photography instructor.


  • BS, Aerospace Engineering, Mississippi State University, 1973.
  • MA, Business Administration, Webster University, 1983.
  • MA, Management, Webster University, 1983
  • Graduate of numerous US Air Force leadership, management, instructor and technical schools.


  • Over 11,000 hours, mostly turbine, in 140+ different aircraft
  • Commercial Single Engine Land (SEL) License
  • Commercial Single Engine Seaplane (SES) License
  • Air Transport Pilot (ATP) Multi Engine Land (MEL) License
  • Air Transport Pilot (ATP), Multi Engine Seaplane (MES) License
  • Instrument, Airplane License
  • Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI)
  • Type Rating: L-382 (C-130)
  • Additional Authorization: Aero L-39
  • Additional Authorization: Iskra TS-11
  • Level One Aerobatic Competency Card holder.  (Zero Altitude Waiver)


  • USAF Pilot Training: Top 10 Graduate, Academic Excellence Award
  • Best Instructor Pilot Awards (6)
  • Best Academic Instructor Awards (8)
  • Special Flight Safety Award (Solo Save of a $100,000,000 aircraft)
  • Top Performer Awards (3), Squadron Officer School: Writing, Speaking and Academics
  • Top Graduate, Academic Instructor School
  • Air Medals (2): Highly classified U-2 missions (some tasked by and briefed to the President of the United States)
  • Meritorious Service Medals (4).  Outstanding performance as:
    • U-2 Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander and Flight Examiner
    • U-2 Battle Staff and Director of U-2 Special Operations
    • Technical Writer and Courseware Developer
    • Instructor Pilot and Director of Academics, T-38


  • International Council of Air Shows
  • Classic Jets Association
  • Blackbird Association
  • Silent Birdmen Association
  • Experimental Aircraft Association
  • Warbirds of America
  • International Aerobatic Club
  • National Association of Flight Instructors
  • Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association


Flying, experimental aircraft construction and test, fitness, kayaking, hiking, free diving, hang gliding, auto restoration, scuba diving, camping, reading, writing, photography, visual arts, performing arts, music, etc.