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Danny Mortensen

Human Factors, Aviation Humor

DANNY MORTENSEN was an air traffic controller at several different airports. As President of Bill Phelps’ Airline Ground Schools for many years, he co-authored The Airline Career and Interview Manual. Danny retired from the airlines in 2010 and founded The Aviation Speakers Bureau. Having flown numerous air races, he took the 1990 first-place trophy at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. Danny put some of his most unbelievable but true pilot and controller stories in his book Confessions of an Air Traffic Controller: An Autobiography of Adventure, Humor, Lack of Talent, and Terror by a Unique Aviator. At the podium, Danny shares some of his best wacky, unique funny stories of flying and air traffic control. At the 2022 Official Kickoff in Theater in the Woods at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Danny had an audience of over 2,000 pilots roaring with laughter. 


Topics include

  • Safety Management Systems (SMS),

  • CFIT/Controlled Flight Into Terrain

  • Crash at Reno—Accident Investigation

  • ATC Humor—Confessions of an Air Traffic Controller

Licenses and ratings: Airline Transport Pilot, Multiengine, Certified Flight Instructor, Instrument, FAA Control Tower Operator, FAA Designated Aircraft Dispatch Examiner, Advanced Ground Instructor, Aircraft Dispatcher  


1996-2010    Instructor, DHL / ASTAR Air Cargo*

1993-1995    Airline Dispatcher Program Manager/Instructor; Sierra Academy, Oakland, CA. As a FAA dispatch examiner conducted

                      over 1,000 checkrides.

1990              Co-founder of CATS FAA Computer Testing

1987-2010    President; Bill Phelps' Airline, Ground Schools Inc. (AGS)

1984-1987    Senior Instructor, Airline Ground Schools

1982-1984    Aviation Products Manager/Corporate Pilot; Company Rep, AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants

1973-1981    FAA Air Traffic Controller

1970-1972    Infantry Officer, US Army


* Accident Analysis on airline accidents including:

  Avianca #052, JFK 1990, Eastern #66, JFK 1975 

  United #173, Portland, OR 1978, Northwest #750, Detroit 1987

  United #585, Colorado Springs 1991, AIA #808, Guantanamo 1993

  Korean Airlines, Guam 1997, American #1420, Little Rock, 1999

  and CFIT, Controlled Flight Into Terrain.



Author; former radio talk show host - KFOX-FM (California).

1st Place Gold, National Championship Air Races, Reno, NV 1990.

3 world aviation speed and altitude records (since superseded)

US Air Racing Association, past President. Author

Built and flew two race planes now on permanent display in museums.

Owns a 1953 MG-TD Roadster and a 1940 cabin Waco VKS-7 biplane


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