The Flying Cowboys are a group of back country aviation enthusiasts striving to increase their skills while promoting general aviation through continual training and sharing of their lessons learned through social media.
SPANISH FORK, UT
2018 STOL DRAG WORLD CHAMPION
Mike Patey was born in Gresham, Oregon, along with twin brother, Mark, right in the middle of 11 children. He and his wife, Chandra, who is a pilot as well, have 4 children. His aviation journey began in a 1971 Cessna 172L in 2002. He subsequently earned his single/multi-engine land and sea, commercial, instrument, and rotorcraft ratings along with various endorsements. His natural energy and knack for engineering feed his love for the challenge to circumvent the norms and “build it better.” This drives his passion to create and build his own airplanes, which he uses for competitive racing, STOL, flying his family, business, and playing with his fellow “Flying Cowboys.” He holds several aviation records and enthusiastically shares his process and adventures via his YouTube channel.
SPANISH FORK, UT
2017 STOL DRAG WORLD CHAMPION
Born in Gresham, Oregon, in 1972, Mark started life as a high-energy, curious child. Mark has built multiple successful companies, starting the first at the age of 15 and employing hundreds by the age of 21. Mark is an identical twin and lives in Spanish Fork, Utah, with his wife and four sons.
Mark and his family currently own and operate Best Tugs employing hundreds as they manufacture the best general aviation tugs on the market. If you’re in need of an aircraft tug, Best Tugs is the best out there. Past achievements have included building several other successful businesses, both large and small. He was the host of his own motorsports show on ESPN, and is consistently rated as one of the top presenters and trainers in the country.
Mark enjoys collecting, building, and flying airplanes, and donates his time and personal helicopter to the Utah County Search and Rescue. In 2010, the state of Utah awarded Mark with The Citizen Lifesaving Award. He is currently working on his latest project, a 6 cylinder cub.
SPANISH FORK, UT
Jason Sneed was born in Pensacola, Florida. His love of flight began early, thanks to both of his grandfathers. One gave him his first taste in a v-tail Bonanza at the age of 18 months and as he grew older, he was able to work on his other grandfather’s full-sized MD F-4J Phantom II Blue Angel replica in his garage. By age 13, Jason had earned enough money cleaning yards to purchase a Commodore 64, which he used to practice proficiency in instrument flying. In 1999, he completed training in his Cessna 140 and has since acquired instrument and multi-engine commercial ratings. With 2 airplane builds under his belt, a Rans S7S, and a Carbon Cub, he is currently working on “Deception”, a 330 hp Carbon Cub. He is a member of the “Flying Cowboys” and has a profound passion for flying, which he shares with everyone he meets as well as on his YouTube channel, found under “Jason Sneed.”
STOL DRAG CREATOR
Kevin Quinn is a flying freak…seriously. It’s about all he thinks about, and how to do it SAFELY! Kevin is a former professional hockey player and played in the ECHL, WCHL, WHL with brief stints in the IHL and AHL. He retired in 1995 and started pursuing his aviation and ski life. Kevin allocates time between flying airplanes, running his heli-ski operation in Alaska (Points North 24 years), and spending as much time in the ocean at his other home in Kauai, HI. Of course time with his family is the most important to him. Kevin has been flying since he was a kid with his father and relatives growing up in Alaska. Kevin has an FAA Commercial Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate with an instrument rating and currently has just under 9000 hours of total time, most in the off-airport environment. Additionally, he’s an EMT/ Wilderness medicine trainer, Avalanche Educator, and former President of U.S. Heli Ski Association (8 years) and is a Certified Heli-Ski Guide Trainer. He created the High Sierra Fly-in (11 years running now) and created STOL Drag, which is also the newest class of racing at Reno. He is a member of The Flying Cowboys and recently purchased a 1944 Stearman. To say he is passionate about aviation would be an understatement.
Sharing his passions with others is something that he looks forward to daily. He will fly just about anything he can get his hands on: Airplane, Glider (sailplane) Paraglider, Powered Paragliger, Skydive, Speed Wing, you name it. He has been fortunate to fly a number of different aircraft including Helio Couriers, Super Cubs, Cessnas (152, 172, 170, 180, 182, 185, 206), Beaver, Maule, Highlander, Stretch SuperStol, and few Cirrus aircraft. His newest passion is Biplanes and the history that goes with them, recently being checked out in a Navy N3N biplane and then a Stearman. His passion really is landing bush planes above 9000' daily. He is an EAA Young Eagles Pilot with nearly 100 kids flown to dates, and that number changes almost weekly. Safety and training is his primary responsibility in life. As a father of two children (6&10) and married to his beautiful wife Jessica (together now over 20 years and she lets him fly with her full support), Kevin is set on safely accessing the backcountry and training others to do so as well. Making good pilots better is his mission.
His Instagram is @STOLPilot and he also runs several Facebook groups including Big Tire Backcountry Flier Page, STOL Pilot, and Points North Heli pages.
2016 STOL DRAG WORLD CHAMPION
Steve really enjoys competing in STOL Drag and STOL events while also flying the extreme backcountry. Steve started flying in 2003 in his hometown of Nampa, Idaho and built his first Just Aircraft Highlander in 2004, becoming dealers for them in 2010. Steve is constantly thinking up new ways he can make these already amazing planes perform even better. After making a YouTube video of a dead stick take off on one of the steep hills in his area, flying two miles and 1500 feet down to a river bed with no engine running, and landing, he got a lot of folk's attention. He flew his 2014 Just Aircraft SuperSTOL to Valdez and finished third behind Frank Knapp and Josh Peppered. Steve also placed first at the STOL Competitions at Oshkosh in 2017 and 2018 and got a close second place at High Sierra in 2019. He won the High Sierra Fly-In STOL Drag in 2016 and had a very, very close second in 2017, as well as the second-best time next to DRACO in 2018. Needless to say, Steve is a tough competitor at STOL Drag! Steve also received the Charles Lindbergh Reserve Grand Champion Award at EAA AirVenture for Light Sport Plane in 2018 with Yee-Haw 6 and won it again in 2019 with Yee-Haw 7. Both planes have Yamaha engines with SkyTrax PSRU. Steve can’t say enough of the Edge Performance's EPeX Yamaha 300 HP engine in Yee-Haw 7, it’s truly a beast. Steve is always open to chatting about Highlanders, and if you ever have questions he’s happy to chat. Check out his YouTube channel and webpage :WildWestAircraft.com
2ND PLACE STOL DRAG 2018
Trent Palmer started his aviation career flying drones. When the FAA came out with new regulations in 2014, the change inspired Palmer to get his pilots license in order to comply with the new rules. Terrified of flying and heights, the opportunity was not something that excited Trent. However, by the time his training complete, he was already on the hunt for an airplane he could afford…and thus was born the Freedom Fox.Trent has enjoyed being involved in both STOL demonstrations at Oshkosh, as well as STOL Drag at Reno and High Sierra Fly-In, where he took 2nd place only to Draco.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT
GRIP LOCK TIES INVENTOR
Creighton King loves flying and building airplanes. Born into an aviation lineage from the 1920’s, Creighton soloed on his 16th birthday and has been flying ever since. He has a fantastic bride Tonya, 2 teenage daughters, 2 dogs, and 3 airplanes. Creighton owns a 56 piper Tripacer he learned to fly in, a Cassutt Racer that he has improved through the years to gain nearly 50 mph in Reno, and an experimental Cub. His buddies lovingly called the cub Rusty, and it stuck. His Dad built it and Creighton helped finish it and that cub has continued to fly for 27 years until bending in a big cross wind crash on a beach. Creighton is currently rebuilding “Rusty” and making it even better. Rusty was flying before the other Cowboys and may have a bit of rust, but after the rebuild it should fly very well. Creighton is pretty good at TIG Welding as well as building light weight carbon parts. He likes to cover with Stits fabric and paint with a Harbor Freight paint gun. He is also the inventor of ; Releasable Rubber-Lined Zip Ties. He spends his days working to build the company and help eliminate crappy zip ties from the planet.
OSHKOSH STOL DEMO TEAM
Hal lives in the desert of Elko, NV. In April of 2020 after working 45 years on large mining and construction equipment, Hal finally decided to retire and now devotes his time solely to aviation and his love for Rotax engines. Hal’s love for aviation spans decades. In 1995, he and his brother-in-law built an ultralight, and was the first time Hal discovered experimental aircraft. In 1999, Hal bought his first Rans S-7, which he enjoyed tinkering with to pull more and more power out of. In 2010 he started working with Rotax engines, which he also modified and altered to produce even more power. With his latest project, Lawn Mower 3, Hal enjoys competing in STOL competitions, and having that extra power on such a light aircraft makes a huge difference. Flying and working on little airplanes is all Hal wants to do with his retirement time, and he’s having a blast. He has over 4000 hours in Ran S-7 airplanes alone, and hopes to get many more.
Scott Palmer is a 3rd generation aviator to say it’s in his blood would be an understatement. Formerly a TACP/Forward Air Controller with the USAF after serving his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom Scott pursued the sport of skydiving with an unrelenting focus. Over 15 years and 11,000 skydives Scott has traveled the world competing, teaching, and creating a unique sub-discipline within the Indoor and outdoor skydiving scenes. He has multiple world records and championship titles and is a highly sought after coach for the emerging Indoor Skydiving discipline. After reaching the pinnacle of skydiving Scott changed his focus from flying his body to flying airplanes. Now a Commercial Pilot with an instrument rating when not refining his skills flying his Modified Kitfox IV you will find him flying a Turbine, Crop Dusting. Follow along on his adventures via YouTube