Meet your TBMOPA Foundation


Years ago, when I started flying, I had the same ideas most people have about airplanes and how they are used. Airline travel, military flights, maybe the occasional corporate jet flying along, whisking some important (to them at least) executive from one meeting to the next. Little did I know how many uses there were for airplanes beyond taking people on vacation or fighting a war. Firefighting, agricultural spraying, freight haulers... you name it, a plane has probably done it.

Eric Haskell

Of course, I knew even less about charity flying, or flying for the “public good” as AOPA refers to it. Who knew you could fly and do good at the same time? Turns out there are lots of ways to do that. Pilots N Paws, Angel Flight, Wings of Mercy, Able Flight, and Lighthawk Conservation are just a few of the organizations out there giving pilots and their planes an opportunity to give back.

And then there are charities that focus on aviation itself: growing the industry by opening aviation up to more people and giving those who for various reasons (financial, physical, etc.) haven’t had the opportunity to participate. This is one of the focuses of your TBM Foundation. We provide resources to organizations that seek to give people who otherwise wouldn’t go near an airplane an opportunity to experience aviation, either for personal satisfaction or maybe even to start a flying career.

Founded in 2008 by Tom Evernham, Tracey Forrest and John Hinshaw, the TBM Foundation was started primarily to put the dollars given to it to work. Operating as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, the Foundation seeks opportunities to provide funding for organizations that further its mission, namely to keep TBM pilots safe and safeguard the future of aviation though selected scholarships. It is also the driving force behind the TBMOPA Safety Seminars hosted across the country. These seminars feature presentations on informative subjects related to the safe operation of the TBM, fostering the mission of the Foundation.

Although anyone can donate to the TBMOPA Foundation, it is funded primarily through the auction proceeds from the annual TBMOPA Convention. The Foundation is governed by a three-member Board of Directors, supported by TBMOPA’s Executive Director. Tom McGrath is the Chairman, and he is supported by Howard Janzen and myself. The TBMOPA Foundation Board reviews potential grantees and allocates donations based on need and relevance to the Foundation’s mission. All three members of the TBM Foundation Board are not only TBM owners but have strong experience in philanthropy, particularly with respect to aviation.

TBMOPA Foundation Board

  • Tom McGrath began working with the Foundation Board as an opportunity to help support the TBMOPA safety efforts. McGrath says that "learning from Howard and Eric with their extensive experience in charitable organizations has been extraordinary". Tom is flying his third TBM, a TBM940 now 1.5 years old and enjoying every flight. He believes this opportunity with the TBMOPA Foundation has allowed him to help in areas he has previously only observed from the outside. He is committed to improving the organizations transparency and broadening its outreach.

  • Howard Janzen has served as CEO and Chairman of several communications and energy companies and has been involved in a dozen technology startup businesses over the last ten years. Howard currently serves on three corporate boards and several nonprofit boards. With over 8,000 hours of flying time, aviation is a major focus for Howard; he values the opportunity to leverage his aviation passion and board experience to help both raise money for the TBMOPA Foundation Board and to help direct how those dollars can be best put to work to achieve its mission.

  • I (Eric Haskell) am our newest Board member, having joined the Foundation’s Board in February of 2021. My day job is managing the financial affairs for a family in Arkansas who happens to be a big supporter of aviation. Many are pilots, and they support a number of organizations to promote aviation. As part of his role with the family, I help to determine where their dollars can go to support such causes. I am fortunate to have as an employer such a strong advocate for aviation. My experience has taught me the many ways we can support flying, especially for those not in a position to pursue flying themselves without a helping hand.

TBMOPA Foundation Activities

One grantee of the Foundation is Able Flight. Able Flight was created by pilots who believe that the life-changing experience of learning to fly is best shared. They designed the Able Flight Scholarships to enable people with disabilities to pursue that experience. With the support of TBMOPA Foundation and others, to date it has awarded over 100 flight training and aviation career training scholarships resulting in 70 licensed pilots with a variety of physical disabilities, including 18 pilots who are wounded or disabled veterans. In addition to pilots certified, recipients of Able Flight’s aviation career training scholarships are now working in full time aviation careers as pilots and aircraft dispatchers and in the commercial space program.

The TBMOPA Foundation was also instrumental in developing the TIPS program at SIMCOM. This was an extensive project headed by TBM owner Tom Evernham, the former TBMOPA Foundation Board Chairman. SIMCOM has since gone on to develop further scenarios in the simulator to help TBM pilots improve their skills.

Supporting safety in the TBM will always be a goal of the Foundation. However, we are constantly looking for new ways to support aviation in our communities. Many of you may know of organizations worthy of our support and we would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and give us your ideas.

Eric Haskell
TBM Owner and TBMOPA Foundation Director.

For more info on Able Flight and our work with them, click here.

If you would like to support the TBMOPA Foundation, please click on the "Donate to the TBMOPA Foundation" button below to begin.



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