Matt Liknaitzky grew up in South Africa and had a passion for aviation at an early age. He started flying Microlights at age 16 and at 19 went to work for a small aircraft manufacturer. After working in many areas of the company he joined the marketing team and in 3 years became the head of the department. In 2000 he moved to California to run several aviation-related businesses in partnership with Mike Blyth, the founder of The Airplane Factory.

Matt holds a Commerical Pilot rating in Airplane SEL and Private MEL as well as Glider and Weight-Shift Control (WSC). He is also a Flight Instructor in Airplane, Glider and WSC. Matt was selected as one of the early FAA Designated Pilot Examiners for Sport Pilot and maintains examiner authority in Airplane, Glider and WSC for both Pilot and Flight Instructor. His passion for aviation is broad and his favorite aircraft to fly are light airplanes and his aerobatic biplane.

Matt is a member of various ASTM committees for Light-Sport Aircraft, is strongly involved in the aviation industry and is excited and proud to be able to help bring the aircraft of The Airplane Factory to the US and to introduce aviation to more of the general public.

“I started flying when I was 16 (over 22 years ago) and have accumulated varied experience and ratings over the years. Aviation is my life and my work. To me aviation is the intersection of the mind, the body and emotion. When you fly you need to have your mind clear and focused on managing and understanding everything that is going on around you with cold clarity. Physically, you need to manipulate the controls with co-ordination and precision. And then there is a great emotional response of awe and exhilaration at being able to project yourself in all 3 dimensions and gain perspective of the incredible world we live in. There is nothing else that I know of that engages every part of me all at once – other than flying. And couple this to the fact that aviation is an endless source of learning and challenge, and you have a passion that will last a lifetime.

Flying the Sling is as close to the dream of flying as I’ve ever imagined. Every day that I fly I feel like the luckiest person alive.”