Clarke McNeace, also known by his Navy call sign “Otter,” has built exceptional aviation experience his entire life. As the son of a former Navy and airline pilot, Clarke grew up in an atmosphere supportive of his aviation interests. Clarke soloed in gliders at the age of 14 and in airplanes at 16. He was also an active participant in the Civil Air Patrol.
Clarke attended the University of Kansas as a midshipman in the Naval ROTC program for four years, graduating with a B.S. degree in Computer Science. Upon receiving his commission in the United States Navy, Clarke excelled throughout Navy pilot training, achieving Commodore’s List honors in all three phases of training: primary, intermediate, and advanced. After flight training in the T-34C Mentor in Pensacola, Florida, and the T-2C Buckeye and TA-4 Skyhawk in Kingsville, Texas, Clarke graduated first in his pilot training class and was assigned to fly the FA-18 Hornet.
Clarke’s first operational posting as a Naval Aviator was on the USS Midway, home ported in Atsugi, Japan. During his service in the Navy, Clarke participated in three carrier cruises accumulating over 300 carrier landings, or “traps.” He was decorated for completing 36 combat missions as part of Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch over Iraq. Clarke was recognized for his carrier landing performance on five separate occasions and became qualified as a Landing Signal Officer. He was then selected as an instructor in the FA-18 at Naval Air Station Lemoore.
After leaving the service, Clarke was hired by a major domestic airline where he flew for 10 years, 5 of them as a Captain, in the Boeing 737. This background would become essential in his later instructional delivery of Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) for pilots of business jet and other commercial transport aircraft. During his time with the airline, he also flew several aircraft for the Commemorative Air Force to include the infamous HE-111 Heinkel and personally owned and flew numerous light aircraft.
Since joining APS, Clarke has distinguished himself as an instructor by helping develop an academic, flight, and simulator training program dedicated to improving pilots’ skill-sets in time critical, life-threatening situations. Clarke is a 4-time Master CFI-Aerobatic. In addition to UPRT, Clarke is accomplished in Aerobatic, Tailwheel, and Formation instruction. In October of 2012, Clarke was the proud recipient of the APS Distinguished Service Award of Aviation Excellence.
Clarke is active in a number of industry safety and educational efforts. He was asked to participate in the FAA-Industry Stall/Stick Pusher Training Working Group developing updated training guidance, and has contributed to the International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (ICATEE). Since early 2016, Clarke is one of the feature presenters, and Boeing simulator demonstration pilot, for the ICAO Go Team on the implementation of UPRT for airlines and airline training centers around the world. In 2018, Clarke received the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism Award recognizing individual aviation professionals who have demonstrated their outstanding professionalism and leadership in support of aviation safety in the business aviation industry.
Clarke has over 15,000 hours of flight time and has personally provided dedicated, focused UPRT to over 1,000 pilots. In November 2013, Clarke accepted the position of Center Manager for APS Europe and then proceeded to move permanently to the Netherlands with his entire family in January of 2014. He returned to the United States with his family in December 2015, for 10 months in preparation to manage the setup, training, and operational implementation of APS’s military UPRT location in Dothan, Alabama in October 2016. As the APS Senior UPRT Instructor, in partnership with CAE USA, Clarke trained and managed a team of 16 APS-certified on-aircraft and simulator-based UPRT instructors. Clarke returned to APS Headquarters in July 2017, where he continues his duties as the Vice President of Flight Operations & Standards for the APS global network of UPRT providers.