My name is Alan, founder of Aviation Soul. Our mission is to promote and share aviation by celebrating aviators and people who make up the amazing world of aviation. We are here to provide quality products that instill pride and a sense of membership, and our aviation challenge coins do this by commemorating achievements and hard work.
I started Aviation Soul because of my passion for aviation. Ever since I was a young boy I can remember looking up at the sky, stars, and moon wondering what laid beyond. Wanting to be an astronaut, I was fascinated by rockets, the space shuttle, and anything to do with outer space.
I remember being in Florida for a shuttle launch when I was 10. Although we were in Orlando pretty far away from the launch, I’ll never forget walking out of the breakfast restaurant, hearing the sound of the rockets and watching the red glow of the boosters. I was in awe! Ever since then I am unable to look away when a plane flies overhead - I have to watch.
It took me a long time to connect the dots and realize that my love for all things space all were deeply rooted in aviation. It wasn’t until my late 20s when my previous boss (and now co-founder of Aviation Soul) took me up for the first time in his Cessna 182. That day, I realized my dream of going into space (or at least getting closer to it anyway!) was possible and totally within reach. I fell in love all over again and was hooked! I was determined to become a pilot.
I began flight training in December of 2016, buying a 1/16th ownership share of a Cessna 172 at my local airport (Kenosha, WI - KENW). After flying for almost a year, the club decided to trade up to a bigger, faster airplane and it didn’t make sense for me to continue at that time. Life got busy and after a few years off, I joined Westosha Flying Club in January 2020 to press on with my training. As of the end of 2020, I am up to 30 hours and recently flew solo for the first time! My goal is to get my license by my 37th birthday in July ‘21.
My Dad, a retired Navy Senior Chief, has always carried a challenge coin. The one he carries today is a testament to his many years of loyal service in the “World’s Finest US Navy” and working his way up to a Senior Chief Petty Officer. Being a Chief was a big deal, and my Dad wore those gold chevrons proudly. The military does just that, they instill a deep sense of pride and camaraderie in their troops. Many branches use challenge coins as a way to celebrate military achievements and create social bonds amongst service members.
I created our aviation challenge coins with all of this in mind. Understanding now what it takes to become a pilot, I believe that the accomplishments along the way should be celebrated. Each solo, certificate, endorsement, and rating is hard-earned and should be worn proudly! Each coin is a way to create camaraderie and connect with fellow aviators.
Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a picture of an instructor presenting one of our coins to a newly minted solo student or pilot certificate holder. I know that years later they will be able to look at the coin and smile, all the feelings and emotions of that moment rushing back.
Aviation Soul is not just the name of our company, it’s the way we think and live. We’ve got “Soul”. Do you?
Thank you for supporting our small business and helping us to further our mission!
Alan R. Johnson
Aviation Soul, LLC