John Stonecipher: president of Guidance Aviation

[header 3]and Small Business Administration’s 2013 Person of the Year [/header]

John Stonecipher, president of Guidance Aviation in Prescott, Arizona, was named the Person of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.


John Stonecipher grew up in Pasadena, CA. When he was a little boy, staring at Pasadena Police Department red helicopters in the sky, he knew that he would become a helicopter pilot. After graduating high school, he got his helicopter pilot license, and by nineteen, he was a certificated flight instructor. In 1988, John became a Police Officer assigned to the patrol division in the City of Newport Beach California. Frank Robinson, the President and Founder of the Robinson Helicopter Company, later offered him a job as the manufacturer’s test pilot and company Instructor. John accepted the offer.


John Stonecipher, CEO, Guidance Aviation with US SBA Administrator Karen Mills

Throughout the years, John worked in off shore passenger service, utility, law enforcement, search and rescue, firefighting, etc.

In 1998, he founded his company, Guidance Aviation, and was the sole employee, operating only 1 helicopter. Today, Guidance Aviation is one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing collegiate pilot school, employing more than 55 professionals.

The school typically has 120 students—more than half of them are veterans.

When discussing the success of Guidance Aviation, Stonecipher remarks, “Great people do great things and I surround myself with extremely hard working talented people and folks of great character. We respect our students whose faith, trust and confidence motivate us to do better. I am so fortunate to have such people to work with. The Company Directors, Managers and Staff work amazingly well as a team.  It is this culture at Guidance that creates our success.”

Generosity toward the community

Over the years, Guidance Aviation has been very generous toward the community. The company donated almost $500,000 to charity and public institutions, as well as several flights to various organizations.

In 2012, Stonecipher also gave a helicopter to the search-and-rescue team of the Yavapai County Sheriff, since the county did not have the money to buy one.

Guidance Aviation’s website :




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