Carol and Brian Carpenter

Since the Sport Pilot Rule was implemented in September of 2004, Carol and Brian Carpenter, owners of Rainbow Aviation Services, a full service FBO located in Corning California, have been on the cutting edge.  Today, they offer completed sport pilot services for airplane and a variety of services for weight shift and powered parachute aircraft as well

Rainbow Aviation Services

Today, the name Rainbow Aviation Services is synonymous with Light Sport. ... Its Light Sport Repairman Courses have been taught throughout the United States and Australia. . .For aviation enthusiasts, flight instructors, mechanics and even FAA inspectors,  Rainbow is a source of  Light Sport expertise  ... But who are these guys? What is their background?  -- a company on the  cutting-edge of the Light Sport rule, with in-depth knowledge, and relentless attention to detail ... Here's a search for the background of one of aviation’s most prominent Light Sport companies –

Rainbow Aviation’s tale is a rare one. The company is owned by a husband and wife team, Carol and Brian Carpenter, both flight instructors, repairman course instructors and both are aviation addicts.  “We’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a wide variety of aviation. We have flown everything from ultralight-type aircraft to Lansairs, to gliders”  Carol comments.

Carol began flying at 16. “The airport was near my high school and they had a skydiving business. I could see them from the school. I went home and tried to get my parent to sign the permission slip and they said no way. You can learn to fly a plane, but you can’t jump out of one.  So my dad and I started taking flight lessons together.” 

Brian began flying even earlier- remote control planes. He built and flew RC throughout his childhood. In junior high, he progressed to build a self lunching glider out of homemade materials and started jumping off a small hill trying to fly. Later, he earned his pilot’s license while in the navy.

Today, Carol and Brian own Rainbow Aviation is located in Corning, CA, where they have operated the local FBO (Fixed-base operator) and manage the airport for the City of Corning.  “Before the Light Sport rule over 90% of our business was focused on general aviation services. Today, over 90% of our business is focused on Light Sport, ” Carol explains.

Brian is a Certified Flight Instructor with over 8,000 hours in over 300 different types of aircraft.  He is been an A&P IA for over 25 years. He has built many experimental aircraft and is the designer of the "Ranger" airplane.  He is a DAR for light sport and amateur built aircraft and a Sport Pilot Examiner.  Carol is a Sport Pilot Instructor, an  FAA Ground Instructor with an Advance Rating, an  private pilot, a member of ASTM, a FAAST representative, an aviation columnist, and she holds a California teaching credential. 

The couple has co-authored two books: Sport Pilot Airplane: A Complete Guide and A Professional Approach to Ultralights.  Together they instruct both the Repairman inspection and maintenance courses for airplane, weight shift, and powered parachute.

The Carpenters, are uniquely qualified as light sport experts.  At a time when there was a large divide between the ultralight world and the general aviation world, Rainbow Aviation was offering services to both groups. Both Carol and Brian were both ultralight instructors.  In fact, they were Quicksilver dealers, offering flight instruction in ultralights or general aviation aircraft.

“Our ultralight students would sit in the same ground school as our private pilot students.” Carol explains.  One of the problems the FAA had when implementing the Light Sport rule- in fact evening finding examiners - was the lack of knowledge from one end of the aviation spectrum to the other. 

After the light sport rule became final September 1, 2004, Rainbow Aviation Service wrote the first FAA accepted Light Sport Repairman course. In 2006,  as the only provider of the 3 week Repairman Maintenance course, Charlie Becker, from  EAA, asked Rainbow Aviation to hold the course at the EAA Headquarters in Oshkosh, WI. EAA sent an employee to the course and he was impressed with the quality of the course, so the course at EAA headquarters has become a yearly event.

In 2006, Carol and Brian Carpenter received The John Moody Award, ultralight aviation's highest and most prestigious award. It is presented annually to an individual, group or organization that, by their efforts over a period of years, have made significant contributions or advancements of enduring value in the sport of ultralight aviation in the United States.

“We’ve met many special people providing the repairman courses.  Aviators are the cream of the crop. They are the type of people who can get things done.  It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a great group of people.” Carol comments. “We love aviation and we enjoy what we do. I think that is the key.”