Mario Borges Simoes (aka Cirrus Driver) was born in Venezuela in 1971 to Portuguese parents. At the age of 4, Mario moved to Portugal where he was raised and educated. He was accepted into the Portuguese Air Force Academy at the age of 17, and soon thereafter began flying the DHC-1 “Chipmunk.”; his first solo was in an ASK-21 glider during the summer of 1990.
Mario graduated from the Portuguese Air Force Academy in 1993 first in his class - “Felinos” - and was selected to attend UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) in the US. After completion of the T-41 screening program at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Mario went to Columbus AFB, Mississippi, for pilot training. There, as a member of the class 95-04 “Flying Elvises,” Mario flew T-37s and T-38s. He completed pilot training and received his US Air Force Wings in January 1994. After completion of UPT, Mario returned to Portugal where he received his Portuguese Air Force Wings. Subsequently, Mario was assigned to the 502 Squadron, where he flew the Casa 212.
Eventuallly, Mario requested to be discharged from his military duties in order to pursue a career in civil aviation. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Florida where he became a CFI, CFII, and MEI. In Florida, Mario gave flight instruction for a period of 2 years, flying a wide variety of GA airplanes.
In 1999, Mario applied and was hired by American Eagle Airlines. Initially based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he was later transferred to the Miami hub. At American Eagle, he flew the ATR-42 and ATR-72 212A. After four (4) years, Mario left his job with American Eagle, and went to law school at UF, Gainesville, Florida.
Mario’s passion for flying never diminished. In order to satisfy his need to stay airborne, Mario decided to acquire a Cirrus late in 2006; he took delivery of N352MS in June 25, 2007. Mario holds an ATP license, and has logged over 5180 flight hours, including over 2600 hours in turbine multi-engine airplanes and over 1670 hours as flight instructor.
Mario graduated from the University of Florida Law School in the Fall of 2007, and pursued a career in aviation law, defending manufacturers, flight schools, maintenance facilities, FBOs, and pilots. While Mario continues to practice law on a part-time basis, he spends most of his time providing safety consulting services for the Offshore Oil Industry in Brazil and Land Oil Rigs in North Dakota.
Mario is a member of the:
1. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
2. Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
3. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
4. Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA)
5. Lawyer Pilots Bar Association (LPBA)
6. NTSB Bar Association (NTSB Bar)
7. The Florida Bar (FL Bar)
8. US District Court Middle District Of Florida (FL MD)
According to Mario, his biggest accomplishment was the climg and summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on March 23, 2008, at 9:23 a.m. He also feels priveleged everytime he's given the opportunity to fly a mission for Angel Flight Southeast.
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