Ramone D. Hemphill, Sr. grew up in Charlotte, N.C. and developed an interest in aviation while in high school from attending a program that allowed kids to explore Air Traffic Control Towers. He earned his Bachelors in Computer Science from North Carolina A&T State University and began his career at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a Systems Engineer in Avionics. After completing a free ground school course in 2007, he took some introductory flight lessons while working on integration teams that were developing new flight decks for commercial aviation customers, including Boeing, Bombardier, Airbus and Embraer.
Ramone got back into flying after joining the Honda Aircraft Company in North Carolina to help push their premier HondaJet program into production, where he became a private pilot in 2012, obtaining an Instrument Rating in 2014. He continued building hours throughout the subsequent career moves, from Part 23 Flight Testing at BendixKing/Honeywell (Albuquerque), to Flight Control Actuation Systems at Moog Aircraft Group (Buffalo) for military drones, eventually adding a Complex Endorsement when he returned to Iowa while testing display applications on military helicopters before finally getting sick of cold weather and moving to Central Florida.
Ramone’s biggest priority in flying has been to build an advocacy for General Aviation (GA), especially in the eyes of our youth. He founded a non-profit called “The 99th Squadron”, he compiles his flight footage into annual videos entitled “StarScream”, and instructs children on Drone flying as a Part 107 certified operator to help spread the awareness of aviation opportunities especially throughout the African American community. Ramone holds a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Project Management from Florida Institute of Technology. His wife, Shannon Hemphill, along with their four children, have become experienced co-pilots, with their two youngest sons taking their first private flights as early as nine months old. Their oldest son has been racking up plenty of time as a front seat passenger, taking the controls. Their daughter earned a flight training scholarship where she briefly explored the joy of flight before heading off to the US Military Academy at West Point.