Take To The Sky
Against all odds, Able American Jets’ founder Gary Burdsall learned to fly and his business took off.
Gary Burdsall’s life was up in the air. A senior in high school with five music classes and some guitar playing for extra credit, Burdsall wasn’t sure what was coming after graduation. Never taught how to study, he scored low on an IQ test and his fate was sealed by a school counselor who told him, “You will never be anything more than a blue-
“I realized at that point that music was my only option,” says Burdsall, who grew up around Patrick Air Force Base and the Kennedy Space Center and who looked up to his father, a pilot. “Even though it was all around me, I just never saw myself in aviation.”
On July 28, 1974 Burdsall’s future wife, Jeannie, walked into his band Crossfire’s concert and fell for the 18-year-old guitarist with hair to the middle of his back. “She always said I had the best hair,” he admits. Jeannie was a “smartypants”
enrolled at the University of Florida to become a therapist, and Burdsall was
accepted as the first chair guitarist of the Brevard Community College Jazz Band.
But after a couple months, he realized his future was limited to being a music teacher or a “lounge lizard.” Jeannie challenged him to do more. “She saw this in me, this despair, and she said, ‘You’ve got to stop floundering in the dust. You’ve got to do something with your life.’” Then a mentor at the Hoover Baldwin Piano Store, where Burdsall worked moving pianos, asked him what he would do if the sky was the limit.