U.S. Marine Says, “Go Big or Go Home, I’m Flying Helicopters”

“The U.S. Marines taught me there are no limits. Guidance Aviation proved it..” – Charly Mabry

charly mabry cfii flying helicopters
Charly Mabry, CFI-I, Helicopters.

[UPDATE 01.24.15 – Charly Mabry was hired as a helicopter flight instructor at the Guidance Aviation flight operations in Baton Rouge, LA. Congrats Charly!]

U.S. Marine Veteran and Combat Videographer Charly Mabry, recently became a Certificated Flight Instructor – Instrument, Helicopters. Asked why he chose the U.S. Marines, Mabry tells us with determination, “I was raised very poor and had all odds stacked against me. I’ve challenged myself every chance I could get. My grandfather and father were Navy, my uncle was Army. I said ‘Go big or go home’ and joined the Marines. I took that same attitude into flying. Why settle? I wanted to work hard for something that I could be proud of; Something my future children could be proud of; Something that would show I have made it against all odds.”

As a CFI-I, Mabry is now certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to teach others how to fly helicopters. That’s big! Even bigger, he was just hired (1/16/15) as a Helicopter Flight Instructor (CFI-I) at Guidance Aviation of Baton Rouge, LA.

Purpose, Passion, and Goals

In the video below, Charly Mabry says, “The Marines taught me there are no limits. Guidance Aviation proved it.” Check our Mabry’s experiences both as a USMC combat videographer and student helicopter pilot at Guidance Aviation.

Dude That’s Just Not Right

charly mabry cfii flying helicopters
Another one of Mabry’s passions. Racing motorcycles. As always, he’s all in.

Mabry took an aviation course between the 5th and 6th grades which taught fixed wing aviation. After successfully completing the course, students were able to take an intro-flight in a small aircraft. He was hooked.

“Fixed-wings (airplanes) are cool…..if its a jet. Everything else is kind of like watching your older friend ride his little sister’s bike…and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Dude, that’s just not right’,” says Mabry.

Helicopters Saved Our Aces

charly mabry cfii flying helicopters
Mabry, USMC Combat Videographer.

“I’ve always been fascinated with helicopters… who isn’t? During my 9 years in the Marines, helicopters saved our aces during the worst times. I never even knew flying would be an option for me. On emergency leave from Afghanistan I met someone who told me about the program with Guidance Aviation and using my GI Bill benefits for a college degree and helicopter flight training. I was in!”, smiles Mabry.

Straight Talk Was The Lock

“I recently finished the program, graduating from the Yavapai College Aviation Degree program. I earned both my Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) as well as my FAA certifications (CFI-I), including my SFAR. Prior to flight school I had very little experience with helicopter flight training. I looked at other schools but didn’t get the warm and fuzzy. Guidance Aviation told you what you were going to get and what they expected from you up front. Coming from the Marine Corps I respected that. Other schools would feed me random lines and I don’t appreciate doing business that way,” stated Mabry.

High Personal Standards

charly mabry cfii flying helicopters
Mabry, left, spending some down time with friends and flight instructors on Guidance Aviation’s flagship, “Miss Guided” at Lake Powell.

“That most challenging thing for me was the mental aspect. Students talk about how they’re doing this or doing that and how awesome they were at flying that day. I took that to heart and put very high standards on myself. I consistently felt like I would come up short of those standards. It took me awhile to realize what I was doing and to change my way of thinking,” reflects Mabry.


When asked about what his dream job will be, Mabry passionately tells us, “I want to do something with purpose. Flying EMS is “DEF” (definitely) my dream job. I want my job to matter. It’s more than just a paycheck to me. My entire life has been more than a paycheck. I want to know that at the end of the day my existence, my career choice, my decisions will make a lasting impact. I mean how cool is it that one of the children of our fellow flight instructors at Guidance Aviation is here because of a helicopter pilot, or the many other people on the edge of life who were saved because of a pilot. Who else has a job like that?”

Avoiding The Stigma – Thanks To Family


“Growing up the way I did I learned what NOT to do from my mom while I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my dad. My biggest influence I guess would be my family… I didn’t want to fall into the stigma they all thought I would,” says Mabry.

Check Out Charly

Charly is into everything. He is an extraordinarily talented photographer and videographer. Check out his YouTube page! You can also see Charly Mabry on National Geographic’s “Eyewitness War – Nothing Can Prepare You”. If he’s not flying helicopters, racing motorcycles, bringing an old cadillac back to life, or videotaping a helicopter training video for Guidance Aviation, he’s probably out learning how to do something new, and as always, reminding us to “Go BIG or Go Home.” Thanks for the reminder Charly Mabry.

Check Out Guidance Aviation

Contact Guidance Aviation and Start Your Career Flying Helicopters – There are no limits.