The Story - The LEGACY
Legacy Aviation Mid-Michigan was founded during the summer of 2020 by Brandon Marks, a Certified Flight Instructor and a captain at a major airline. While aviation is his passion, family is everything to Brandon. He’s happily married to his bride Cortney, and they have two young children… both of whom are already interested in airplanes! As he’s shot up the ranks from youngster to student pilot, to commercial pilot, to CFI, Brandon has been influenced by many great people in the aviation community. Founding Legacy Aviation is his way of continuing that positive influence and paying it forward. While airplanes seem to be the focus at Legacy, it's actually all about the people. Mentorship. Passion. Fun. Family. That’s our Legacy. That’s Legacy Aviation.
Brandon grew up down the road from Harry Browne Airport (KHYX) in Saginaw, the son of two teachers. His grandfather, Don Bauer is a passionate private pilot and experimental aircraft builder. The owner of a TV and appliance business in Michigan’s thumb, Grandpa Don would take Brandon along on service calls to repair appliances. As a young child, Brandon was very impressionable and when a customer once asked whether he would continue the TV and appliance business, Grandpa Don interjected that there was no chance: Brandon would go on to be a pilot and fly the big planes for the airlines!
That was it: the Legacy and the passion for aviation was handed down. Grandpa Don and Brandon spent spare time working on airplanes and flying in Grandpa Don’s Cessna 150. As Brandon grew up he learned that his other Grandfather, Stanley Marks, served as a navigator on a B-17 Flying Fortress in World War II.
Brandon was bit by the aviation bug at an early age and the current pandemic has presented an opportunity for him to pursue a life-long dream: The creation of Legacy Aviation Mid-Michigan, where students in Mid-Michigan can learn to fly and others can enjoy the Spirit of Aviation.
Brandon's Flight Resume
After removing the pillow from the Cessna 150 seat, Brandon was able to reach the rudder pedals and learned the basics. At the age of 14, his parents took him down the road to the Harry Browne airport and found Seeley Aircraft. The legendary Ward Seeley greeted Brandon and showed him the airplanes he had available to rent. Having experience in the Cessna 150, Brandon chose to start formal flight training in Ward’s Cessna 150's. After a short time of taking flight lessons, Ward asked Brandon to join his family business and work for him at the airport.
Brandon worked at the airport for both Ward and Steve Seeley (Ward's son) throughout his high school years. When it came time to solo, Ward suggested a little more of a challenge than the typical Cessna 172 solo. He recommended his 260 hp Piper Comanche. On Brandon’s 16th birthday he took Ward and Steve’s prized Comanche up for a solo. He continued his training and received his Private Pilot’s Certificate shortly after his 17th birthday in the Cessna 172 he is instructing in today, over 20 years later.
After high school, Brandon went on to study at the University of North Dakota, earning Commercial, Instrument, Multi-Engine, and Flight Instructor ratings. During his summers, he worked at the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, WI, sharing his passion for aviation with the EAA Air Academy campers.
Flying with and inspiring young people was very rewarding for Brandon and he continued to volunteer at EAA as he was able after graduating from UND. Brandon was a flight instructor at UND for a short time and was hired by a regional airline shortly after graduation. Brandon has worked for two regional airlines and a major airline. His type ratings include the DO-328JET, CRJ, EMB-120 Brasilia, B757, B767 and B737. He has flown from the Hawaiian Islands, throughout North and South America, and Europe.