Earle Plain Martin III, a charter operator who became a known champion of the Mitsubishi MU-2 turboprop twin, passed away on December 31 after battling Covid-19. He was 65 years old.
Martin was dubbed by a colleague as “Mr. Mitsubishi” and had devoted a significant amount of time to speak publicly about the attributes of the MU-2 after it came under criticism and urged fellow operators to take industry-wide product surveys, leading to Mitsubishi earning top ratings. He also highlighted safety and training throughout these campaigns, according to obituary information from the Houston Chronicle.
Born in Houston on Aug. 14, 1955, Martin attended Vanderbilt University and then received a law degree from the University of Texas. He embarked on a career in law, joining the firm of Vinson & Elkins. However, his love of flying led him to change course and become an air charter pilot and launch his own operation, Personal Air Charter.
Martin teamed up with another charter business owner and eventually joined that operation, Mid-Coast Air Charter. In 1996, he acquired that business and along with it, its MU-2. That launched his decades-long advocacy for the aircraft.
Martin further became known for his interaction with customers and co-workers, who gave him the nickname “Captain Beloved.” He is survived by his wife, Deborah, and sons Martin (fiancée Allison Trost), Daniel, and Grant Martin.