Austria native and King Air C90 owner Boris Greiner has the entrepreneurial spirit and business sense of taking what he learns, making good decisions and using it to better his life – both professionally and personally. He has this enterprising nature in his genes, as his ancestors started a small business in 1868 that has grown into a large global firm through bold decisions inspired by a visionary outlook, innovation and a keen sense of the market. It was his time working in the family operation that he learned the value of business aviation.
Greiner was born in Vienna in 1971 and raised in Upper Austria – a state in northern Austria that borders Germany and the Czech Republic. Knowing that working in the family business was an option, he prepared himself well by attending the Vienna campus of Webster University St. Louis, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in management. He went on to get his International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) through a program that allowed him to study seven months at the Vienna University of Economics and seven months at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
After receiving his IMBA, Greiner stayed in the United States and oversaw a new manufacturing site of the Greiner company being constructed in Monroe, North Carolina. He then moved back to Austria and served as CEO of the Greiner company, where he experienced firsthand the value of aviation through chartered aircraft.
Although he still owns part of the business with 40 other family members, Greiner desired a better work/life balance. In 2008, he left the company and now spends his time managing real estate, consulting and operating a tour company he owns in Steyr, Austria. The sightseeing excursions take visitors on Segway PT® units through the old town area highlighted with historic buildings and stunning scenery.
Living a Fuller Life
Greiner now has more time for the “life” part of the work/life balance that he was seeking, which allows him to enjoy more of his passions. Chief among those passions is becoming a pilot and traveling. “Flying combines many of my interests – weather, physics, technology and more,” Greiner explained.
He took his first flight lesson in 2008 and acquired his private pilot certificate in 2009. Since then, he hasn’t stopped his training – he holds single-engine and multi-engine land ratings through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as an FAA IFR rating. Greiner says that EASA and FAA single-engine sea ratings are on the list for 2019.
Right after attaining his pilot’s license, Greiner leased a Diamond DA40 and a Piper Tomahawk for his travels. In 2011, he purchased a Piaggio P149D warbird (D-ELEV) – a 1950s Italian trainer (German built), utility and liaison aircraft. “I think the P149D is the perfect single-engine airplane and a wonderful Italian design; it’s sturdy, easy to handle and provides a lot of payload,” Greiner said.
Six years after he bought the Piaggio, Greiner was ready for his next challenge – expanding his flying envelope and traveling farther with friends for leisure. During the summer of 2017, he purchased his 1971 C90 (N290PA) which had 8,800 total hours. He admits that he didn’t necessarily narrow his search down to a King Air, but it was available for sale nearby in Hungary, and he knew the model had a good reputation.
Greiner and his FAA- and EASA-certified pilot friend, Konrad Klein (who also owns a Piaggio), both came to the United States to receive initial and recurrent training in the King Air, and he says there is another friend who will join them next time. They took their training at the King Air Academy (KAA) in Phoenix and says they will be back. While in the States, Greiner and Klein also attended the King Air Gathering held late September 2018 in Fredericksburg, Texas, which they both found very worthwhile. “Since we are new to the King Air, there was so much we learned,” Greiner said.
When asked about what he finds as the biggest differences flying in Europe compared to the United States, Greiner said for him it was the language differentiations – some of the English was hard for him to understand. He also mentioned the high charges for landing fees and flying IFR in Europe.
Greiner explained that due to being down for maintenance and the time for him to attain his IFR rating, he was only able to add about 50 hours to N290PA throughout 2018. He made the most of those 50 hours, though, with trips to Dubrovnik, a city located on the Adriatic Sea, and Rijeka, a port city on the Kvarner Bay, both in Croatia; Southampton, United Kingdom, a port city on England’s south coast; and Olbia, a coastal city in northeast Sardinia, Italy.
Austria provides some challenging flying conditions particularly among the Alps, which cover 62 percent of the country’s total area, running east to west and reaching heights of 12,461 feet. According to Greiner, he typically flies the King Air at 18,000 to 21,000 feet to avoid anything that may arise from the extensive mountain range. One area they have to closely watch is local thunderstorm activity during the summer that can develop over the Alps reaching up to 25,000 to 30,000 feet. Greiner mainly flies out of Linz Airport (LOWL), an international Class C airport located in Austria. He explained that the smaller airports in Austria and Germany are towered for providing information but are not controlled airspace and many have grass runways. So far, the King Air has only landed on asphalt runways, 4,921 feet or more.
Greiner figures he’ll typically add close to 100 hours per year on his King Air, as he intends to take 20 trips throughout Europe in 2019. In 2020, he plans to fly N290PA to the United States where he’ll spend 4-6 weeks visiting the friends he made from his time getting his IMBA, obtaining recurrent training at KAA, attending another King Air Gathering and, of course, some sightseeing (Reno … smile).
“I’m happy to be part of the King Air family and look forward to continuing to grow as a pilot with the aircraft,” Greiner stated. “It’s the right airplane for all of the adventures I am planning.”