Neil grew up near the traffic pattern at Long Beach Municipal Airport in southern California. He has been a pilot since 1987, and a flight instructor since 1996. In addition to flight instruction, he carries out fish/wildlife survey and radio-tracking flights for N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey, and for scientists at nearby colleges. Additional instructional activities include courses in Aquatic Entomology and Animal flight.