I would like to thank you for choosing me to help guide you through the process of getting your pilot's license. First, I feel it is important to tell you a little bit about myself.
I first started flying when my brother gave me a gift certificate for flying lessons as a Christmas gift. This was back in 1985. The gift certificate was for $300. Back then, this gave me about five hours of flight time in a Cessna 152 with a flight instructor.
I found a local flight school in Saratoga Springs, New York, and scheduled an appointment. A few days later, I had that great feeling of freedom we all have the first time we go flying. Subsequently, I flew every Saturday until the gift certificate ran out. My brother's company had two airplanes, so I flew with him as often as possible in the company Cessna 182.
At the time, I was going to college and working construction. I looked into the service and inquired about joining the Navy (this was just after Top Gun had been released), but without a four-year degree, I was only eligible for one of their programs that would have kept me in the service for 14 years. I didn't have a problem with four years, but 14? That was a very long commitment for only the slight chance of flying an F-14, and there were no guarantees, so I decided to look at other options.
Eventually I decided on the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Oakland, California. I went there for a weekend to examine the school. When I returned to New York, I informed my friends and family I was going to move to California to go to flight school. Within three weeks, I was in California beginning my flight training at an FAA-approved Part 141 flight school on the other side of the country.
Within a year, I had all of my ratings through multi-engine flight instructor. I had friends from New York at Arizona State University, so I decided to move to Arizona.
For two years, I worked as a flight instructor for a local school. At the same time, I went back to school and graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with two degrees in Professional Aeronautics.
After that, I was bouncing around between flight schools and flying clubs as a freelance instructor. I was also working part-time, building experimental Glassair III Airplanes.
After a while, I decided that I should start leasing airplanes. I eventually owned five airplanes and had four flight instructors working for me. During this time, I also donated my time teaching seminars for the FAA and the local EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association).
In 1998, the National Association of Flight Instructors started awarding a Master CFI designation. The award went to the country’s most dedicated flight instructors. My friend Greg Brown was the first recipient, and though I don't know exactly which one I was, there were only 30 of us that first year.
All this time, I was still running my flight school and flying with students. At one point, I also worked for a local air charter business. In 2004, I decided that there was no way I was going to be able to retire owning a flight school, so I closed the doors and stopped flying for about a year.
Jump ahead to 2005. I was still getting calls from students who had flown with me for more than ten years, so I decided to get back in the air again. Once again I was teaching students, which I continue to do until this day (October 2013), flying out of three airports in the metro Phoenix area.
I have been a Rep for the FAA FAAST Team for the last 6 years and teach many seminars throughout the Phoenix Valley.
I have also worked with the Arizona Designated Pilot Examiner Advisory Group for the past 4 Years. This group is responsible for many of the changes to pilot training standards nation wide. Currently I am their webmaster also.
To date, I have trained more than 400 students while in an airplane. Additionally, I have taught numerous seminars and ground school classes. Some of my ratings and hours are:
Airfreddy's Pilot Ratings:
• Airline Transport Pilot - Multi-Engine Land
• Commercial Pilot - Single-Engine Land
• Flight Instructor - Airplane Single-/Multi-Engine
• Flight Instructor - Instrument Airplane
1. Total Flight Time: 13,000 Hours
2. Flight Instruction Given: 12,000 Hours
3. Instrument Flight Instruction Given: 2300 Hours
4. Tailwheel Instruction Given: 1100 Hours
5. Aerobatic Instruction: 500 Hours
I am telling you this to let you know that I have been around for a while and have helped hundreds of students get their pilot certificates. Not only have I taught private pilots, I have taught many instrument ratings, commercial pilots, flight instructors, and airline transport pilots. I used to own a flight school, so I know a bit about the industry. This is not to say that my knowledge is encyclopedic. I will make mistakes. If I do, I will share them with you in my newsletters and blog so we all can learn from them. Part of being a safe pilot is learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
Early in life, I realized that I liked helping others. There were many times that other flight instructors would give up on students. I helped those same students pass; that in itself is a great feeling. I am not an instructor who will allow a student to easily quit. Part of that includes making learning as cost-effective as possible.
I am also in the process of putting a mentoring program together. If you are on my email list I will keep you informed of the latest information. I am here to help you understand the process. Please remember, I was once in your shoes as a student pilot. Before that, I was just dreaming and didn't know how to go about it just like you are now.
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