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Today, I am going to … learn to fly

By Anne Kautzky
Special to The SUN

Have you ever awakened and said to yourself, “Today I am going to …” (you fill in the blank with something you’ve always wanted to do)?

This is exactly what John Roy did a couple years ago about learning to fly and getting his Private Pilot Certificate.

John started his flight training at the Albuquerque Double Eagle Airport. After about a year and a half, he was ready to take his check ride. As luck would have it, an opportunity came along that he and his wife, Linda, could not pass up. The opportunity to open a bar/restaurant together. As many of you know, starting and running your own business is time consuming and expensive. So John put his dream aside to get the Coyote Moon up and going in Pagosa Springs.

The desire to finish his flight training and obtain his Private Pilot’s Certificate never waned, and with the encouragement of his wife, John contacted the San Juan Flyers, Inc., to finish his goal. John had completed all of his flight training requirements and passed the written test during his training in Albuquerque. As a final requirement, prior to taking the practical and oral exam, a student pilot must have three hours of instruction in preparation for the check ride from the instructor that will be signing them off.

It had been at least six months since John had flown, or did any studying. With the help of flight instructor Anne Kautzky, John started this final phase of flight training at the beginning of November and by the first of December, John became Pagosa Springs’ newest private pilot.

John doesn’t classify himself as a risk taker, but does pride himself in trying new things and pushing the envelop just a tad. The desire to experience something different that most people either fear or just don’t have the desire to do, wanting to be in control, be free to fly instead of drive, and enjoy the rush and thrill of flight are reasons why John couldn’t let this dream go.

John’s wife, Linda, played a huge part in his finishing up his license.

“It was her support and encouragement that lead me to finish up my training,” said John. She will be his first ride once the snow quits falling and the runway and hangars are cleared.

When asked what advice he would give to anyone who is thinking about starting their flight training, John replied, “Do it while you are young and have some time to enjoy it. If finances are the issue, once you get your foot in the door and get a couple lessons, go at your own pace. It might take a little longer, do some here and there as you save the money for each lesson.

“Flying out of a bigger and busier airport like Albuquerque Double Eagle has its advantages, like learning communication skills and the air traffic control system. Flying out of Pagosa Springs is a different world — a smaller airport, a different type of communication and mountain flying. Get the experience in as many places as possible.”

John recalled that his most memorable experience was his first solo — the first time the instructor says you’re ready to go by yourself and do those first three takeoff and landings on your own. It is not the same as having that other person sitting in the seat next to you. This is the test that will determine if flying is for you — whether you will continue on with your flight training or stop right there. This is the confidence builder.

John plans to spend time building some hours and experience before he continues with more training. The Instrument and Commercial Ratings are next, then, possibly, John could become a flight instructor himself.

For more information on flight training, contact the San Juan Flyers, Inc. at 731-3348 or e-mail sanjuanflyers@gmail.com.

This story was posted on January 10, 2013.