Tag: Private Pilot Certificate

“This will be a piece of cake”


~Mission Accomplished~

Who knows why we make the choices that we make? Some choices are forced upon us, others are the result of options presented to us and some are somewhat random and we just go for it. I’m not really clear as to what motivated Tim Patrick to choose to learn to fly and I’m not sure he is either, but he did, and I’m glad that he did. Choosing to learn to fly lead  Tim so far out of his comfort zone that it was two weeks before he even knew whether he was “on foot or horseback”.

Tim made the decision to study for and take the Private Pilot Knowledge Test before he had ever been at the controls of an airplane. He passed the test with a score in the 90’s, bought a headset and scheduled his first lesson. Now that I look back on this it was a clear sign as to the type of person that I would be sharing the cockpit of the Cessna trainer with. He was a man that had made a decision, was a man on a mission that he later admitted was stretching him to the limit. We flew almost every day until he soloed on the 8th of November (43 days after his first flight). Tim’s personality and personal style was very regimented and refined based on almost fifty years of perfecting “his world”.  Learning to fly requires a reordering of our thinking, polishing our hand-eye coordination, navigating in a 3-dimensional world, and learning a new language. Boy, did we have fun!

There were days when, I’m sure, that he wanted me to just jump out of the airplane and let him figure it out on his own. In reality he was figuring it out on his own as my role was to just make sure that he had enough feedback to achieve the desired outcome and to keep moving him forward.  Day after day we’d meet at the airport and each day he grew more confident and competent as a pilot. I will never forget when Tim checked in with me while at one of the stops on his solo cross country. He was jubilant and for Tim this means he was smiling broadly (I could hear it in his voice) as he is very reluctant to show how he really feels and I loved to try and make him laugh.

As 2009 was giving way to 2010 it was clear that Tim was ready for the Private Pilot Practical Test so we scheduled it for January 5, 2010 (about 3 1/2 months from the day we started). The reason that I share the time it took to complete this journey is that when Tim walked through the doors of CP Aviation on September 21st he was sure that he would be a pilot in 60 days. Not impossible but a challenge that must be measured against a myriad of factors that surround each of us as we endeavor to meet any new challenge. It took more than 60 days but who cares?

On the morning of January 5th Tim had one more hurdle to clear; the Private Pilot check ride. This was not going to be just a plain old vanilla check ride because the FAA would be sitting in as the Designated Pilot Examiner was also to be reviewed. When Tim was presented with this option he was more than willing to be the person that Dennis Renzelman, DPE would test during his review by the FAA. Needless to say all went well and Timothy Patrick ended this day a Private Pilot.

There is nothing more satisfying than participating in the process of helping someone achieve a goal. It is why I teach and why I am so grateful to those that allow me to share their adventure with them. Thank you Tim, it has been an honor and a privilege to watch you grow wings.

One last comment. Tim has a son serving in the Middle East with the United States Marine Corps (L/CPL Taylor Patrick) and having been a Marine myself this provided us with an additional bond. Tim shared with me that he was not going to tell Taylor about learning to fly until he achieved his goal. Tim is very proud of his son and the decision that he made to join the Marine Corps. It is my hope that Taylor will read this and through these few words have an opportunity to share in his Fathers’ extraordinary accomplishment. Semper Fi

A Dream from Behind the Wall


Captain Zeyssig at work on departure from Oceano, California

Robert Zeyssig was born and raised in a little town called Finsterwalde, about 1.5 driving hours south of Berlin  ten years before the Wall was breached and the border separating East from West Germany began to crumble. Walls cannot block dreams and  when he was five he had a dream in which he saw himself in a uniform with four gold stripes on the sleeve. The uniform was that of an airline captain and the power of this dream never left him. He also remembers his very first flight with his Father in 1984 to Sotchi, Georgia (former Soviet Union) on a Tupolev 154 and ever since he has been hooked.  Does this sound familiar to you? My spark was when I was eight and it was a DC 3 to Los Angeles International airport.

If you build it you have to fly it…

Next step is a Tailwheel Endorsement

In October of last year Randy Lewis came to CP Aviation looking for a solution to a “small” problem. He had built an airplane and needed to learn to fly so that he could personally test how good a job he had done. Originally he thought that he would get a Light Sport license since his airplane was definitely in the Light Sport category. Lucky for me he could not find a Light Sport instructor or an airplane that satisfied him and so began our journey. Instead of the Light Sport license he  decided to get a Private Pilot license and a tailwheel endorsement since his aircraft is a tailwheel design.

The plan was to begin training in a Cessna 150/152 and after soloing switch over to tailwheel training in a Citabria. The plan progressed as it had been scripted and Randy flew his dual cross country in the Citabria but because insurance requirements did not allow him to fly solo in the Citabria, as a student pilot, he completed the rest of his private pilot requirements in a Cessna 152.

Randy is pretty cool and calm but when he walked in the door to meet with the Examiner to take his checkride  I had never seen him look so nervous. He had a first class, 100% natural case of the heebie jeebies and he had to work extra hard to overcome his nerves.

Mini Max built by Randy Lewis

Mini Max built by Randy Lewis

From the beginning the goal was to take the Private Pilot checkride by July and in spite of all that life could throw in the way and this extra large case of anxiety Randy became a Private Pilot on July 18th.

Even though his goal has been achieved we still have some work to do, in the Citabria, refining his tailwheel skills and getting him ready to fly his airplane. I will keep you posted and will have photos here when he takes flight in the airplane that he built with the same passion and commitment that he devoted to learning to fly.