Bookmark and Share

Mike Richardson fulfills dream of flight

Mike Richardson became Pagosa Springs newest Private Pilot on Thursday, March 4.

Mike started this journey in May of 2008 after his wife Briana Jacobson and his pilot friend Brian Cullan of Yuma, Ariz., surprised him with a gift of flight lessons. Flying had been a dream of Mike’s for quite some time, but he never thought he would actually accomplish it until Briana and Brian teamed together with flight instructor Anne Kautzky to made the dream a reality.

Mike has always been fascinated with flying, especially small aircraft. He just never thought he would be able to get his pilot’s license because of a misconception of the vision qualification.

When asked, Mike commented that the hardest part of the training was twofold: 1) learning to flare and land the airplane and 2) the preparation for the written and practical test.

Mike persevered and in the end fulfilled his dream. His first flight as a private pilot will be to give Briana a local ride and then make a trip to either California or Yuma, Ariz.

Have you ever dreamed of soaring with the eagles? Wondered what it takes to get your Private Pilot Certificate and fulfill that dream?

First, you must to be able to read, speak, write and understand English. There is no specific minimum age to begin dual flight training, however, you must be 16 years of age to solo and 17 years of age to take the practical exam for the certificate.

It is highly recommended prior to getting serious about taking flight lessons, you obtain a third-class FAA medical exam from a designated FAA flight physician. This medical will also be your Student Pilot Certificate and is required prior to your solo.

Second, you must receive ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course on the aeronautical knowledge areas designated by the FAA in the Federal Aviation Regulations, then take and pass a written test.

Third, you must log at least 40 hours of flight time that includes at least 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor and 10 hours of solo flight training in the areas of operation listed in the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Finally, when all these requirements are fulfilled, you are ready to take the oral and practical exam with a FAA Designated Flight Examiner. Passing these final exams, you will have your Private Pilot Certificate.

In Pagosa, your options of flight training are:

1) Own your own airplane or have a friend who will lend you their airplane to train with.

2) Travel to Durango to rent an airplane and hire a flight instructor.

3) Become a member of San Juan Flyers, Inc., located on Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs.

San Juan Flyers, Inc. is a non-profit corporation operating as an ownership flying club. The organization offers shares of ownership in the “club” at a fraction of the price you would incur to own your own airplane. Aircraft ownership made simple.

San Juan Flyers, Inc., owns two instrument-rated, single-engine airplanes and its own hangar. They have three certified flight instructors and are able to offer both great training and convenient flying experiences into and out of Stevens Field.

If you are interested in learning how to fly, advancing your ratings, and/or becoming a member of the San Juan Flyers, Inc., contact Anne Kautzky at 903-7718 or Doug Epps at 903-2800.