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Jon Reed — learning to fly, flying for love

There are a number of reasons people learn to fly: lifelong dream, adventure, freedom, start a career, means of transportation.

For Jon Reed, Pagosa Springs’ newest private pilot, flying not only was something he has always wanted to do, but became a means by which he could spend more time with the love of his life, and future wife, Corrine Ryser.

Corrine is attending Rocky Vista University in Denver as a second-year medical student. Jon and Corrine have been doing the long distant relationship for a little over a year and, with two more years of medical school and at least three years of residency, this adds up to a lot of windshield time.

With the option of traveling by air, there will be less time traveling and more together time.

Jon started his flight path to earning his Private Pilot Certificate in July 2010 by joining the San Juan Flyers at Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs and taking instruction with flight instructor Doug Epps.

During the next 13 months, Jon accumulated 64 hours of flight hours and passed his check ride on Aug. 29 to reach his goal. FAA regulations require 40 hours of total flight time to attain the Private Pilot Certificate, but the average pilot usually accumulates 55-65 hours in a one- to two-year time frame before they are ready for their final check ride.

The required knowledge and practical skills needed to attain a Private Pilot Certificate ranges from knowing the aircraft systems and how they function, to rules of flying, meteorology, navigation, performance maneuvers, takeoff and landings and emergency procedures, just to name a few.

There is always something that sticks out in the student’s mind when looking back at their training. For Jon, it was the landings, especially with any kind of wind, and talking to the air traffic controllers. With persistence and practice, Jon was able to develop his skills and feel comfortable in these areas.

As to the advice Jon would give to others who are considering getting their Private Pilot Certificate, he says: “A lot of people have said, ‘I have always wanted to learn to fly, but ...’ My advice — just do it, don’t put it off. San Juan Flyers makes it great. Joining the club means I have an airplane available at an affordable rate. If you just budget your money, you can get your license in two years and not be a financial burden.”

As all good pilots do, Jon intends to keep learning and improving his pilot skills, with a goal of eventually getting his instrument rating.

At some time in the future when Corinne is finished with school, she plans to do a lot of humanitarian and disaster relief work, both here in the U.S. and abroad. Jon hopes that he will be able to work alongside Corinne, using his piloting skills as her personal pilot.

For more information about San Juan Flyers or learning to fly, contact Anne Kautzky at 731-3348 or e-mail

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