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I Am A Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor!

I am a Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor for Airplanes (CFI-S)! This has taken 5 years for me to achieve! I started looking at this almost immediately after I got my Sport Pilot Certificate in 2013 and right before I got my Private Pilot Certificate in 2015. Here is the brochure that came with the Gleim kit that I hung on my bulletin board for 5 years staring back at me every day! (That's Dr. Irwin Gleim extending his hand in the picture.)

Gleim Brochure

The twists and turns along the way are an interesting read for another day, but it is for sure not the normal path but the Bill Snodgrass Path! While working on this certification, I was still employed by Halliburton working 12-hour days. This was partly one of the reasons why I was slowed down getting this certificate but, thankfully, Halliburton laid me off in 2019 right before the world had a major meltdown. So, with my newfound free time, I was able to concentrate more on the CFI-S certificate.

But why? Why go through all these gyrations? The long hours studying, the tests, the stress of multiple check rides, the sheer will to drive myself to Illinois, rent an airplane I knew little about and fly to an airport I had never been, to meet with an examiner I had never heard of, to do a 4 hour oral and two hour flight so I could become an airplane instructor? Why?

It is another story about how I had an epiphany flying after my first solo in the Diamond Katana (Eclipse)

Katana 245JP Copyright Mike Fizer

but suffice to say, before I started flying, I was doing well in life. I had a long career within software development making lots of money even though I had no college degree, raising my son by myself. I had bought my first house, had a new Jeep, and lots of friends. I had climbed all sorts of mountains throughout the Western Hemisphere and had, what I thought, was great self-esteem. But after my solo in 2004, I had a new experience of seeing myself differently. Someone who could do or be anything in life! That was a very real, unexpected thought that landed in my brain! Before, I thought I knew most everything about myself and now, come to find out, I could do even more! That I could be anything or anyone that I choose to be. That act of taking an airplane from the three-dimensions of space and landing it on to the two-dimensional runway by myself, without an instructor, was truly a moving, inspiring moment for me. And out of this epiphany arose the desire to give this experience to everyone. To have people see for themselves that view of greatness that lies in all of us!

I think most of us would agree that the world is not working well right now. I’m not going to suggest that everyone has to become a pilot so we are all singing Kum ba yah and drinking Mai Tai’s! But I do believe that aviation strips away the veils of inequality, race, gender or any other human classifications we seem to use, but to instead bring us to that bare nugget of truth, that we have marvelously, lovely lives and flying an airplane is a gift and a joy that can move us above our daily trappings of life!

Now, to have this ability to give that gift to you or anyone else, is the real difference I want to make in the world! That is the "why", the why I work so hard for. I am so, so grateful and thankful for those that have supported me along the way! There are a number of you and I cannot thank all of them here (you can see my other thank you flying tour letter written in 2013 here).

First and foremost to acknowledge is my steadfast and loving wife Laura! So just to be clear here, my wife does not like to fly in small airplanes that much. It is just not her jam. In fact, the only way she will usually fly with me is if there is another CFI onboard! But hey, aviation is not for everybody. However, she entirely supports my dream. And not just with words of encouragement, or cards secretly given to me before every check ride or her exuberant posts on Facebook about me, but financially too. None of the time and energy put forth to get my certificates, of course, has come cheap and while being laid-off, but she has worked hard to maintain our household. She is my rock and anchor while I am flying off into the depths. Thank you Laura!

Secondly, my instructor and friend Art Hoag. Laura calls him my boyfriend because of how much I gush about him and I won’t deny that. Rare in the world are we lucky enough to find people that we not only get along with but who can teach us new things and support us in our journey of life. His instructional style is one that I am always utterly amazed by. I will be thrilled if I am one-tenth the instructor that he is! I have learned so much from him and will continue to do so. Thank you, Art, for your friendship, teaching and encouragement!

Jim Craig for sharing his love of Alaska and flying all in one day and who was the true catalyst behind me becoming a pilot! You can see a video of some of my pictures of that flight here.

Lucas Bostyan as my first instructor. He would laugh at how I think his instruction was so good but honestly, to this very day, my ability to fly starts with what he taught me.

Jack Taylor, again, for easily identifying the pilot within me and signing me off on my Sport and Private Pilot Certificates!

Jim Leon, the Designated Pilot Examiner in Illinois who gave me a thorough and fair CFI-S exam. Thank you, Jim, for seeing me as I believe I am!

Jim Leon

To all my flying friends, customers, other instructors, and potential students who let me foist my practiced attempts at teaching on you! Thank you for humoring me and trusting me!

And so many, many more! I know I did not mention everyone but just some of the people who have helped me listed below.

Let the Dual Instruction begin…Come see something new for yourself that you did not even know!

* Jack Maechtle * David Guy

* Jay Turnbull * Dennis Moss

* Don McMillan * Susan Wolber

* Jer/ Eberhard * Mike Dalke

* Will Alsum * Jordan Pierce

* Steve Moore * Alan Fernandez

* Adam Woodward * Serena Rusden

* Paula Huddleston * Larry Wilson

* Rodney Ring * Austin Snodgrass

* Brian and Carol Carpenter * Victor Pelas Vasquez

* Mike Briaglio * Thomas Hutchings

* Beverlee Melancon


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