By Pilot’s Digest
Pilot’s Digest: Tell us a little about yourself? (Background info – who are you, what do you do)
Jared Reading: Married 21 years, father of 4. Diagnostics and Interventional Radiologist in the town of Uvalde, Texas. My wife and I also own and operate Shotgun CrossFit.
PD: Tell us how you went about choosing a flight school?
JR: I started out wanting to be a glider pilot since I live in Uvalde, TX, home to the some of the best thermals in the world. There is no glider club here, so I would drive 2 hours one way to learn how to be a glider pilot and I accumulated 13 hours in a Pipistrel Sinus Flex. I started to become frustrated with the drive and the limited availability of my instructor. He suggested I get my Private Pilot Certificate.
Uvalde has a local flight school. I came to the school having already passed the private written on my own and I wanted to fly. My schedule is such that when I have time off I want to dedicate all of that time to flying and they could not accommodate my strong desire to be in the air. What I wanted to accomplish in a few weeks turned in to a few months.
I had a goal to be finished with my Private by January 1st. So I started calling around to cities with flight school were the weather was projected to be VFR. American Flyers in Santa Monica advertised a few things that appealed to me. First, the weather was going to be VFR. Second, AF states they specialize in helping students finish up with their Private Certificate. When I called, the school was attentive, listened to my story and promised to get me in the air as much as I could physically and mentally accommodate. I was sold and flew out immediately.
PD: What was different about American Flyers/What made you choose American Flyers?
JR: What I wasn’t expecting was how ill prepared I had been for flying in busy airspace. After that first day I was worried I was not going to finish by Jan. 1st. The communications were overwhelming for me. In little Uvalde, you rarely hear another plane. And 3 take offs and landings at a slow towered airport does not prepare an individual to fly Southern California. I could fly a plane. Slips, soft-fields, short fields, and the maneuvers I was prepared for. The communications, however, frustrated me. I felt like I was learning a new language. This is where Leo (my CFI at AF) became my hero. He assured me that after a few more days flying with him, I would be ok, and he was right. He directed me towards resources to learn the communications faster while I was on the ground and he was patient and an excellent teacher while in the air. After my third day my communications, although not mastered, were such that I could get around in southern California. I can’t say enough about my flight instructor there. Truly patient and understanding. He had come to the USA knowing limited English and he understood and could empathize with my frustrations (image learning the communication and not knowing English that well when you started). His encouragement was very valuable to me.
PD: How much outside studying did you have to put in during your time with AF?
JR: About 5 hours while with them. I had done most of my studying before I got there.
PD: Looking back, what advice would you give someone interested in starting pilot training?
JR: I have a few recommendation for someone wanting to become a pilot. First, pick a flight school who understands what your goals are and will accommodate them. It is your money, and you are spending a lot of it. You have choices, take control of your education as a pilot and find the school that understands what you want and will help you make a plan to achieve it according to your schedule. American Flyers did those things for me.
“I can’t say enough about my flight instructor there. Truly patient and understanding.”
PD: What’s next for you?
JR: I am just shy of 100 hours flight time and will start IFR practical training on January 16th in a 1964 Cessna 172 that I recently acquired for that purpose. I am loving this journey. My wife has commented several times that she hasn’t seen me this happy in a long time. I plan on gliding as well. I’ll use my certificates as tools for travel, and for recreation.
PD: What’s in your flight bag?
JR: iPad, Stratus, knee board, sectionals, flashlight, batteries, water, protein bars, sunglasses, pens and pencils.
PD: Favorite airplane:
JR: Cessna 172, I have flown 5 different ones now. I think every pilot will always be fond of their training plane. I will move on eventually, but for now this gentle plane has been fantastic. I think my ultimate plane with be a Cessna T210. But right now, I want to fly them all. Gliders, bi-planes, etc…
PD: Favorite Aviation Movie:
JR: Top Gun. I was 13 when that movie came out. Not sure if I appreciated Kelly McGilis or the flying more 😉
PD: If you could fly anywhere, go to any flying destination, where would it be?
JR: I want to learn how to fly across borders. I will make it up to Canada and down to Mexico eventually. Who knows, maybe by the end of 2017?