By: American Flyers
Pilot’s Digest: Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Maria Jose Fernandez: I am from Mexico, and my father is a pilot as well as my uncle. Ever since I was five years old, my father used to take me on his flights all over the world. I enjoyed every trip I went on with him. I always loved being able to get to know other places. Once I became old enough, I started my training at a flight school, but things did not go as I expected there.
PD: How did you choose your other flight school?
MJF: My father and I attended multiple information conferences in Mexico and decided to go to a different flight school other than American Flyers because I thought it would be cheaper. They seemed to promise all the same things that American Flyers promised, but at a lower cost. So not having any experience with flight schools in the US I chose the “cheapest” one.
PD: Why did you leave your previous school?
MJF: After being at that school for four months, I realized that the things I had been promised were not what was happening in reality. My goal, and the whole purpose for me coming to the US was to train on a full-time basis so that I could get all of my ratings and then return to Mexico to validate my licenses and apply for the airlines. But when I arrived, it was difficult to get on the flight schedule. I was not progressing quickly enough. In four months of me being at my flight school, I only flew 18 hours in an airplane. It seemed like I was being held back.
PD: What was the point where you decided to make
MJF: I was very frustrated and wondered if I was even cut out to be a pilot. After speaking with my father, we decided to switch to American Flyers to see if we could get different results there.
PD: What was different about American Flyers compared to where you had trained previously?
MJF: Everything! American Flyers was very professional. They pushed me toward my goals. There’s a structured path on finishing the training. There is very little time where you’re sitting around without a game plan on what you need to accomplish. At my other school, it seemed like I had way too much free time because I couldn’t get on the schedule. American Flyers treated my like an airline pilot from the very first day and always had a schedule to adhere to.
PD: Since you have transferred to American Flyers, what is the status of your flight training?
MJF: I recently completed my private with American Flyers and now am working on my Instrument Rating.
PD: What was the most rewarding part about learning to fly?
MJF: My favorite part so far was getting to solo, and also knowing that I am almost finished with my training. I didn’t expect that I would get to this point so quickly. It has been a lot of hard work, but it has been so worth it!
PD: What advice would you give someone interested in becoming a pilot?
MJF: Don’t give up! Even though I was absolutely positive that I wanted to be a pilot, I had almost convinced myself that I didn’t have what it takes. One thing that I would stress is the importance of choosing a good flight school. No matter how much you desire to become a pilot, if you don’t have the guidance, you’ll never be able to accomplish your goal.
PD: What is next for you?
MJF: When I finish my training, I am going back to Mexico and apply to the same airline that my father works for.