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Featured Student: Leidy Escobar

Featured Student: Leidy Escobar

By American Flyers

American Flyers: Tell us a little about yourself.

Leidy Escobar: I’m 31 years old. I was born in Palmira, Colombia, and grew up in Kissimmee, Florida. I was a flight attendant for a regional airline for five years and I am currently a full-time student at American Flyers in Scottsdale, AZ.

AF: How did you get into flying?

Leidy: I became interested in becoming a pilot during my time as a flight attendant. I always asked the pilots about their job duties, how to read a METAR, and what each instrument did. During ferry flights, I had the opportunity to sit in the jump seat during takeoff and landings. This was an amazing experience. What inspired me the most was seeing women pilots take the role of “pilot in command.”

During this time of my life, I was always talking to family members and my boyfriend about the idea of transitioning from working in the cabin to the flight deck. In 2021, my boyfriend kept pushing me to follow my dream and to apply for a loan to start flight training. It has been the best decision so far.

AF: Tell us how you went about choosing a flight school? 

Leidy: I researched different schools around the valley and compared the prices and resources they offered. Although I did my research, my first choice was not what I expected. I decided to leave my first school and start again. I took more time looking and going to each location where I spoke to staff and students that could give me more details.

AF: What made you choose American Flyers?

Leidy: I came across American Flyers because of their finish-up program. In two months, I was able to accomplish more than what I did in my previous school. American Flyers was able to help me attain my goal of finishing my private pilot license and gave me my confidence back. I decided to get all my ratings with American Flyers because of the quality of instructors they hire and train. I love the fact that I get to work with a different instructor most of the time because it gives me a different perspective of the material I am learning. The Scottsdale location is small enough, so it gives me more time to work one-on-one with an instructor. They are always there when I have a question or when I’m struggling with a topic. Everyone that I come across at American Flyers has made me feel included and acknowledged.

AF: How much outside studying did you have to put in during your time with American Flyers?

Leidy: During my days off from school, I put in about three to four hours a day. I watch videos of the topic I was learning. On walks with my dog, I listen to an audiobook about instruments, weather, or FARs. Before bed, I look up different airport procedures to familiarize myself with. The FAA’s WINGS program has also helped me with studying. I try to be as prepared as possible before a ground session.

AF: What is your most memorable moment at American Flyers?

Leidy: During my first solo takeoff and landing, my boyfriend was able to see me fly solo for the very first time. The same day, while holding short of the taxiway for traffic to pass, a charter pilot crossing gave me two thumbs up. He must have heard how nervous I was calling ground by myself and that made me feel more comfortable flying solo.

AF: Looking back, what advice would you give someone interested in starting pilot training?

Leidy: Do as much research as possible. Start studying before going into flight school, find mentors, and support groups, and buy or download the books well in advance. Get the medical done beforehand. I also recommend chair flying and practicing in the simulator more often. Also, going over procedures out loud helps. In addition, I encourage applying for scholarships. Flight school is challenging but never give up, have fun, and enjoy the journey.

AF: What’s next for you?

Leidy: Get my instrument rating, commercial, CFI-A, CFI-I, and multi-instrument by the end of the year, become a confident instructor, and start building hours!

AF: If you could fly anywhere, go to any flying destination, where would it be?

Leidy: First, I would stop in Orlando to visit my parents, then I will head out to Asia. I would love to immerse myself in their culture and exquisite foods.