True Blue
"Be A Pilot" Club

Last Updated July 29, 2008

Here's a list of WestWind Pilots who took the "Be A Pilot" Introductory Flight...
Now it's your turn!

NOTAM: If you take the Introductory Flight and would like your name added to this list, fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Members of WWAL's "Be A Pilot" True Blue Club:

Member #1: Brian Hankey - WWAL's Sydney Hub Manager (May 9, 1997)
  • Flight School: Coleman Aero Club
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Instructor: Tobias Nierth
  • Current Status: Brian obtained his PPL on Jan 10, 1998.

Member #2: James Cangelosi - WWAL Pilot (May 11, 1997)
  • Flight School: Executive Flight Services
  • Aircraft: PA-28 Warrior
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #3: Charlie Schumacher - WWAL Pilot (May 13, 1997)
  • Flight School: American Flyers, Palwaukee Airport
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Current Status: Soloed on June 17, 1997 . . .

Member #4: Chris Sobotka - WWAL Pilot (May 29, 1997)
  • Flight School: Shoreline Aviation
  • Instructor: Nick
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #5: Denis Gagnon - Former WWAL Pilot (August 3, 1997)
  • Flight School: Airwest flying club, Broomfield, CO
  • Instructor: Nissim Levy
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Denis Obtained his PPL on December 6, 1998


"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; For there you have been and there you long to return"

Leonardo Da Vinci, On Flight of Birds

Member #6: Mike Cameron - New WWAL Pilot (August 10, 1997)
  • Flight School: Kansas City Aviation Center
  • Instructor: Eric Parker
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #7: Don Harrington - New WWAL Pilot (July 3, 1997)
  • Flight School: Wings Aloft at Boeing Field
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #8: Kevin Lane-Cummings - Retiring WWAL Pilot (September 29, 1997)

NOTAM: Although Kevin didn't take advantage of the $35 Introductory Flight, he certainly is a candidate for an "Honorary" membership in this exclusive club. He has thrown in his real life job and decided to become a Commercial Pilot.

Member #9: Dean Dubois - WWAL Pilot (October 17, 1997)
  • Flight School: Air Tutors Limited (St.-Hubert Airport, Montreal)
  • Instructor: Claude L'Espérence
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #10: Tim Healy - (December 8, 1997)
  • Flight School: Toccoa Aviation
  • Instructor: Tom Weir
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status:  Purdue's Aviation Technology program. . .

Member #11: Pamela J. Kelmer - (January 6, 1998)
  • Flight School: Frederick Aviation
  • Instructor: Stephanie Heuple
  • Aircraft: Tampico
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #12: Lloyd Lassahn - (February 5, 1998)
  • Age: 24
  • Flight School: DMS Aviation, Savannah, GA
  • Instructor: Mr. Groover
  • Aircraft: PA-28-140 Piper Cherokee
  • Current Status: PPL. . .

Member #13: Tommy Simmons - (February 17, 1998)
  • Age: 14
  • Flight School: Merrymeeting Aviation, Topsham, Maine.
    FS98 has the field, 1980 ft., gravel, 50ft. obstacle at one end.
  • Instructor: Irvin
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150M
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #14: Jeremy Holdsworth - (March 14, 1998)
  • Age: 14
  • Flight School: Wings of Flight
  • Instructor: Stephen Jones
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150 C-FVGW
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #15: David Brown - (April 4, 1998)
  • Age: 20
  • Flight School: Aviation School
  • Instructor: Joe
  • Aircraft: Boeing 727
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #16: Scott Fausel - WWAL Pilot (May 3, 1998)
  • Age: 35
  • Flight School: Whitcomb Aviation, Morrisville, VT
  • Instructor: Terry
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172 Skyhawk
  • Current Status: Soloed August 27, 1998.
  • Update: Scott reports: "I got my ticket January 6, 2000!  Gonna start on the instrument ticket this summer."

Member #17: Mike Smith - WWAL Pilot (May 9, 1998)
  • Age: 41
  • Flight School: Horizon Aviation
  • Instructors: Shelly Rants/Todd Clark
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #18: Michael Barajas - WWAL Pilot (June 26, 1998)
  • Age: 29
  • Flight School: Alamo Aviation
  • Instructor: John Larson
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #19: Tim Alsbury- WWAL Pilot (June 30, 1998)
  • Age: 38
  • Flight School: Thompson Aircraft, Prosser, WA.
  • Instructor: Dave Varnam
  • Aircraft: Piper Cherokee PA-28 140
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #20: Phil Baillie - WWAL Pilot (July 6, 1998)
  • Flight School: Abbas Air
  • Instructor: Jan
  • Aircraft: Trials on C150 & Tomahawk
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #21: Chris Grantham- WWAL Pilot (July 10, 1998)
  • Age: 14
  • Flight School: Interstate Aviation: Pullman, WA
  • Instructor: Julie
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #22: David Gomez - WWAL Pilot (July 22, 1998)
  • Age: 34
  • Flight School: Horizon Aviation,Warwick, RI
  • Instructor: Jenn
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #23: Removed at pilot's request

Member #24: David Putnam- WWAL Pilot (July 27, 1998)
  • Age: 41
  • Flight School: Richmor Aviation, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Instructor: John Lynam
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #25: Steve Gieske - WWAL Pilot (August 1, 1998)
  • Age: 49
  • Flight School: Eagle Aviation, Hillsboro, OR
  • Instructor: Gary Baugh
  • Aircraft: C150/C172
  • Current Status: PPL & Instrument Rating

Member #26: Preston Bartlett - WWAL Pilot (August 6, 1998)
  • Age: 15
  • Flight School: Alpha Tango Flying Services, San Antonio, TX
  • Instructor: Pete Depascalis
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #27: Brian Ferguson - WWAL Pilot (August 9, 1998)
  • Age: 31
  • Flight School: Sky's Aircraft Corporation, Newnan, GA
  • Instructor: Phillipe Blanchett
  • Aircraft: C150
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #28: Marcus Peavler - WWAL Pilot (August 12, 1998)
  • Age: 14
  • Flight School: Central Flying Service, Little Rock, AK
  • Instructor: Scott Chandler
  • Aircraft: C152/C172
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #29: Robert Prather - WWAL Pilot (August 17, 1998)
  • Age: 16
  • Flight School: Fletcher Aviation, Houston, TX
  • Instructor: Ken Tharp
  • Aircraft: AA-5A Grumman Cheetah
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #30: Cy Kapadia - WWAL Pilot (August 29, 1998)
  • Age: 26
  • Flight School: Chesterfield County, Chesterfield, Virginia
  • Instructor: Chris Edwards
  • Aircraft: C152 & C172 (4.5 hours at present)
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #31: - Greg Vaughn WWAL Pilot (September 19, 1998)
  • Age: 29
  • Flight School: Executive Beechcraft Inc., Kansas City, Missouri Downtown Airport (KMKC)
  • Instructor: Michael Mikolay
  • Aircraft: Beechcraft Sundowner (Couldn't SQEEEEEZE into a Piper Tomahawk!)
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #32: - Lee E. Smith WWAL Pilot (September 19, 1998)
  • Age: 27
  • Flight School: Ray's Flying School, Merced, CA
  • Instructor: Ray Beverly
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #33: - Marvin Kingma WWAL Pilot (November 30, 1998)
  • Age: 29
  • Flight School: Abbotsford Flight Centre, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
  • Instructor: Ian Smith & Jon Taylor
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Current Status: PPL 13th October 1999

Member #34: - Scott Erikson WWAL Pilot (February 10, 1999)
  • Age: 27
  • Flight School: Windham Aviation, Windham, CT
  • Instructor: Joe Gauthier
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #35: - Josh Beckett WWAL Pilot (February 10, 1999)
  • Age: 30
  • Flight School: Aero Maintenance, Vancouver
  • Instructor: Tye Brown
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Current Status: Unknown. . .

Member #36: - Bill Teller WWAL Pilot (February 10, 1999)
  • Age: 50
  • Flight School: Charlotte Aviation, Charlotte, MI
  • Instructor: Larry Benjamin
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Continue: Yes

Bill Commented: I had to keep re-scheduling my first flight as the weather here in Michigan is not the greatest this time of year!  Finally this morning, it was bright, beautiful, clear, but a very cold day.  (0 degrees F.)  We had a smooth ride, and I did quite well for my first lesson.  Even though it was obvious I have much to learn, I think my experience with flight simulator was helpful.  I highly recommend to all of you out there who are thinking about taking the first step, to go for it!

Member #37: - Troy Stevens WWAL Pilot (March 17, 1999)
  • Age: 27
  • Flight School: Great Western Aviation, Bountiful, UT
  • Instructor: Beau Barrett
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Not Sure

Troy Commented: My instructor let me start the aircraft and taxi to rwy 34. I then took off and climbed out. We did some sight seeing and then returned for landing. Since it was an introductory flight he didn't do any real flight training with me, it was more just a fun flight. I then brought us back around and lined er' up on final for 34 got er' down to about 100 ft. and let him take over for the landing. This is actually the second time that I have been in the left seat although I haven't officially started any flight training. I have quite a few hours in the right seat of a C172 flying cross country flights with my brother who is a PP and almost done with his instrument. Maybe I should just stop messing around with the idea and start some lessons :) Flying is the most fun I've ever had!

Member #38: - Eric Landversicht WWAL Pilot (March 27, 1999)
  • Age: 29
  • Flight School: Aviation Works, Newark, OH
  • Instructor: Wendell Jacobs
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Continue: Yes

Eric Commented: I just took my first flight today 3/27/99 and it was the best ride of my life.  I am still at a loss for words.  I would say the best way to put it is "Total Freedom".  My instructor has 30 years in the cockpit and although I was a little nervous, looking down at the ground 3000 feet below during the 180 degree turn, he made me feel right at home.  Nothing compares to the feeling of sitting in that plane and looking at the world down under you.  Although this was an intro flight I sure learned a lot.  After we touched down I went in to the school office, signed up, got my flight bag and books, and now I am off to the blue skies.  I can't imagine not learning to fly now.  Everyone should experience the feeling flight.  It is "Total Freedom" 

Member #39: - Scott Blankenship WWAL Pilot (April 1, 1999)
  • Age: 29
  • Flight School: Alpha Tango, San Antonio, TX
  • Instructor: Don Sykes
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

Scott Commented: I took my intro flight on 1/18/99 and it was incredible. I really can't describe the feeling of flying without having a Coke, a big comfortable chair and a little wife yelling at me. I now have 6.2 hours with 5 takeoffs, 8 touch and goes and 5 landings. I can't wait to solo and I can't wait to read about YOUR discovery flight. So go take it tomorrow and have the time of your life!

Member #40: - John Woods WWAL Pilot (April 13, 1999)
  • Age: 33
  • Flight School: Sutton Aviation Inc, Lapeer, MI
  • Instructor: Barry Sutton
  • Aircraft: PA28-161 Warrior II
  • Continue: Yes

John Commented: I took two intro flights in early March 1999 with two different instructors. My second flight was with the instructor that I will be training with. He let me control the plane from engine startup to shutdown. Fantastic experience!! My first training flight is scheduled for April 13th.

Member #41: - Gassmann Martin WWAL Pilot (April 23, 1999)
  • Age: 21
  • Flight School: Comair, Sanford, FL
  • Instructor: Nagrani Pavan
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152, 172, RG, Piper Seminole, Seneca
  • Continue: Yes

Member #42: - Erick Silva WWAL Pilot (May 1, 1999)
  • Age: 31
  • Flight School: Silver Express, Miami, FL
  • Instructor: Heraclio
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

Erick Commented: I have not gone solo yet.

Member #43: - Thomas Wolff WWAL Pilot (May 14, 1999)
  • Age: 20
  • Flight School: Florida Aviation Career Training, St. Augustine, FL
  • Instructor: Kylie Savage
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

Tom Commented: I finally took my very first flight lesson during my FL vacation, and it was a blast! The feeling that you have when suddenly it's YOU who has the controls of that plane is terrific. With all that FS experience it was really quite easy and comfortable. Only the rudder pedal coordination was new to me. My CFI, Kylie -who was very nice- was quite a bit impressed and probably got a higher respect for the value of PC sims.

I logged altogether 5 hours in about a week! I am continuing lessons over here in Germany, where I live. I expect to have the Private by fall this year.

Member #44: - Radomir Zaric WWAL Pilot (June 4, 1999)
  • Age: 26
  • Flight School: Raceway Flight Center, Concord, NC
  • Instructor: Marcus Truss
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

Radomir commented:   I have been waiting for this to happen for a long time.  It was so much fun.  My instructor, Marcus, was quite impressed with my flying considering I never flew a real plane before.  He even asked "Are you sure you never flew before?"  Hoping to get the PPL sometime by the end of this year.

Member #45: - Randall Hook WWAL Pilot (June 16, 1999)
  • Age: 27
  • Flight School: Duncan Aviation, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Instructor: Robert Newell
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

Randall commented: It was a great experience!  The biggest challenge for me was dealing with the wind.  It's not as easy holding a straight and level course in the real world as compared to FS.  FS did however prepare me for proper instrument reading/scanning and I was able to hold my own during climbs, descents and turns.  It was a definite feeling of accomplishment, and once the wheels touched the runway, I wanted to go back up!

Member #46: - David Humphrey WWAL Pilot (July 5, 1999)
  • Age: 36
  • Flight School: Centennial Flying School, Vancouver, BC Canada
  • Instructor: R. Kwan
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

David commented: This was not the $35 intro, but a full hour my wife got me for Christmas. Just a hint for any new budding pilots... limit those negative G manouvers to only a couple on your first time out! One other thing... rain,rain go away....

Member #47: - Ryan Saylor WWAL Pilot (August 1, 1999)
  • Age: 16
  • Flight School: Knoxville Flight Training Center, Knoxville, TN
  • Instructor: Oman
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150/152
  • Continue: Not sure


Ryan commented: I am 16 and have been dreaming of flight for as long as I can remember. Like playing soccer at 5 and 6 and stopping in the middle of the game to watch the planes fly overhead. When I was 14 and in the Civil Air Patrol (which I have recently left) they got me into a C-172 and let me fly. It was from that point on that flying was no longer a dream. I learned it could be reality.

Now I am 16 and a lifeguard working 40+ hours a week to get the money. And I just soloed today at 9.9 hrs. With landing pretty much out of the way, the only other hard part is paying for it. But I have faith that it will all work out. For our dreams should not and will not be held back by something as simple as money... right ;-).

Well it is time to eat. All of you fellow pilots and simmers - I urge you to all take to the skies, and take a teen with you. For it will be the best thing you have ever done for them...

Member #48: - Travis C. Marsh WWAL Pilot (September 27, 1999)
  • Age: 30
  • Flight School: Air Care, Warsaw, IN
  • Instructor: Ron Brubaker
  • Aircraft: C-150 (N18115)
  • Continue: Yes

Travis commented: I printed the ticket and decided to get right into lessons. Flying on this simulator does give a student an edge. I solo'd on 09-21-99 and that was an indescribable experience.

Member #49: - Andre Smith WWAL Pilot (October 10, 1999)
  • Age: 19
  • Flight School: Rand Flight Academy, South Africa
  • Instructor: Jeff Smith
  • Aircraft: Beech Baron B58
  • Continue: Yes

Andre commented: I 'm sure as heck gonna complete my pilots license!

Member #50: - Jeff Owens WWAL Pilot (October 13, 1999)
  • Age: 46
  • Flight School: Long Beach Flight Center, Long Beach, CA
  • Instructor: Abe Paster
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

Jeff commented: After over 2000 hrs. on the simulator I decided to take to the skies. It was a super clear Friday afternoon in southern California when I "went for it". We took off from runway 25L from Long Beach, flew the runway heading approx. 5 miles to the L.A. river and headed south toward Catalina Island. Climbing at 500 fpm at Abe handed over the controls to me when we were just about over the Queen Mary. We headed about 5 miles out over the ocean where I practiced turns, trimming, climbing and descending. Cruising around at 3,000' Abe was telling me how much of a natural I was. I really felt at home behind the controls. He instructed me to head back to the airport and to descend to 2,000'. We were instructed by ATC to fly over the center of the airport at 2,000'. Abe had me notify the tower when we were over the airport. I turned right for the downwind leg, pulled the carb heat lever and the throttle to start our decent from 2,000 feet. At dogleg, Abe took over the controls!
and brought us in for a perfect landing on 25L. It seems to me that taxiing with rudder pedals and brakes will take some practice but I'm looking forward to it. It was really a treat to fly and, yes, I am going to continue with my lessons and will become a real pilot.

Member #51 - Dean Lawson, WWAL Pilot (October 20, 1999)
  • Age: 37
  • Flight School: AVI Flight School, Turlock, CA
  • Instructor: Allen Palmer
  • Aircraft: Piper Cherokee 140 (Pa28-140)
  • Continue: Yes

Dean commented: I didn't actually take the $35.00 introductory flight mentioned here, but after much talking and cajoling from fellow LAX Hub Member Lee Smith (now also a licensed Private Pilot) I decided to go for it. I took my first lesson on 3-27-99 at Merced, CA (where Lee Smith took lessons out of, and flies out of) and wasn't able to get another lesson there until 4-28-99! Needless to say I was unhappy with that! I went across the valley a ways to Turlock airport and signed up the next day for lessons and flew a lesson THAT night right after work! I was impressed!

I flew lessons, solo, etc.. there at Turlock for the next three and a half months and on 7-10-99 the BIG DAY Came! My checkride! Don't let anyone tell you you're not nervous for THAT event! Well, long story short I PASSED! and have been a licensed Private Pilot ever since.

I've done quite a bit of flying this summer and am now back taking frequent lessons again and am working on my instrument rating.. <not alot of fun>..

Don't ever let it be said that you can't do it <fly for REAL that is>! WestWind is really good training and practice for REAL world procedures, habits, planning and practices. Every time I fly for REAL, I use planning and procedures that I first started using while flying many hundreds of hours for WestWind Airlines!!

Dean Lawson - Hub Manager LAX HUB
WestWind Pilot# A4535


Member #52: - George Harrington, WWAL Pilot (October 24, 1999)
  • Age: 24
  • Flight School: Alpha Aviation, Bellingham, WA
  • Instructor: CJ
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

George commented: I love to fly. It's so much freedom. The fun is endless.

Member #53: - Shigeki Okazaki, WWAL Pilot (December 11, 1999)
  • Age: 50
  • Flight School: Air Accord, San Jose, CA
  • Instructor: Yuzo Wakita
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152, N757UF
  • Continue: Eventually. . .

Shigeki commented:  I have done the first flight in real world at San Jose, California, last Saturday (11th/Dec/'99).
It was so exciting event for me that never experienced in my long life and would like to say "many thanks" to WWAL which keeps reminding me "Why don't you try Be-A-Pilot program?".

I used to be disappointed the situation that there is no Be-A- Pilot program available in Japan.  But a few days before the business trip to Sanjose, I fortunately found Air Accord flying school managed by the Japanese instructor is also the program member in there.  

The chief instructor, Mr. Yuzo Wakita, president of Air Accord recommended to take not $35 Demo Flight (15min Ground, 15min Traffic pattern), but San Francisco bay cruise flight since the weather is rarely fine day and I may not have the next chance to fly soon.

I agreed to take his idea as he promised me to have control partially during the flight.:-)

At the pre-flight check, I do not know what is the procedure on the other demo flight though, Mr. Wakita taught me how to check the aircraft, C152, to ensure she can fly above 99% reliability during the ground inspection.  We checked any of rusting, loosing, cracking, damaging of screws, rivets, hinges of moving parts, propeller on visual and also checking the fuel amount in tanks to double check the fuel gauge indicator is correct.   I also practiced to drain the garvage, water from the fuel tanks.  I found no water in the glass gauge then he treated me to the water supply beside the hunger showing what will be happened if includes water.   He also carried out the oral examination to check my knowledge of aviation and equipment principle as well during ground inspection.  I was so impressed his performance and stressing me to enjoy flight by touching my favorite technical environment.

The most exciting and challenging stuff started once I sit on the left seat with the headphone.

I started engine and practiced before take off checklist.  I really enjoyed to check the motion of rudder, elevator, aileron in visual that I would have liked to do by myself as the airline pilot do during taxing. :-)      The instructor allowed me to taxi to Hold/Short position at RWY31L.   After the Tower's clearance, I was listening ATC, he said " Line up and Take-off".   I was relaxing until hear "You have control and take-off immediately".
Wow!!  After the deep breath, I started the take-off roll as usual in FS and kept 10 degree attack angle with 500~700fpm climb rate.  Once established the initial climb to 1500ft and level off with proper trimming, you can imagine what he told me.  "Relieve your shoulders".  I was too much concentrating to keep the climb rate, speed, heading, engine RPM.  I understand now that the real Cessna 152 does fly stably by itself.

The VFR tour course was flying from San Jose Reid Hillview airport to Oakland, Bay Bridge routing the right side of San Francisco bay and then to Golden Gate Bridge, flying over the San Francisco city .  The return course was, passing just west side of San Francisco Intl along the highway 101 while the big jets are flying, then Moffett Field, and across the middle of San Jose Intl at 1500ft to get 45 degree angle joining into RWY31L left downwind.

After joined into the downwind leg, the instructor told me that " You can try to land with descending traffic pattern landing".   I asked him "Are you serious?"

At the end of the downwind, he instructed me a lot of things, engine power setting, mixture setting, descend rate, flap timing, etc.   I was so busy to control them, while watching outside to find the turning point to base and final.    I actually made a little early turn from base to final though, I was not surprised since it is the ordinal recovering process on FS. :-)

At short final, once Cessna 152 was aiming the touch down zone with Red/White VASI indicator, Mr. Wakita was taking the picture for me.    I succeeded to Round Out to get the actual touch down point by pulling yoke 1 inch and pulled 2 inches further at 10 ft for flare.  But, while I was waiting the response, she has touched down with a little shock.   Although I regretted, he covered me with the comment that it is still better than pulling yoke too much.

I flew 1.6 hours totally including VOR navigation and the instructor only took the control for the emergency separation at Oakland and for my smoking break.   I really appreciate Mr. Wakita's patient allowing me to control whole flight as well as his warmfull personality as the true airman.

Finally, I convinced that WWAL's flying concept "As Real As Possible" is true.  Otherwise I could not complete the first flight.   The correct manner of simulation and image training to real world must be the short way to be a pilot and the great fun in FS world.

Member #54: - John Miller, WWAL Pilot (February 14, 2000)
  • Age: 28
  • Flight School: The Flight School, Lawrenceville, GA
  • Instructor: Bryan Streetman
  • Aircraft: Cessna  C-172
  • Continue: Yes

John commented:  I went for the intro flight and was able to do the preflight and taxi-takeoff with some assistance from the instructor.  Once we were up it was just too fun and we ended up flying for an hour.  I actually came away with my first lesson and .9 hrs in my logbook. I've started regular lessons now and am planning to keep right on going.

Member #55: - William B. Foster WWAL Pilot (March 6, 2000)
  • Age: 33
  • Flight School: Mercury Flight Center, Chesapeake, VA
  • Instructor: John Holden
  • Aircraft: Cessna  150
  • Continue: Yes

William commented:  Intro flight 1-27-99. Check Ride 1-8-00. After that first flight there was no way to stop.

Member #56: - Greg Yankow WWAL Pilot (March 30, 2000)
  • Age: 28
  • Flight School: Seamans Airport, Factoryville, PA
  • Instructor: Steve Barnick
  • Aircraft: Cessna  152, 172
  • Continue: Yes

Greg Commented: I actually took the introductory flight on Jan 26, 1999.  It was so addicting that 6 months later I was a licensed pilot.  I would recommend 'real world' flying to anyone who flies a PC simulator - it is one of the most peaceful and beautiful experiences a person can have.  If you're thinking about it - feel free to send me questions/concerns via e-mail.

Member #57: - Doug Hoefle WWAL Pilot (May 10, 2000)
  • Age: 24
  • Flight School: Aero Prep, Medford, NJ
  • Instructor: Steve Koza
  • Aircraft: Cessna  152
  • Continue: Yes

Doug Commented: I actually took the introductory flight back in December, but really didn't have the money to start training at that time.  I logged about 6 hours when I was 16, but had to discontiue for money reasons.  Now I am back into it and plan to keep going!  I'm so excited.  Among other things, flight simulator 2000 and WestWind have helped to remind me what a thrill it is to fly.  Nothing like being in the real aircraft.  Can't wait to solo, and eventually to get licensed!

Member #58: - Walt Schroeder WWAL Pilot (May 26, 2000)
  • Age: 35
  • Flight School: North Florida Flight School, Jacksonville FL
  • Instructor: Scott Adams
  • Aircraft: Piper Warrior II
  • Continue: Not sure

Walt Commented: What a thrill to sit in the "REAL" left seat.  The weather was a bit choppy but very enjoyable.  The flight didn't last nearly long enough for me so I immediately scheduled a follow-up flight.  We went back up the following Friday morning.  Beautiful weather.  Several helos were performing flying out of Mayport N.A.S.  It looked really cool from above.  I was in complete control of the aircraft from takeoff to touch down...including a touch and go at Jacksonville International Airport (WOW!!!).  I'm not sure of my plans to get my PPL due to unforeseen financial hardship (it's always something!).  But I would love to give it a go.  So if anyone out there would like to donate to the cause, let me know.  

Member #59: - Paul Zakian WWAL Pilot (June 16, 2000)
  • Age: ?
  • Flight School: West Valley Flying Club, San Francisco, CA
  • Instructor: Ronen Flat
  • Aircraft: C152/172
  • Continue: Yes

Paul Commented: Haven't spent much time on WestWind over the past year.  After the first intro flight last June, it was six months before getting my PP license on December 28th, 1999.  Despite 15-20 kt winds in the Bay Area and an FAA examiner who was determined not to let me see any of my checkride (kept me "under the hood"), I passed.  Thanks WestWind for a great start in flying!

Member #60: - Andy McSunas WWAL Pilot (July 10, 2000)
  • Age: 40
  • Flight School: Pacific States Aviation, Concord, CA
  • Instructor: Michael Mork
  • Aircraft: C152
  • Continue: Yes

Andy Commented: What a thrill! I've been in the right seat many times with friends but never given full control of the aircraft. The most fun, oddly enough, was being able to communicate with a "real" tower. After the initial "mike-fright," I felt as if I were at home using RW. Credit goes to Satco and the great ATC training. I will have to wait until the summer of 2001 to start (cash flow being the hurdle, as always), although I have already started shopping for a school and CFI. I highly recommend checking out at least three different operations, if you can. My observation is that CFI styles and flight school policies vary greatly and finding the right combination is critical.

Member #61: - Larry Bear WWAL Pilot (July, 2000)
  • Flight School: Lincoln Park Aviation, Lincoln Park, NJ
  • Instructor: Neil Tucker
  • Aircraft: Not specified
  • Continue: Not specified

Larry Commented: The Austrailian Flying Wonder from the Land Down Under...

Member #62: -Maurino Brown WWAL Pilot (February, 2001)
  • Age 15
  • Flight School: The Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, Ohio
  • Instructor: N/A
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

MaurinoCommented: The whole experience was marvelous! As soon as we got off the ground I took the controls and did some basic turns, and climbs. I regretted that it only lasted for 30 minutes though. Everything else was great, and thank you Be A Pilot Program for helping me almost reach my goals!

Member #63: -Adam Ingram WWAL Pilot (April, 2001)
  • Age 28
  • Flight School: Av-Ed Flight School, Leesburg, VA
  • Instructor: N/A
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172-R
  • Continue: Yes

Adam Commented: I am currently in ground school and flying up to three times per week. I hope to finish my private license in 6 months and then start on my instrument rating.

Member #64: -Alex Archer WWAL Pilot (August, 2001)
  • Age 16
  • Flight School: Bergstrom Aircraft, Pasco Washington
  • Instructor:Tyler Holm
  • Aircraft: BE-77 Beachcraft Skipper
  • Continue: Yes

Alex Commented: The sim really helped. I actually got to takeoff and land the airplane. I didn't bounce the landing either. 
                                ******UPDATE 10/16/2002******* Alex reports that he now has his private pilots license and works for an airport!

Member #65: -Joel Pinto WWAL Pilot (August, 2001)
  • Flight School: Miami Dade Community College - Comair Flight School
  • Instructor: David Diaz
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

Joel Commented: I took it at Tamiami Airport, with the Miami Dade Community College - Comair flight school. We flew for more than hour and a half. We took off and went all the way up to common traffic pattern altitude (within 1,500 and 2,000 ft.) flew along Miami Beach coast, passed below a 727 which was departing from Miami International Airport, practiced slow flight, regular turns, climbing and descendings. I had a tremendous time, when we were back at the airport, I landed the aircraft (of course with the help of the instructor the first time) made a go around, flew a left traffic pattern and then landed by myself...... Of course I am going to continue and go for my private license, as soon as I can afford it and put enough time aside for it. Thanks to WestWind Airlines for having helped me this much and take me closer to my biggest dream... flying.

Member #66: -Leland Anderson WWAL Pilot (February, 2002)
  • Flight School: Angel Air Aviation, Chandler, AZ
  • Instructor: Judd
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

Leland Commented: Have secured financing to assist my flight training all the way to CFI. Should have done this years ago.

Member #67: -Dan Imhoff WWAL Pilot (March, 2002)
  • Age: 36
  • Flight School: Flight Training Australia, Brisbane, Australia
  • Instructor: Chris Hartley
  • Aircraft: Cessna 152
  • Continue: Yes

Dan Commented: Your never to old, I have enrolled to complete my commercial license as well as ATPL and an Instructors rating. Never let anyone tell you your to old.  You gain about 20 years of your life back the day you start.

Member #68: -Skip Cole WWAL Pilot (May, 2002)
  • Age: 54
  • Flight School: Wright Flyers Aviation, San Antonio, TX
  • Instructor: Darren Murphy
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172R
  • Continue: Yes

Skip Commented: May 5th, 2002... finally took the plunge, but told them I didn't want the scenic tour. So, the flight turned into an hour and I successfully completed taxi, takeoff, straight and level, slow flight, stalls, steep turns and a landing with winds gusting to 20 knots. I even handled the communication. He tuned the radios. It was great. When we landed the instructor got out one of those freebie pilot flight logs and made an entry for 1.1 hours with all the info. I hope to continue when real world stuff allows me time.

Member #69: -Boyd Barker WWAL Pilot (April, 2003)
  • Age: 30
  • Flight School: Lentz Flying Service, KEFD Houston, Texas
  • Instructor: Lou Janos
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Not Sure

Boyd Commented: Well, I was too big for the 150 so off in the 172 we went. I had the entire flight from climb-out to landing and taxi. It was awesome. Now let's see if the latest addition to the Barker family (it's a boy) will allow flight school in the budget. (Editor's note: Congratulations, Boyd,  for both of your accomplishments!)

Member #70: -Edward Turner, Jr. WWAL Pilot (June, 2003)
  • Age: 64
  • Flight School: West Air Aviation, Las Vegas, NV
  • Instructor: Nick Hodge
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

Ed Commented: After preflight check, my instructor, Nick Hodge had me taxi to dep rwy after engine sparkplug check, Nick in the right seat said "with all your knowledge of VA flying over the years with WestWind VA, I am going to let you do the flying" we set radios, contacted ATC for clearance to take off rwy 7 for Red Rock Canyon, nose on the horizon, right turn to 030' I trimmed out at 5000 ft and had a ball enjoying the bumps near the canyon. I also met a celebrity, Justin Tranz renowned Hipp-Nosis of the Las Vegas Strip, who, by the way, is a licensed private pilot and owns both a Barron 58 and a piper Cherokee of which I had the pleasure of both.

Member #71: -Ian McAllister  WWAL Pilot (July, 2003)
  • Age: 27
  • Flight School: Certified Fliers, Morristown, NJ
  • Instructor: Andrew Ring
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172N
  • Continue: Yes

Ian Commented: Took off from rwy 23 at KMMU on a beautiful day. Climbed to 2500ft and headed west, over the town I work in and used to live in.  As of today, after a long pause, I am in my 8th hour of training and now going about 3 times a week.

Member #72: -Mark Chapel  WWAL Pilot (July, 2003)
  • Flight School: Airline Training International, Toronto, Ontario
  • Instructor: Vince
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172

Mark Commented: Although I'd been on a number of "sightseeing" flights in the right seat of smaller aircraft over the past ten years (including a one-hour flight in a Beaver on floats last summer), I'd never had control of an aircraft outside of the virtual world. For my birthday this year, my wife decided to change that situation and booked me on a familiarisation flight with Airline Training International based at Toronto City Centre airport (CYTZ) through

On July 28, 2003, after two cancellations: - one because of weather that was below VFR minimums and the other because someone on their first cross-country flight had lost the keys to the 172 we were to fly! - we took the short ferry ride (50yards) to YTZ - Toronto's version of Meigs Field - and met Vince.

During the pre-flight briefing, I made mention of the knowledge of aviation basics and communications procedures I'd picked up through my experience with WestWind as well as subscriptions to a number of aviation-related publications. When I told him that I also had a yoke and pedals in my FS set-up, he smiled, said that FS was a great learning tool and that he was going to introduce me to the "third dimension" of flying.

Together we did a full pre-flight of the aircraft. Vince showed me what to look for as he inspected the port side of the aircraft and then I inspected the starboard side with Vince's supervision. According to Vince, I did very well. I even got a pre-flight "baptism" - a little 100LL on my hand while checking one of the thirteen (!) fuel drains on the 172. After a little clean-up, Vince informed me that I'd be taking the left seat and I'd taxi to the "active" - with his assistance (if needed) of course.

After the pre-start and start-up checks, we checked the ATIS and as we heard the barometric pressure Vince said, "You were about to reach for the altimeter setting knob, weren't you?" I said that he was right and he replied, "Well, go ahead then!" - and I set the Kollsmann knob for 29.95. 

Start-up was normal, and with all gauges "in the green", it was time to contact ground for permission to taxi. The wind was 220/12 and we were cleared to runway 24 with instructions to hold short of runway 26. Time to roll!

Vince had told me that with the exception of landing and the radio calls, we'd conduct the flight as if I was "pilot in command" unless either of us thought it better that the plane was "his".

I released the parking brake as the tach read 1,000 RPM and we were rolling. It very quickly became apparent what he meant when Vince referred to the "third dimension". In the real world, taxiways are not smooth - and when you're rolling on tires about half the diameter of most car tires - you feel every bump, tar-strip and surface irregularity there is. I managed to keep us on the taxiway centreline and got us to the run-up area adjacent to the threshold of runway 26 uneventfully.

As we completed the run-up checks, Vince called the tower and we were given the choice of either runway 24 or 26. With a "rookie" at the controls and 12 knots of wind at 220, a "no flaps" takeoff on runway 24 would be our choice. After being cleared to take off, I lined us up on the 3000ft. runway and slowly advanced the throttle.

With a little help from Vince on the rudder, we rotated at 55 knots IAS and were airborne less than halfway down the runway. We set the trim for a 700fpm climb at 80 knots. About 30 seconds after lift-off, ATC alerted us to traffic at our 11 o'clock, advising that we follow them out of the traffic pattern and we made our first turn to a heading of 130 with just 15 degrees of bank. That made it pretty easy to keep the ball centred on the turn and bank indicator. 

After a minute or so, we initiated another turn to a heading of 060 and followed the Lake Ontario shoreline about one mile offshore. We levelled off at 2,400ft and trimmed for 110 knots. Being over the water made the ride fairly smooth in spite of scattered cumulus at 4,800 and 6,000 on a relatively windy day. Of course, the tail wind was helping us to achieve a ground speed of 125 knots.

All too quickly, it was time to turn back. As we turned north toward the shoreline, Vince reminded me that we might feel a few bumps as we reached the shore because land heats up much more quickly than water. Just as we turned to a heading of 240 over my old high school, we got the thrilling combination of a big updraft because of the high school's large flat, black roof as well as a 30knot gust right on our nose. The VSI jumped to +1,500 for about ten seconds. Vince's voice came through the headset, chuckling, "Now, THERE'S your third dimension - glider pilots would love that."

We had obtained permission from ATC to circle the downtown area about 1nm north of the CN Tower with a caution to stay within 3nm of YTZ while circling. Why? Because runways 23/24 were active at YYZ, 7 miles to the northwest - and we didn't want to stray into the path of a 777 on downwind!

As we descended to 1500ft, we experienced more of the third dimension while flying over the flat roofs of the downtown office towers. We announced that we were turning base and I set the flaps for 10 degrees. Again, ATC gave us the option of either of runways 24 or 26. The winds were now 230/08 and runway 24 was our choice - despite the fact that it's the more challenging of the two approaches because it brings you into fairly close proximity to the lakeside hotels and condo towers. (Try it sometime in FS). As we passed by the rotating rooftop restaurant of one of the hotels at 500ft, I set our second notch of flaps and Vince took over the plane for landing.

When we were about three feet off the runway, the stall warning sounded. I was quite surprised that it didn't sound like the warning I'd heard in any other small aircraft I'd been in - or like the 172 stall warning in any version Flight Sim. It sounded like the squeaking noise a dog's toy would make!

The plane was "mine" again and we were cleared to taxi to the ramp via runway 33 and taxiway Bravo. With about 1,800 feet of runway ahead of us, braking was not an issue until we had to turn onto 33. As we approached the hold point for crossing runway 26, the tower cleared an Air Canada Jazz Dash8 into position on 26 and cleared us to continue our taxi. It's a sobering sight to see the lights of a 50-seat turboprop turning toward you through your right window as you cross a runway - even if it's 2,800 feet away and not yet cleared for takeoff!

We taxied to the tie-down area, shut down the aircraft, set the control locks and secured the tie-downs. As we walked toward the terminal, Vince said that it was one of the best "beapilot" flights he'd been on (I think he was just being a nice guy) and I'd obviously learned a lot with WestWind and Flight Sim. My wife was waiting for us in the terminal and Vince gave her a verbal report of our flight as we headed for a short debriefing session. 

As I write this less than 24 hours later, my wife has yet to tire of hearing me re-live my flight - or she's a very good actress. But it's the best birthday present any virtual pilot could ever receive. Even if you don't have a birthday coming up in the near future, every WestWind pilot should log on to and enjoy the gift of the "third dimension" of flight. 

My only regret is that I didn't do it five years ago.

Member #73: -Sean McConnell  WWAL Pilot (August, 2003)
  • Age: 39
  • Flight School: Dyer the Flyer, Marshal, Missouri
  • Instructor: Sam Dyer
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150
  • Continue: Yes

Sean Commented: I had a couple of lessons back in 1988 in the Navy Memphis Flying Club but money and world situation worked against me. Now that I'm retired from the Navy and have a job where a Private pilot Certificate would be a benefit, I decided it was time to start back up. Real flying is as fun as I had remembered it was but also a little more expensive now

Member #74: -Jean-Louis Vandeponseele  WWAL Pilot (January 2004)
  • Age: 40
  • Flight School: ACPN, Persant-Beaumont, France
  • Instructor: Laurent Cedera
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172R
  • Continue: Yes

Jean-Louis Commented: I already have my 4 hours of flying with the instructor. I'll probably do the full circuits by my own on the next 2 hours and be soloed soon after.

Member #75: -Tyler Hirschey  WWAL Pilot (February 2004)
  • Age: 26
  • Flight School: Caldwell Flight Academy, Fairfield, NJ
  • Instructor: Jim
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

Tyler Commented: I've flow MSFS since I can remember. I've always been obsessed with planes and flying. It wasn't until the most recent versions of MSFS (2k2, and 2k4 especially) that made me really want it. I wouldn't have done it had the simulator not given me such a great idea of what to expect. The sim checkrides and lessons were great and tempted me even more. I kept telling myself that I'd do it when I was 30 or 35 years old when it was more economically feasible but it couldn't wait. SO I went for the intro and i'm hooked. I have 8 hours (started in late 2003) and am just paying as I go. I thought joining Westwind would tide me over for a bit but that just made it worse! They say a lesson here or there will cost more in the long run but I just practice in MSFS after I come home from the lesson. I hope to prove them wrong. The instructor has been very impressed with my knowledge and ability so far and I'm probably only a few hours away from my solo. The only problem is I get too focused on the instruments. The first thing I wanted to do when I got in the plane is see if the VOR needle actually worked! After this it's straight onto IFR. Stop Dreaming - Start Flying is right!

Member #76: -Kevin Johnson  WWAL Pilot (February 2004)
  • Age: 39
  • Flight School: North Air Flight School, Prescott, AZ
  • Instructor: Trey Cottrell
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172SP
  • Continue: Yes

Kevin Commented: Like many before, I have been flying simulation for quite some time. The only explanation with real life is surreal. Although I've a few hours, the biggest difference in the simulation and real for me is my seat staying the at ground level when I'm turning. After my 2nd flight I did manage to land, on my own, but I have this habit of taking a huge death grip on the throttle, which I'm sure the Instructor pilots of WWA can understand with. :)

Member #77: -Robert Croucher  WWAL Pilot (October 2004)
  • Age: 25
  • Flight School: Cabair College of Air Training, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, UK
  • Instructor:Ayden Mitchell
  • Aircraft: Grumman AA5-A & B
  • Continue: Yes

Robert Commented:  I did not take up your offer, however since March this year I have been persuing my PPL aspirations and today I passed my PPL Skills Test. So I thought I would let you know.

Member #78: -Dale Long  WWAL Pilot (December 2004)
  • Age: 25
  • Flight School: Twin Cities, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Instructor: Jerry Eichelberger
  • Aircraft: C172
  • Continue: Not Sure

Dale Commented:  Earned my Private Pilot ticket on 12/11/04. Winds were 30 knots at 3000, so it turned out to be an interesting ride. I'm sure flying for "WestWind" helped with the instrument portion. My instructor commented on my instrument work the first time he had me try. But it can't prepare you for real world turbulence - 100 foot drops and lifts within a few seconds. Even trying to tune the radio becomes a difficult task.

Member #79: -Joe Novakowski WWAL Pilot (November 2005)
  • Age: 17
  • Flight School: Execair, Syracuse, NY
  • Instructor: Jason Phipps
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172S
  • Continue: Yes

Joe Commented:  Went up on a sunny day in August.  I got to do most of the flying. Flew over my house and school and it was a blast. Have since been taking lessons, soloed on November 7th for the first time and I can't wait to get my license!

Member #80: -William Gore WWAL Pilot (December 2005)
  • Age: 33
  • Flight School: Bolton Flying Service, Columbus, Ohio
  • Instructor: Mike Schad
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes

William Commented:  I am thrilled to be taking lessons. I took a few several years ago but now I am going to complete the lessons. I am planning on going all the way to ATP.

Member #81: -Jon Noland WWAL Pilot (June 2006)
  • Age: 19
  • Flight School: Atkin Air, Lincoln California
  • Instructor: Beau
  • Aircraft: Cessna 150M
  • Continue: Yes

Jon Commented:  I've been in love with flying ever since i was about 6 years old and I just found out that my Dad use to work with the owner/founder of Atkin Air, a charter company based out of Lincoln Regional (KLHM). With my huge fascination with flight, I immiediately jumped at this chance to meet him. He told me that I should just go up and take a flight with an instructor so I can get "hooked" with flying.

So on 6/9/06 at 12:30pm I climbed into a Cessna 150M with my instructor and taxied out to RWY 33. The wind was 30 at 07 and I pushed that throttle forward and lept into the air. The whole time up I was grinning like a fool and saying "Wow" over and over into the headset. After a few left and right standard turns at 1,500 feet Beau asked me where the airport was...Being so lost in all of the excitement of flying an airplane I lost track of my surroundings, I was like "uhhhhhh thats a good question.." little did I know that it was already 10 miles away off of the left wing...Was amazing I went so far, so fast, so high. we finally came in for the approach onto RWY 15 and started our downwind leg a 1/4 mile from 15 flyng west to east.

Turning onto the base leg it started getting busy in the cockpit as Beau was telling me we have about a 45 degree crosswind at about 7-10mph it was amazing watching Beau land working the rudders the throttle and the stick all with precision. Touching down nice and softly on 15 we taxied back into the parking position where we first started and shut down the airplane thus ending my first adventure out into the wild blue yonder.

I intend to start my flying lessons with Atkin Air as soon as possible...the owner was even nice enough to give me this intro flight for free since he knew my dad from 20 years ago (how nice of him) so that will help with the costs of lessons (ha...barely).

I'm extremely happy to now be apart of those chosen few that have ventured skyward.

Member #82: -John Ginley WWAL Pilot (March 2007)
  • Age: 14
  • Flight School: Flight Services of Medina (Medina Municipal Airport, 1G5)
  • Instructor: Rick Taylor
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172
  • Continue: Yes!

John Commented:  I took the intro flight and loved it. I got to takeoff and vastly do everything in the airplane except land it..I am taking them still now and have about 10.2 hours in. We are working on landings now and going into a controlled airspace. My instructor says that I am probably one of his best students and I am only 14. He says I should go into airline aviation. I am working on getting my PPL now.

Member #83: -Jared D. Kelly WWAL Pilot (July 2008)
  • Age: 20
  • Flight School: Crosswind Aviation, Casper, WY
  • Instructor: Ryan Zimmer
  • Aircraft: Cessna 172... N733FF
  • Continue: I am.

Jared Commented:  I loved it so much, it was 100 times better than the sim, I love it so much I have decided to continue, I have my student certificate and am working on my private.

Who will be next???

Want your name added to the list above? If you took the introductory flight, click here and fill out the form.

Questions or comments? Contact Steve Canham, President/CEO

Back to Flight Lesson Stories link page.

Click here to warp to the Be-A-Pilot Kudos Page.

Back to "Be A Pilot" main page.

Back to True Blue main page.

Back to WWAL's FBO.