Since Ben also has a passion for passing on his knowledge, he recently completed his master’s degree at the Embry-Riddle extended campus in Wichita, Kansas, where he teaches flight physiology and freshman biology when he’s not doing his day job — practicing dentistry. He has achieved his single-engine and multi-engine commercial and instrument ratings and also hopes to earn his CFI certificate soon so that he can complete private pilot training with his wife, Audra, and his 16-year-old son, Brandon, and also teach his daughter, Claire, 12, to fly.
The Film Maker
A few fortunate people have a family member who is a CFI. While training with a family member is definitely cost-effective and can be a wonderful experience since the teacher is always available, it can have some drawbacks as well. Teaching and absorbing complex concepts can be challenging and frustrating, and some people may have less patience with someone they know intimately than someone they know only professionally.
For Scott Evans of Kincardine, Ontario, the training was a challenge. Scott remembers flying with his dad, Blake, as early as age 8. He dreamed of being a professional or military pilot, but his father, having seen friends go through hard times in the aviation world, discouraged him from pursuing an aviation career.
Scott was determined to at least get his private license, and since Transport Canada requires the completion of a qualified ground school program, Scott attended a class in 1978 and started flying soon after with a local instructor at a grass strip called Wingham. He flew only a few hours with him, and by the mid-’80s, his father had achieved his instructor rating and Scott started training with him.
Blake funded his first airplane purchase — a Cessna 150 — by doing aerial photography and going door-to-door selling enlargements of people’s homes. He instructed at a local flight school for a few years, and in 1997 he started Evans Aviation, which offers charter and sightseeing flights as well as flight training. The company operates a Cessna 172 and a 150.
Scott would help his dad with his ground schools, teaching some subjects while his father supervised.
“I was a gear-head and was mechanically inclined. I used to take motorcycles apart for fun. So I would teach the engine and airframe portions at the ground school my dad taught at the house,” Scott says.
With customers coming first, as far as using the airplane, Scott’s training lagged. Eventually he moved to Toronto to pursue his career in film and multimedia. It wasn’t until 2006, after he had moved back closer to his father and well over 20 years after he started his flight training, that Scott finally completed his dream of becoming a pilot, and he is very thankful to his father that he was able to reach his goal for free. He uses his flying skills in his aerial photography business.
While the learning experiences of these pilots were vastly different, in the end they all achieved their dream of learning to fly. No matter the performance of the airplanes they fly, they’ve joined the fortunate few who call themselves pilots.
There are a number of different ways to learn to fly. Which one you choose depends on who you are, where you live, how much time and money you have to invest and what your aviation goals are. Most often, the path taken toward that first certificate, and subsequent ones, winds up being exactly the right one.