About Me

Me, watching one of the most spectacular aurora shows of my life – Poker Flat Research Range, Alaska

I am currently a space physics doctoral student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in Fairbanks, Alaska.

This blog is my place to chronicle my thoughts as I earn my private pilot certificate in fall 2013 – spring 2014. I want to analyze my performance in each flight lesson (I pay too much per lesson not to) and writing about everything seems like a good way to process the information. It will hopefully also help me correct any problems/mistakes and give me reminders of things to look out for when I take the final checkride. I always wished to have been able to pick the brain of another student pilot – hear their thoughts throughout the training process before I started my training – and this is my way of providing that to some future student.

I’m nervous about braving winter weather during preflights, learning about wilderness survival (just in case), doing a final checkride in the dead of winter (will I even be able to see the taxiway line as I fly with the examiner?). Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some nice pictures too!

Blog name: Yes, I know almost all of my flying isn’t actually in Fairbanks, but ya gotta be based somewhere.

I look at this blog as a diary for myself. Please excuse spelling and grammatical errors. I’m sneaking in these blog posts while I’m supposed to be preparing for my PhD thesis defense/writing research journal articles. No time to polish my entries here.

I’ve always used my diaries to complain and to worry. This blog will probably be no different. I promise that I am a lot less insecure in real life 😉 .

You can learn more about me and my motivations in my first blog post. I receive notifications of all comments on this blog and do my best to answer questions quickly.


I think it goes without saying, but the opinions expressed in this blog are my own, not those of my flight school and very experienced instructors (I’m talented at remembering their words incorrectly/typing the wrong things here). I make no claims to the accuracy of anything posted.


4 thoughts on “About Me

    1. Hi Todd, I’ve listed questions I asked various flight schools and the names of Fairbanks schools themselves (circa 2013) in my post at https://flyinginfairbanks.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/first-steps/. As far as I know, not all are teaching anymore, but my school still is. While I could just give you the name of my school (which I love very much), it may not be the right one for you. You can probably figure out which one it is from details in several of my blog posts and a little bit of Googling.

      I choose the school I did based on how I felt after visiting 2 different places.
      I met instructors from at the different schools and visited their facilities. On the visits, I looked for professionalism, that they had a well laid out plan for how to get me to the point where I could be a competent, safe pilot (&pass the private pilot exam), that I knew exactly what they expected from me (time commitment from me, money for training, etc), that I felt supported by the staff, and that after I got my license, they had ways to further my learning (new ratings beyond private pilot, ideas of where to rent planes/flying clubs, flight reviews [as required by the FAA]). These are things I valued, but they may not be for you (ex. maybe you don’t want a rating beyond private pilot). At the end of the day, all certified flight instructors have demonstrated to an FAA representative that they have the skills necessary to teach budding pilots, but personality is important and highly variable. Certain students will learn better from certain instructors&environments; it is up to you to decide what is best for you.

      I hope this information is helpful, please let me know if you’d like more elaboration!


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