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SEFSD Vice President Quan Earns His Private Pilot License

It took ten months, 148 hours of flight training, a lot of money, and two checkride attempts, but on June 9th, 2024, I finally passed my checkride, earning me the privilege to fly passengers for pleasure around the country. I actually got into RC planes first because when I was younger, my parents considered it too dangerous to jump into a clapped out (but still airworthy) Cessna Skyhawk to go on a discovery flight in French Valley Airport in Temecula, where I grew up. Flying a model plane from the ground seemed like a safer option.
Learning to fly took me about three lessons a week, about 1.5 hours each, and $295 an hour. This is not to mention the 40 hours of ground school I had to do at home online, as well as in the classroom. There was also a 60 question FAA knowledge test to take before being eligible to take the checkride. During my training, I learned slow flight, stalls, ground reference maneuvers, and handling emergencies like engine-out scenarios.
On my checkride day (that’s like the final exam for student pilots), there were two portions, a 2 hour oral exam, and then a 2 hour flight portion, if I passed the oral portion. I blew through the oral exam in just under two hours. The flight portion didn’t go so well though! After a successful short field landing and staying in the pattern, my DPE (examiner) asked me to do a slip to a normal landing, and I missed my touchdown point by 200ft. FAILED! “Oh well”, I thought, I tried my best, but failed before I even left the airport.
I still opted to continue the checkride and do airwork, since whatever portion I passed, I don’t have to redo next time. So I finished the checkride flight 2 hours later, and returned to the Carlsbad Airport knowing I wouldn’t be getting my PPL today. What a bummer, I thought.
So I spent the next three weeks practicing a forward slip to landing, making sure I could land anywhere I wanted to, and retook the test in Ramona. I passed and flew back to Carlsbad as a Private Pilot! My journey is just starting though, as I’m working on my instrument rating, and hope to own a Bonanza 36 someday!
Your Vice President