About our flight school, how we work, what we think…
Alpine Flight Training operates at Eagle County Regional Airport and provides flight instruction in accordance with FAA Part 61. Every element of our operation emphasizes safety. We operate a modern Diamond DA-20-C1 aircraft under a rigid maintenance program. The Diamond DA-20-C1 is touted as having the best safety record in the business as well as excellent economy.
For many years now, we have successfully provided flight instruction in the Colorado Rockies and the Western Slope of Colorado. With a good deal of intuition and patience, we prepare our student pilots and private pilots for the FAA Written Exam and Checkride for private pilot and instrument ratings.
Our extensive training programs familiarize first-time fliers with aerodynamics, aircraft systems, airspace, a variety of flight maneuvers, and every other aspect necessary to become a safe and proficient pilot.
A few things about us:
- Our friendly and professional staff is available 7 days per week by appointment.
- We operate modern aircraft.
- We are located at Eagle Airport, near Vail Colorado
- Our flight instructors are patient, friendly, and highly skilled professionals.
- We instruct all levels of students from private to ATP.
- We teach mountain Flying in customer owned aircraft as well as our rental aircraft.
The last 15 years of watching and participating in the business of flight instruction has brought me to the conclusion that the instructor community is does a poor job of teaching students good reasoning and decision making skills. The message in the most basic sense is that instructors are constantly making decisions to protect students rather than allowing students to gain valuable decision making experience.
Instructors look at the weather, instructors cancel flights, and instructors tell students what to do during the entire course of training. Then, the student takes a check ride, the instructor is gone from the picture and the student has not learned how to effectively manage and evaluate the flight environment. The result is often that the student hurts him or herself and often others.
There are numerous real-world examples of the kind of critical thinking skills that are not being taught. For example, most pilots have the idea that airplanes must land on runways at airports. Some pilots may recognize that a taxi-way is also acceptable, but consider how many private pilots make VFR flights into IMC as a futile effort to make it to an airport. Students need to be taught to think outside the box and consider a variety of alternatives such as… when the weather started to get bad turn around. If it’s too bad to turn around where is the nearest airport. Ok, weather is getting even worse… while we can still see something a good decision would be a landing on the road of choice rather than a flight into the mountain.
Here in the Rockies, each year at least one pilot flies the direct route into high terrain without evaluating the variables (density altitude, aircraft performance, terrain elevation). The result is a perfectly good airplane and an otherwise capable pilot hitting a mountain in the remote wilderness. More times than not the result is death.
Our primary goal when working with pilots (ATP’s or students) is to teach the pilot what the variables are, how to evaluate the variables and the decision making to resolve the problems rather than rote teaching of hard fast rules and hands on skills. This isn’t to say hands-on skills are not important, but as John and Martha King say…. Bad technical skills will result in a trip to the insurance agent, bad decision making skills will kill you.
It is our goal to teach students to recognize when and how variables play into certain situations, and impart a true understanding of how airplanes, the environment, and the pilot have to function together to make flight safe and enjoyable.
Probably the most important thing to know about me is that I learned to fly in the Colorado Rockies, and I have spent the last 15 years flying and teaching extensively in the mountains. My students fly a variety of aircraft ranging from Malibu’s to 152’s, and everything in between. I also have a BS Degree is Aeronautical Science, was part of the engineering program for the Eclipse 500 Jet, and was formerly a Master CFI, FAA Air Safety Counselor, and a Cirrus Certified Instructor Pilot.
- Airline Transport Pilot – Single Engine Land
- Commercial Pilot – Airplane Multi-Engine Sea, Single Engine Sea, Gliders.
- Flight Instructor: Airplane Single Engine, Airplane Multi-Engine.
- Endorsements: High Performance, Complex, Spin Instruction, Self Launch Gliders.
- Ground Instructor: Advanced and Instrument