CFI Close-Ups: Flight Instructor Q&A with Brad Walter

We asked our flight instructor Brad Walter, CFI, about his experience and why he loves flying. Read more below!

Q: How did you get into flying?
A: I got into flying and figured out that I wanted to be a pilot about five years ago. I have been around aviation for the past 20 years with the Navy. I was a Flight Engineer on the P-3 Orion which gave me a great opportunity to see firsthand what it was like to pilot a large aircraft. Conversations with my pilots led me to the new career path that I am on now to become a professional pilot.

Q: What do you think is important when choosing a flight school?
A: When choosing a flight school, how well the aircraft are maintained and how organized the company is are two qualities that I looked for. These two aspects can give you a great view of what your experience training there will be like.

Q: What do you like most about being an instructor?
A: The best part of being an instructor is seeing the lightbulb go off in a student’s head. When they have been working on a difficult maneuver for several flights and a piece of advice you give them finally makes it click. That is a great feeling.

Q: What is your most memorable flying experience?
A: The most memorable flying that I have done was when I was working on my private pilot license. I completed that training in Hawaii. On our cross-country flights we would fly between the islands and occasionally see whales on the surface below us.

Q: What advice would you give students?
A: My advice for students is to stay dedicated and don’t forget to enjoy flying! Constantly training can be a grind. Do a flight for fun occasionally to break it up.

Q: What advice would you give individuals interested in instructing?
A:  For those interested in instructing, make sure you have the right mindset on why you are doing it.  Most people are instructing to build hours, don’t let that be your focus.  Focus on giving your students the best training possible so you can set them up for success in the future, you may be flying with them one day.  

Q: What’s next for you?
A: My plan is to apply for a pilot position with Customs and Border Patrol when I reach the required flight time. It would be awesome if I could go from being a flight engineer on the P-3 with the Navy to being a pilot on the P-3 with Customs!

Q: If you could fly anywhere, where would it be?
A: If I could fly anywhere, I would pick Alaska. The mountain flying up there sounds both challenging and beautiful.

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