CFI Close-Ups: Flight Instructor Q&A with Brett Gabel

We asked our flight instructor Brett Gabel, CFI, CFII, MEI, about his experience and why he loves flying. Read more below!

Q: How did you get into flying?
A: I got into flying after graduating from college and working for 2 years in a career I wasn’t interested in. It was never really my plan to become a pilot, but it was definitely a thought I had in the back of my mind. I took a few discovery flights to see if this was something that I actually wanted to do and ended up leaving my job to become a full-time flight student.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?
A: My first memories of wanting to be a pilot were when I was about 9 or 10. My neighbor’s dad was a pilot for FedEx and would tell me and my friend about the trips he’s been on and the planes that he would fly, and I thought how cool it must be to do that for a career. 

Q: What do you think is important when choosing a flight school?
A: Choosing a flight school is a big decision. An important factor to consider is the commitment level of flight instructors. At some schools it appears that students can be treated as just a number and it is hard to find an instructor to take the time to go out of their way to assist a student with ground lessons if someone is struggling on a topic. In my first few weeks at Sterling, I get the sense that the instructors here care about the success of their students and are happy to help in any way possible to help them achieve that success.

Q: What do you like most about being an instructor?
A: My favorite part about being an instructor is seeing how my efforts can result in the progression of a student pilot. Whether it is seeing a student solo for the first time or helping them get over a maneuver that they have been struggling with, I always take pride in knowing that I have helped them achieve a goal they once set.

Q: What is your most memorable flying experience?
A: My most memorable flight experience is having the opportunity to fly in Southern California. Being able to fly an approach along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and going right over the Hollywood sign and Rose Bowl was pretty cool for a new pilot.

Q: What advice would you give students?
A: Advice I would give to a new student would be to take training one day at a time and remember the passion that you have for flying. Flight training can seem like a very difficult task, but if you focus on the next flight and try to enjoy the time that you are in the plane it will be a much more enjoyable experience.

Q: What advice would you give individuals interested in instructing?
A: For someone interested in flight instructing, I would let them know that you will learn more about flying being the instructor than you do as a student. When you are responsible for helping someone learn, you will be asked questions or get into situations that you never experienced during your own flight training.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: My next steps are to enjoy my time instructing at Sterling while working towards my goal of being an airline pilot. I’m excited to be helping with instructing in the multi engine plane here at KCRG, while also helping with single engine students.

Q: If you could fly anywhere, where would it be?
A: If I could fly anywhere right now it would probably be into Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Being there last summer and seeing the approaches made me definitely want to get experience with mountain flying, especially after doing most of my training in Florida.

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