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CFI Close-Ups: Flight Instructor Q&A with Clayton Walker

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

Q: How did you get into flying?
A: My father had a Piper Comanche when I was growing up so I always had a child-like fascination with planes. After COVID happened I realized I needed to learn something that wasn’t going to be replaced by a machine one day and I had always had flying in the back of my mind. I went to flight school in Atlanta and my life became totally integrated. It’s my dream job and I couldn’t be happier with the decision. 

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?
A: After my very first solo flight I knew that this was what I was going to do with the rest of my life. The thrill and responsibility of having your life in your hands in the air is the perfect challenge for me. 

Q: What do you think is important when choosing a flight school?
A: When choosing a flight school you need to have a place with instructors that care. It makes all the difference when the training becomes inevitably frustrating.

Q: What do you like most about being an instructor?
A: I enjoy the responsibility of being an instructor, but the satisfaction of seeing a student’s hard work paying off is unmatched. 

Q: What is your most memorable flying experience?
A: Besides a few close calls my most memorable experience would be shooting an actual instrument approach into Milledgeville, GA, an airport right in the middle of a lake. It was beautiful. 

Q: What advice would you give students?
A: My advice for students is this takes dedication. I think it’s important to understand that if this is what you want as a career you need to treat it as a career from day one.

Q: What advice would you give individuals interested in instructing?
A: I would say for an instructor you need to have a passion for flying. When you love what you’re doing it’s contagious and your students will feed off of it. 

Q: What’s next for you?
A: Wherever the wind takes me is what’s next. I’m striving to get my ATP license at the moment but the ultimate goal would be to end up in space. 

Q: If you could fly anywhere, where would it be?
A: My dream destination would be to fly a bush plane around South America and make stops to backpack the ancient ruins. Preferably with a pretty girl.

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