We asked our flight instructor Hans Bodewig, CFI, about his experience and why he loves flying. Read more below!
Q: How did you get into flying?
A: My father is a pilot so I grew up flying with him on the weekends in my home country of El Salvador. Some of my earliest memories involve sitting in the right seat of his Beechcraft Bonanza.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?
A: Although I had flown countless times before, it wasn’t until I was in the Navy and sat in the left seat of a P-8 Poseidon over the Sea of Japan that I really knew that’s where I belonged. After that, it was hard for me to stay back in the “tube” doing my job because I would always gravitate towards the cockpit.
Q: What do you think is important when choosing a flight school?
A: There are a couple of things I would look for: competent and skilled instructors, multiple types of available aircraft, and an excellent maintenance program. Lucky for us, Sterling has all three!
Q: What do you like most about being an instructor?
A: I think my favorite part about being an instructor is seeing your students go from a brand-new student to a pilot who can handle themselves safely and confidently in the air, and knowing that you were a big part of the process.
Q: What is your most memorable flying experience?
A: Too many to count! Among the many experiences I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in are flying over the Arctic ocean and seeing the northern lights, flying in a PBY Catalina, of course flying my first solo, and my first spin flight (it’s a lot more fun than you would think if you’ve never tried it).
Q: What advice would you give students?
A: Don’t rush your flight training! It’s easy to always want to get to the next step, rating or career but the best thing is just to enjoy where you are currently at and give it your all.
Q: What advice would you give individuals interested in instructing?
A: Power through CFI training as best you can. In my experience, it is the hardest part of the process but well worth it once you pass your checkride and start getting your own students. There is something really rewarding about seeing your students learn from you and becoming confident pilots.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Being former military, I like the concept of flying for a “mission”. I think if I could choose, I would like to be a pilot for a federal agency like the FBI, CIA, or Border Patrol.
Q: If you could fly anywhere, where would it be?
A: There are many places where I would like to fly, but if I had to choose one it would be the islands in the South Pacific.