New California Sport Pilots
We just returned from a quick trip to Tracy California to help our training affiliate Stephen Brandon, owner of California Powered Parachutes, with conducting Sport Pilot tests for three of his most recent students.
Stephen is a bit of a lone wolf in California being the only FAA certified flight instructor in Powered Parachutes in the Central and Northern California region. He works closely with the Western Sport Pilot Association and helps to coordinate at least one trip a year to his flight training center at the Tracy Airport in Tracy California. He works very hard to keep the sport alive and is an energetic and professional instructor.
On this last trip one of his students, Larry Howe was successful in completing a proficiency test to add Powered Parachute land category to his existing sport pilot certificate. Larry is an active pilot out of Grass Valley California who already held a sport pilot certificate with weight shift category privilege.
Kevin Finney, Newcastle California and Bill Georges, Discovery Bay California were successful in passing their initial Sport Pilot Practical tests. All of Stephen’s students do a top notch job on these practicals which reflects well on his syllabus, lesson plans and teaching style. We couldn’t have hit any better weather either. The sun was out, a little chilly for California, but winds under 5 knots for the entire day at Tracy. After a successful morning of tests the entire “flock” debriefed over a great breakfast at “four corners” near the airport.
The sport has a lot of potential in this region with beautiful places to fly. But it has been somewhat inhibited by the lack of instructors. Stephen is working hard to recruit and train up new pilots to the CFI level. There is some potential too, as the result of this trip, that Bill and Tammy Georges will be taking the lead with opening an EAA chapter focused on light sport flying in the Central California region. This would be another real asset to the sport here.
We thank Stephen for his hard work and Stephen and his wife for hosting me during the quick down and back trip. Their hospitality is always gracious and it really helps make the testing trips worth it.