San Carlos Tower, Cessna 6-1-0 sierra papa, runway 3-0, ready for take off!

A small white airplane starts rolling to the runway where it is getting lost because of the considerably huge runway. Two people are sitting inside when they airborne abeam your position, sitting on the left side, that is me.

My name is Toby. I am 21 years old and from Switzerland. I arrived in San Francisco on Saturday the 3rd March 2012 with the intention to start, and more important, to finish my private pilot license in America. For my English skills I decided to join in a language school for almost three months. Otherwise, I would not understand all the books and my flight instructor’s explanations.

Before I was able to enjoy my first flight, I had a few problems to deal with. First of all, I needed the permission from the Transportation Security Association. This wasted a lot of time, because I had to fill in different forms, and my fingerprints were collected for a security check. In addition, I had to join in a flight club where I had found my flight instructor. Then I finally entered a Cessna 172SP with my instructor on a sunny Monday afternoon in April. After that first exciting flight in the south of San Francisco over the Bay to Stockton and back, I was confident that I would do my license here whereas San Carlos, the airport, has one of the most challenging crosswinds. I started commuting between my homestay in Japantown, Converse and my flight school in San Carlos. Many times we had to cancel a flight due to a strong wind, but all days I went there I enjoyed the coast or the central valley.

On 8th June I graduated from Converse San Francisco, and took the CAE-exam the day after. On the following Monday I regretted that I had already finished my language school. We had so much fun and Wendy our teacher taught us in a quite easy way that we did not realize that we were still at school. I really enjoyed it and I improved my English skills more than 100% ! Even though I was not taught in specific aviation English, my instructor is no longer concerned about the language and is looking forward to my successful completion of the license. In the meantime, I flew with my former classmate over the city, Alcatraz, Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge. The view was gorgeous and fascinating when I could see the school and all the other places I knew from above.

Now I am staying in Hillsdale. It is closer to the airport. As a result, I have more time to study and I can focus on the subject, and of course I hope that I can fix it in these two months I have left before I go back to Switzerland.