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Ballew, Sue

Instructor Name: Ballew, Sue

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General Information
 Base Airport   PAO
 Teaches At   PAO, SQL
 Accepts New Students   Yes
 Payment Types Accepted   Visa/MC/PayPal
 Hourly Rate   $120-130
 Ratings Held   See Below
 AC Instructs In   See Below

 About the Instructor

AOPA Distinguished Flight Instructor 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
Professional Pilot of the Year - Santa Clara Valley 99s 2017
CFI of the Year 2012 - West Valley Flying Club

Professional Woman Pilot of the Year 2012 - Southwest Section Ninety-Nines, Inc.
Gold Seal Flight Instructor

NAFI Master Flight Instructor

Ratings Held:
CFI, SEL, Instrument, SE Sea, Commercial, ATP, MEL, CE-500 rating, Endorsements - Complex, High-Performance, High-Altitude, Tailwheel

AC Instructs In:
C152, C162, C172, C172SP, C172RG, C182, G1000

Why are you a Certified Flight Instructor?
Instructing is a great way to regularly enjoy the view, and at the same time get to work with some wonderful people to help them reach their dreams and goals in aviation.

How long have you been instructing?
I have been instructing since 1999.

Do you tend to favor PAO or SQL, and how might it affect a student's ability to schedule time?
I am available for instruction at Palo Alto and San Carlos Airports.

How would you describe your availability in general?
I am available Monday through Friday for flying lessons.

What method of ground school do you prefer and how does it relate to your syllabus?
Along with recommending a formal ground school, I highly recommend a DVD home study course. Sporty's specifically. After practicing maneuvers in the airplane, the DVD course offers the ability to go home and review the actual flight maneuvers practiced that day, and to be able to further understand and grasp the skills and theory behind them. I work one on one with the future pilot to thoroughly review and reinforce the concepts studied, and then to apply them to the actual flying of the aircraft. 

What is your favorite aircraft to instruct in?
Cessnas are dear to my heart as I did all of my initial training in them. I like the C172SP model in particular as it offers updated avionics, and is a stable, fun airplane to fly. There are many models in the Cessna line, so there is room for upgrade to a larger and faster airplane when the time is right. 

What are your aircraft recommendations for a new student?
Cessna 172S, and for those that want the latest and greatest technology - the Cessna 172S G1000.

What percentage of your students pass their checkride on the first try?

Additional Comments:
I am committed to safety in every flight, as well as having fun and enjoying the thrill of it all. I am a career Full Time Flight Instructor and am flexible to meet your schedule. I have experience with the airlines, in the corporate flying sector, as well as thousands of hours of instructing. 

 After owning a company for many years, I sold it to pursue something fun and challenging. I started on the fast track to earn my ratings and spent the  
 next four years immersed in training and flying, and then instructing. I was then hired by a regional airline, moved to the sunny Caribbean, flew to 24
 tropical destinations from San Juan, PR, and then throughout Florida, the Bahamas, and Cuba, while based in Miami.

 Realizing the industry had changed and wasn't what I had hoped for, I left, only to discover that what I truly loved about aviation was flying small aircraft
 and the enthusiastic pilots and future pilots that can be found at local airports.

I have flown in many air races and am also active in the 99s, The International Organization of Women Pilots, and participate on many levels in the Santa Clara Valley chapter. I received the Professional Pilot of the Year Award for 2012 from the Southwest Section 99s - 1600 members.

Please see my website at and email me at so we can discuss your dream of becoming a pilot or advancing your aviation skills