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Higgins, Jim

Instructor Name: Higgins, Jim

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General Information
 Base Airport   All
 Teaches At   PAO, SQL
 Accepts New Students   Yes
 Payment Types Accepted   Visa/MC/Amex/PayPal
  (530) 307-9776
 Hourly Rate   $125
 Ratings Held   See Below
 AC Instructs In   See Below

 About the Instructor
Ratings held:
ATP - MEL, Commercial - SEL, CFI, MEI, AGI, IGI

AC Instructs in:
C162, C172, C172SP, C172SPG1000, C172RG, C182, C182G1000, PA28-181, PA28R-201T

Why are you a Certified Flight Instructor?

Quite simply it makes me happy. Everyday I get to relive the excitement, joy, and satisfaction that I loved about learning to fly 25 years ago. Also, it is amazing to see my students progress and learn - I take great pride in their accomplishments. I know that all sounds trite, but it's really true! Of all the crazy different jobs I've had, none have made me happier.

How long have you been instructing?
started instructing as an ATP training other company pilots in air carrier operations in 2002. Then after I left the airlines, I became a general aviation CFI to extend my teaching to primary flight training.

Do you tend to favor PAO or SQL, and how might it affect a student's ability to schedule time?
prefer SQL, but I am happy to fly out of PAO as well - especially since airplane availability is typically better at PAO. However I like SQL because it's less busy, has shorter taxi times, and is more conducive to efficient training.

How would you describe your availability in general?
As a full-time instructor, I work all weekdays, and most weekends if coordinated in advance.

What method of ground school do you prefer and how does it relate to your syllabus?
Since we all learn in different ways I like to customize a program for each student. In general, I believe the vast majority of the ground knowledge required can be learned through guided self-study. I like to use technology as a teaching took and have a series of tablet/phone apps that I've found both effective and efficient.

For actual flight training, I record GoPro in-cockpit audio/video files that allow students to continue to digest and review the flight lesson at their own pace. Up in the air, so much happens so quickly that it can be difficult to capture it all - let alone understand it and learn from it. I've found most lessons, (e.g. steep turns) a careful review of the "videotape" can save significant time and money going forward.

What is your favorite aircraft to instruct in?
Cessna 172SP - either G1000 or round gauges.

What are your aircraft recommendations for a new student?
172 with round gauges. In the beginning, the glass cockpit can distract you from the primary goal of aircraft control. Once you've learned to control the aircraft and make it do what you want, then switching over to the G1000 is fine and even encouraged.

What percentage of your students pass their checkride on the first try?
In general very high, and for the past 2 years: 100 % including demanding professionals, high school students, and several students who come to me after checkride failures elsewhere.

Additional Comments:
WVFC is a great place to learn the art of flying, in large part due to the fantastic group of instructors we have. We are all a bit more "seasoned" than the stereotypical CFI looking to build hours and move on to greener pastures. In my case, I've already checked out the other pastures - and frankly, I didn't find them very green. After paying my corporate dues as a Chicago MBA, BCG consultant, and KPCB startup slave I finally made good on my childhood dream to become an airline pilot. And of course backwards from most folks, I became a CFI after flying my fill of charter and airliners. I did that because flight instructing is what I love to do (see above answer to why I'm a CFI).

For students just starting out, I recommend you meet with several CFI's and get to know them a little over lunch or something outside the cockpit. Choose someone you respect and would enjoy spending a fair amount of time with. Flying can be very serious when necessary, but in general it is a tremendous amount of fun. And I feel strongly that learning to fly should be just as much fun! Obviously there's a lot of hard work involved, but life's too short not to enjoy the process and have fun along the way. Also, you might consider speaking with some current and/or former students to learn more about the quality of the experience from the client's perspective.

Regarding costs, I offer block discounts during the week and even subsidize 3 lessons per week as part of a "scholarship" program. But in general, think of flight training as an investment - the return on which is controlled by your CFI. A good instructor can add significant value to your training investment through greater efficiency and superior results. Flying is definitely expesive, but I'll do everything I can to help you manage costs and maximize your returns.

Outside of flying, I'm passionate about outdoor recreation of all kinds, but especially the mountain and water varieties since I moved here from Lake Tahoe (with significant mountain flight experience). I also can talk a good game when it comes to music and HiFi systems. I was a drummer in rock bands for many years and still love all kinds of live music. Currently, I live in Redwood City with my wife and the best dog in the world :)