Developing a Relationship

By Anna Serbinenko, In Flight USA, January 2015

Lessons learnt from the ICAS 2014 conference.  

3.30am on Monday. We boarded our school’s Seneca V and have completed the run-up check already. Ahead is almost 900nm of IFR, and we should be in Vegas by noon. The schedule is tight, there’s not a minute to lose. My Multi-IFR student Tony is briefing the departure plate. Pierre, another student, is getting cozy with Delphine in the back.  Weather justifies the IFR departure with 800’ ceilings. Almost two days of flight planning prior to that, already for half an hour on the ground warming up engines, doing the run-up, entering the flight plan – everything to make sure there would be no surprises when “the game is on” at take-off. We are now on our way to the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) conference in Las Vegas, NV – the place and time that will define the 2015 Air Shows season.

ICAS conferences are filled with training sessions, special events, exhibit hall time for business deals and lots and lots of networking. Many inspiring events will touch your heart and bring out the better you, fired up to make the next airshow season the best one ever. 

It was the second day of the conference, first day of the exhibit hall time. Tim LoDolce and Margaret Skillicorn from the Truckee Tahoe Airshow (California) stopped by my booth, and right after “Hi, how are you”, Tim said “We want to hire you. Do you have a contract to sign?”. Music to each performer’s ears! And how come that a relatively new performer like me would so “easily” get hired by a reputable – and very-hard-to-fly – show, as Truckee, CA?

Well, the answer is that it was anything but easy. I started talking to Tim about that show a while ago, when my inexperience was compensated only by enthusiasm and motivation. We had a friendly, and very educational for me, chat at that ICAS, explaining to me that when I take off at 8000-10000 density altitude (DA), my Decathlon would probably feel more like a glider. And how airshows are concerned about safety of the events, and that I need more experience with high DA airshows, and, and, and… I could have been discouraged. Or I could have learned from it, and take it as a guidance for my next steps. I chose the latter and here I am: scheduled to fly Truckee Tahoe Airshow on July 11, 2015!

I am a business person, and the combination of flying and business experience brought me where I am. I am happy to share today these common sense “secrets”:

  1. Be humble and always learn. If you are a beginner and just starting, do not pretend you are anything else. If you have more experience, well, still learn. I am still learning from my pre-solo students, improving how I could have explained better, and – if nothing else – how not to fly a plane! My dear mentor Bud Granley told me multiple times to “be a good cadet”. Tim in our conversation back then gave me pointers on flying high DA shows, and I am so happy I listened. 
  2. Apply what is learned. All wisdom is useless if not applied. Want an example – take any flight instructor who teaches students to check fuel before each flight, and then just hops in the plane as a “walk-in captain”. Guess what – statistically the most frequent pilots running out of fuel are the flight instructors. Not that I’ve always done it perfect, but in the last year I’ve had fair share of loops and rolls at a few thousand feet, as well as flew a few high DA shows last summer.
  3. Keep the connection. It is easier to maintain an existing connection than to create a new one. Even if you do not get an immediate result, call or email the person with a progress report, question, update. You never know when a “Yes” would come.
  4. Filter the BS. No, you don’t have to accept and agree with everything you are told. Just because someone says you can barrel roll a Buffalo, it does not mean you should try it tomorrow.
  5. “No” does not mean “Never”. Most likely, it’s “Not now”. Have a “Never Give Up” attitude.
  6. Give it all of yourself. Once the goal is set, you walk, sleep, eat, smile and cry without taking your eyes off the goal.
  7. Go back and succeed. The “Yes” will come. And it will give inspiration for a new challenge.

Later that day, Tim came by again and asked if I would join their group for dinner. We ate in a nice Italian restaurant in Rio Hotel. Tim and Dave shared exciting stories of their military flying careers, and Margaret reminded me to send her high resolution pictures for the promotion. It was a very warm welcome into the Truckee airshow family, and I cannot wait to go there in July!

Check us out online! (by Canadian Flight Centre ) and


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Multi-IFR Testimonials

Alexander Luckham

I came down from the Northwest Territories with a mission in mind to get my Multi IFR rating. I walked in the front door of Canadian Flight Center to a warm welcome and a tour of the facility's including the DCX MAX flight simulator and their large fleet of aircraft. I expressed to them that I had a short window to do the training in, they were ready to start the next day. I went and wrote my INRAT exam after a couple days of study and then began the multi training. After 3 days of training I took my multi flight test with the in house examiner and passed. I immediately began the IFR portion of it. Alot of sim time with a good mix of aircraft time. We took a long cross country trip to Kamloops and back, that was a nice break from the cluster of Vancouver airspace. The weather cooperated for the most part with only 2 days non flyable. After at total of 15 days from my first multi engine flight to my multi IFR flight test I was done. This was all at my pace and my instructor was very supportive and went the extra mile to insure I was not only learning but understanding the material. I would highly recommend anyone looking for any level of flight training to go try Canadian Flight Center. Thanks to Anna, Peter and Ken for a great experience.

Norm Sherry

I went to Canadian Flight Center for my Multi Engine and Multi IFR training, and it was one of the most positive experiences in my entire life. The training, knowledge, and passion for flying is ever present with the instructors/staff, and it shows. Anytime I had questions, they were always there for me day and night. The flight instruction I received during my time with Canadian Flight Center was excellent, and they made me feel like one of the family. The aircraft are a joy to fly (the cross country trips were amazing, fun, and the knowledge I received is second to none!) I really enjoyed my time with Anna, and Peter (the owner), they are the best, and definitely made me a better pilot. If you want to train at a highly professional and incredible flight school, then it's a simple choice...Canadian Flight Center. Thanks CFC!!!

Raymond Rozenkranz

Hello, Peter, 

Wanted to thank you for your relaxed and friendly approach to the IFR renewal yesterday. You're taking a constructive rather than a judgmental approach (you called it "adding value", instead of just hammering the candidate for his flaws), and at least for personalities such as mine this is much more likely to lead to improvements than a stern judgment of faults. 

For instance, your friendly advice and guidance has already convinced me that I'll go through the Gramin 530 initial check list each time (at least on IMC days), rather than just press OK-OK. 

I hope that many of your school's students will appreciate your friendly and sensible approach focused on preacticalities rather than on rules, and that your business will thrive. 



Andrew Fong

5 star

I went to CFC for my Mult IFR training. The seneca was an amazing plane and all the instructors were awesome. Everyone was friendly and they made sure I had an amazing time there. They got my training done fast where I finished my multi IFR in 2 weeks!

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