“A lot of these guys as I say have been flying forever. And they’ve seen an awful
lot and they’re willing to share it. They each have a slightly different approach,
but they’re all extremely knowledgeable. They know the airplanes inside and out
and they can make them do just about anything.”

— Frank W.


“So, last week I was scrolling through the site and stumbled across a post by Kent Ewing about the thing called BPT happening in Tucson and since I’ve only been flying my C55 Baron since August, the subject piqued my interest.

I said it ‘piqued’ my interest, because the fact is that I tend to be very skeptical of flight training programs and flight training providers. I consider myself somewhat acceptably qualified to make that statement, since I happen to own and operate a medium sized flight training school in Southern California with 6 planes ranging from G1000 Cessnas to piper Arrow and Seneca, etc. with two full time office staff and 5 flight instructors (six if you count me). We average about 350-400 flight training hours per month.

I have flown more than 4200 hours in over 68 makes and model of aircraft including nearly 1000 hours in the Pilatus Pc-12, a King Air 200 and even a Citation V.

That being said, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve flown professionally (for pay), and in all honesty, I’ve had some anxiety about having taught myself how to fly this Baron and have oft wondered about finding a more experienced fella to show me the ropes about the systems and best practices and procedures. Naturally, I’ve been looking at the BPPP closely.

So, when I started to investigate this “new kid on the block” (or so I thought) called BPT I immediately recognized two things:

  • BPT has been long recognized as a top tier provider for Beechcraft info and no one I spoke to ever had a negative thing to say
  • There is an undeniable distinction between the type of learning retention available in a live, person to person education environment, and a book or on-line presentation, even if the material is the same. To me, there is a certain inherent value to being able to ask a question to a real person and get a deeper explanation about something that didn’t stick the first time through.

Add to that, the prospect of flying my plane with someone who has more time in the “abeam the VOR” position of a holding pattern (specifically in a Beechcraft) than is contained in my entire Pilot Logbook and it was a no-brainer, with cost not even being a significant part of the equation.

So, the question becomes: was it worth it for a professional pilot with several thousand hours and the entire alphabet soup of ratings available for fixed wing aircraft including all the ones that have the letters “CFI” next to them?

In a word: YES!

I had specific goals: learn my aircraft’s particular systems in depth and get to see its real performance capabilities in the real sky, or on a real approach, as opposed to in the simulator or a YouTube video.

I can’t say that anything during the course of the weekend was “revolutionary” for me, as lots of it was a great review of topics not often covered in the day-to-day flying we do, but a few times I wished the one-hour session were a two-hour session instead.

However, there were other things I found that really provoked me to think differently about how I operate not just my Baron, but all planes I may fly. Things that were so interesting I found myself saying several times aloud during the weekend ‘that was worth the price of admission!’

What I didn’t expect or consider before showing up was the enormous amount of networking that would take place between us ‘clients’ and the instructors and with the other clients. I’m telling you straight. I met some of the coolest people on the planet this weekend and made what I hope will be some lasting friendships.

I also learned that some guys have airplanes so beautiful I felt it would only be right to set mine on fire, and yet everyone was so complimentary and excited to see a true hot-rod ‘C’ model come along…even the instructors commented on several occasions about the spectacular performance of one of these things.

I can honestly say, this was by far, the best money I have spent on my Baron yet, and just for the networking alone, I may even attend more than one event per year.

I want to thank the amazing staff who worked tirelessly to organize a staggering amount of logistics and the instructors who patiently shared a tiny fraction of their experience so the rest of us can have at least a glimmer of hope at one day becoming true ‘professionals.’

Flying as a true professional and simply ‘getting paid to fly’ are NOT the same thing and if you are serious about improving your skills, regardless of your current level, take my word for it and cut your losses elsewhere and sign up for the next BPT seminar RIGHT NOW!!!! You won’t regret it.

Ok, I’m off my soapbox now, thanks for reading.

— Ben S.