Lara Gaerte

by Lara Gaerte on July 6, 2012

Lara Gaerte

Lara Gaerte

SAFE #: S0000165


Hometown: Auburn IN, United States

Home Airport: KGWB

Occupation: CFI, FBO Manager, Corporate Pilot

Education: Indiana University; Bachelor of Science- Geology

Pilot Certificates: ATP, Instrument; CFI, CFII, MEI; Adv & Inst Grnd Instr; Gold Seal CFI; Master CFI

Airplanes Flying/Flown: J3, CE152, CE172, CE182, R182, PA28, CE414A, CE560

Educational Specialty: Pvt ASEL, Inst Ratings, BFRs, TAA & Insurance checkouts

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: My grandmother took flying lessons with her older sister in the 40's. She soloed a J3 Cub, but then got married and stopped flying before completing her license. I grew up with her story. She was my first passenger after I passed my private pilot checkride.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: Since my initial CFI certification in 1995.

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Aviation educators make dreams come true! For many students, they need the most courage to just walk through the door at the airport the first time. Taking that journey with them from introductory flight through solo to pilot certificate is a fantastic experience.

What's your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Additional TSA endorsements for a US citizen who already has one in their logbook; like a Private Pilot who wants a Commercial. Where someone was born and who their parents are isn't likely to change, but I still have to verify what someone before me has already verified.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: On a repositioning flight during it's summer tour, I got to fly left seat and log PIC time in a B-17 for about half an hour. Completely awesome experience; it's the only multiengine tailwheel time in my logbook!

Why did you join SAFE?: Because I believed that it would be the premier organization for professional Flight Instructors.

What would you like to see change in aviation?: I would like to see the pay structure change so that CFIs can make a decent living without needing sources of supplemental income. The "financial reward" in this industry is to fly something big. It's discouraging to see really gifted instructors stop teaching for financial reasons.

I would also like the "free copilot" to disappear too- "I'll fly for free just to gain experience or log the time." Bulldozer drivers don't get paid with bulldozer time; pilots should be paid.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished?: Change is already happening. Instructors are starting to bill for ground time (this never happened when I was starting out). Some flight schools are starting to set rates based upon CFI credentials (Gold Seal, MCFI) rather than the same rate for all.

Who are your role models in aviation?: My grandma- because she flew when girls didn't fly and never told me I shouldn't. Bill Kershner- He called me out of the blue when I was working on my CFII asking about instrument lesson plans and his book. It was the start of several conversations about what a CFI should teach and methods. He seemed always open to discussion about different ways to teach something.

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