“Did I get much sleep last night? – No. But now that I’ve finally accomplished one of my biggest goals in life, I can put my head down in a few minutes, and sleep soundly knowing that I’ve done something I only dreamed of until this moment. Do you know what the best part of this is? My journey just began.”

One year ago I passed my private pilot checkride, accomplishing something that I’d dreamed of since I was a little kid. The above quote comes from a note that I wrote to myself on that day, reminding me of the uncontainable smile I felt upon getting a handshake from my examiner and walking through the doors of the FBO to see my family.

It’s been a crazy busy year, full of ups and downs, yet it never failed to stay interesting and exciting. I’ve been fortunate to do and see things in aviation over the past year that I never could’ve imagined. Be it flying a DA40 over the deserts of Jordan, a C172 over the jungles of Hawaii and North Dakota, a seaplane over the Mobile River Delta in Alabama, or with my friends from Boldmethod over the Rockies in Colorado, it’s been a CRAZY year.

And it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without awesome friends I’ve gone flying with along the way:

So how’d it all happen? Here’s how I did it and how you can do the same:

My flying and travel has been completely self-funded through hard work growing Boldmethod as a company. I just want to make it clear to you that for the past year, my family has had zero influence on the costs of my flight experiences; I’m fortunate to have their support, but I want you to know that my experience doesn’t stem directly from privilege, it comes from hard work. If you really want to have some fun flight experiences, make sure you get a job and save up for that next adventure.

All it takes is a friendship or connection. Pilots are extremely generous people and want the young generation to succeed. Rod Kellogg is a close friend of mine and a great example of this. He coached and mentored Haley Howard to being a commercial pilot in just over a year. Today, she’s 20 years old with over 1,600 hours of flight time. When I met Rod and Haley, they took me under their wing and taught me the art of tailwheel flying. During a Christmas trip to Alabama, I logged 60 hours of flight time and received  complex, high performance, and tailwheel airplane endorsements – Cost free.

How about something a little tougher? How did I manage to fly with Ayla Aviation over Aqaba, Jordan in the Middle East? An email. That’s it. I emailed them, explaining who I was and I was an FAA licensed private pilot that would be in the area. They returned my email and offered me the chance to go on an introductory flight over Jordan with one of their instructors. It was, once again, cost free. All it took was a little research and an email to have a unique entry in my logbook, a flight over the Middle East.

Thanks for following the journey with me on “Private to Professional Pilot.” Remember, at the top of this page, you can find tabs dedicated to explaining each and every step I’ve taken along my way to becoming a professional pilot, from the very first lesson onwards. Oh yeah, and PLEASE feel free to email me any time. I’m happy to help out or answer any questions that I can; just click here or on the “Contact” tab above.

I wonder what’s ahead in the year to come…. Stay tuned and find out!
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation


About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

5 Responses

  1. Mauricio

    Excellent post Swayne! Congratulations, you certainly achieved more than I did in my 2 years as PPL, though it’s not easy to study engineering at the same time. But consider yourself a privileged person, not many achieve that much amount of experiences in so little time even with contacts and so on.
    Keep it up, and who tells, maybe we end up flying together

    Regards from Argentina!

  2. Mateo

    Hi Martin!
    Im Mateo (18) from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’ve just found your website and I have to tell you, YOU ARE MY NEW INSPIRATION! I am right now still a PPL student with 40 hours and I am waiting for the ANAC (is like the FAA in US) to take me the exam to get my license.

    I also do videos (without goproes) but I will buy few of them. I have a question: how do you record the audio? Thank you very much!

    I linked my newest website to you with my new “show” which I’ll be starting soon. And here is a test video, it’s actually in private mode but just because it’s not finished yet. Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfqDY6RVvQM

    Hope to fly with you some day. Feel free to come to Buenos Aires and visit me! You could actually stay here in my house and I would be honored to fly with you.
    And I also hope you enjoy the video 😉

    Kind regards,

  3. Chris

    Hi Swayne Im 16 I’ve been seeing all of your videos on YouTube for the past couple of days and you have inspired me to start doing training I just want to ask any advice from you like what school to go to and what to start out with so if you can reply back as soon as possible that would’ve be great.

    • Swayne Martin

      Hey Chris! That’s great to hear that you’ve seen some of my YouTube videos…. I’m headed to the University of North Dakota next year for aviation. It’s an awesome school with an amazing aviation program. There are a ton of great aviation programs around the country and I have friends at nearly every one of them, so there’s no real right answer. Shoot me an email if you have more questions!


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