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Featured Alumni: Peter Santovi

Peter Santovi , a husband and a father of three kids. My wife and I have been married for 14 years and enjoy the outdoors and attending loud concerts. Our three kids are 13, 12, and 10 years old and they love adventure. As a family, we enjoy road trips the most. Previously, my only formal training is as an Automotive Service Technician which I’ve done for the last 20 years and currently work at Midas in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Like most people who got into aviation, myself Peter Santovi have always had an interest in flying, though I never really thought I would actually do it. About two years ago I contacted my cousin who is a professional pilot and also a CFI, to ask him for some advice about learning to fly. After that conversation, we went flying together which started my journey. I purchased an online ground school course and completed my written exam, passed my medical, and was well on my way. I spent some time learning to fly with my cousin when he had time. During that time, I was able to fly with my cousin from Minnesota to Alaska in his floatplane! After returning from that trip I knew I was going to need some more formal training to complete my check ride. I was intending to visit Inflight Pilot Training shortly after returning but I was met with an unexpected loss in my family, followed by the holiday season, covid season, and then I made a job change. Finally, after all that I was ready to fly again, which brought me to Inflight.
Myself Peter Santovi first came to Inflight Pilot Training in mid-July of 2020 and met with my new CFI Drew who explained the process very well and was looking forward to discovering where I was at with my training. I immediately had several weeks of flight lessons scheduled with him and suddenly it started to feel so real. I was on the final stretch to get my private pilot license! The first flight with Drew was so comfortable. He was very encouraging and walked me through the procedures that I was rusty with. We were able to plan out my path to success after that first lesson and things moved along quite rapidly with a comfortable two or three lessons per week. I was challenged and stretched during each lesson from maneuvers to radio communications. Eventually, I stopped putting a question mark at the end of every call to the tower. Throughout the training, whenever I messed up or got stuck, my CFI would first make sure we were safe and make corrections as needed, then use those moments to teach me and better my skills without making me feel silly or inadequate. I always felt supported by Drew and empowered to make those critical decisions that will come up while flying solo. The first time I flew solo was a feeling like no other. Most people might be scared or nervous however, I was just excited to finally be doing it. I was confident in my ability because my CFI brought me that confidence, he wouldn’t let me if I wasn’t ready. I can’t say enough about how amazing the learning experience was. A great CFI and clear instruction coupled with a great school, clean and well-maintained planes make a wonderful combination. Everyone I interacted with at Inflight was great. They were positive and encouraging, which created such a strong community that I wanted to be apart of.
While learning to fly, you will create so many memories; from your night cross country flight to your first solo cross country. Or that time you are practicing your short field landings with your CFI and you “bounce so high you have enough time for another lap in the pattern”. You can enjoy the cityscape of a late-night cross country flight from St. Cloud to FCM while laughing with your CFI about how the tower pronounces “papa” on the atis. Flying will naturally create great memories as it’s an experience like no other! After finally completing my check ride I reserved a plane for a Saturday afternoon and took my wife on a short cross country flight which was the first time she had flown with me. Those moments are priceless! All that hard work and sacrifice finally pay off when you can walk into Inflight and preflight without first asking your CFI if you can fly. You’ve earned that! I’m looking forward to continuing my training at Inflight with my next goal of an instrument rating.
No matter what your experience level or abilities, don’t be afraid to take that first step. Myself Peter Santovi was very reluctant to make that first phone call to Inflight because it had been over a year since I last flew but once I did, I never looked back. Don’t be afraid to make errors. There will be many and really, they’re just learning experiences. At the end of each lesson, review your successes and your mistakes and be okay to laugh at yourself a little. You’re there to enjoy the experience so make safe decisions, do your best, and communicate with your CFI what’s working for you and what you’re struggling with. From what I’ve found early on in my learning, everyone in the aviation community is very encouraging and that is especially true at Inflight. So take that first step! Or maybe it’s something you’ve started and never had to chance to finish because of normal life events, you will be glad that you did. Whether it’s been a life long dream or a more recent passion, there has never been a better time to fly than right now.