At 63 and newly retired I had always dreamed of flying. Without the time commitment and stress of a regular job I was free to explore. After looking at equipment and facilities and talking to several flight schools in the Tampa Bay area I found www.sportpilotaviation.com on the internet. It had training facilities both in Michigan and Florida. I made an appointment with owner/CFI Russ Miley and drove to Punta Gorda to meet him. He took the time to thoroughly explain the sport pilot training program. Afterwards we went up for an introductory flight in his AeroPro EuroFox. He introduced me to the controls and I was hooked both on flying and his ability to teach.
Russ relates with an easy going personality and draws upon his multi-dimensional background. He is an electrical engineer, a baby-boomer, has owned and operated a consumer electronics company with over sixty employees and comes from parents who educated in math and science. He has thousands of flying hours and is endorsed in multiple aircraft including numerous ultra-lights, tri-gears, tail-draggers and float planes. Russ is also a skilled mechanic and keeps his EuroFox in mint condition.
I feel that I benefited from Russ’s vast experience, competence and confidence and from his natural ability to demonstrate and communicate that experience. Russ will polish any of your skills that are not strong. He provided a well-planned, cost-efficient, 25 lesson plan tailored to my beginner’s background. He made the extra effort to coordinate my ground instruction and flying sessions to the 200 mile round trips that I had to make from Tampa for each lesson. He took my training personally and was as proud as I was when I solo’d. Russ was patient and generated confidence and competence when I worried with Class D radio skills. The FAA examiners know that when Russ presents a candidate for the practical exam that that student is well prepared.
I recommend SportPilotAviation to anybody who wants to learn to become a competent and safe sport pilot and wants to have fun doing it. With Russ Miley you will also gain a friend and mentor for life.
Jack Kidd
Date of Posting: 17 April 2013
Posted By: Jack Kidd
took your sport pilot training!, Largo, FL
Russ is one of the best Sport Pilot instructors I have had the privilege to work with. I started work on my Sport Pilot Certificate in the Chicago area with multiple instructors and finished with Russ. He has the ability to take his years of experience and put them into the skill training that allows you to quickly and very effectively attain the proficiency needed to attain your certificate. If you are serious about getting your Sport Pilot Certificate I can not think of a better person to work towards that goal with than Russ Miley.
Date of Posting: 04 April 2013
Posted By: Pete
Learning to fly had been a personal goal of mine for over 50 years. I had begun training several times throughout that time, but never felt secure with the trainers at those other flying fields. I can state with absolute certainty that the level of training I received from Russ was the best I had ever experienced.

Russ's technical know-how and teaching skills have no equal in the industry. I benefited from his passion to make great pilots out of all of his students. I can say my exams were a snap because I was properly prepared by Russ.

Thank you, Russ!
Date of Posting: 24 February 2013
Posted By: Bob DiCello
62 years old. Recently retired., North Port, Florida
'Learn to Fly in Florida and have a great holiday at the same time', I live in Ireland and this was one of the best decisions I made. Another one was choosing 'Sport Pilot Aviation' in Punta Gorda mainly because of the 'One to One training' from Russ Miley, his commitment to helping student pilots reach their goal and the testimonials on his site. I felt that Russ was the right guy to help me reach my goal which was at 57 to learn to fly and get a Light Sports Pilots licence, all in one 4 week trip.

With hindsight, that was a very ambitious goal. To be honest, Russ made my goal possible with his commitment and excellent training. There was a lot of work to cover and Russ goal was to get me through it. We achieved our goals. I now have a light Sports Pilot licence and it puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. It was a great adventure and I meet a great guy and Friend in Russ. I now have a new hobby that is getting me out of the house a bit more and will bring great adventure in the future.

One of my greatest memories (Apart from my Solo) was when Russ and I would return to Punta Gorda airport after a training exercise as the sun was setting and the day light was fading, On approach, I would click on the transmit button 7 times and the whole runway would light up in front of me, that was magic to do and see.
I will never forget Russ, flying twice a day nearly every day and I hope to fly with him again. Not alone was Russ a great instructor, we spent many hours talking about flying and I have to say I learnt more about safety listening to Russ stories, adventures and his knowledge and insight of flying. I would recommend Russ to anybody who wants to learn to Fly.
Date of Posting: 13 April 2012
Posted By: Martin Conroy
I had learned to fly and got my private ticket in 1992. I had flown about 100 hours in General Aviation (GA) planes and helicopters before I decided that I just could not afford to fly anymore. Years later I got bit by the bug again and decided to buy a Light Sport Airplane (LSA).

Once I had bought it, I decided to elicit some help from a person who knew the differences between LSA and GA instead of just jumping in it and trying to fly (a sometimes costly mistake GA types make). I could not have lucked out any better than running into Russ. He flew over to the airport that I had my plane hangared and did a VERY comprehensive inspection of my plane before we flew it. This inspection and the information he gave me about what to look for and what upgrades and options I should look into was easily worth the fees he charged. His inspection gave me added confidence in the plane.

The flight training he gave me was some of the best I have received, and his methods and processes were some of the best I have seen used. It should be noted that I have been a instructor for the corporate world, the military, and in skydiving for 18+ years and I think I have a fairly good grasp on instructional methods and techniques.... He is one of the best instructors I have run across.

To give an example of the kind of service you can expect from Russ, I was having a problem with my planes charging system. Russ and another pilot flew over and helped me trouble shoot and correct my issue. And since then I have called and emailed him many times with questions and the replies came quickly and with information that has solved my problems.

When my wife gets ready to start working on her Sport Pilots License.... Russ will be the one teaching her. I can't think of any higher recommendation than that.
Date of Posting: 27 December 2011
Posted By: Ron Hill
Private Pilot that had not flown in years due to cost and bought an LSA and needed transition., Fort Lauderdale, FL

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