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Carlsbad instructor hopes more pilots take flight

January 16, 2013 • State News

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — After two area businessmen each earned his pilot’s license on Dec. 21, their instructor, Jim Ballard, of Carlsbad, was button-popping proud of their performances.

“It’s such a huge accomplishment,” he said, “and flight school is expensive and demanding.”

Perhaps that’s why there haven’t been very many new pilots earn their ratings out of Carlsbad. But that may be changing.

One of the new pilots is Tony Alston, who works for Holly Energy and lives in Hagerman.

He has nothing but praise for Ballard and his flight training.

“In my opinion it’s the best instruction in Southern New Mexico.” Alston said.

And it helps that Ballard works out of Cavern City Air Terminal, which has received extensive upgrades and renovation in the past few years, thanks to fixed base operator Chandler Aviation.

“The airport, hands down, is better here than back home in Wyoming, and better than most any of the surrounding airports,” said Richard Whicker, who operates RW Trucking from a yard on East Greene Street.

He said Carlsbad offers more than even the former Air Force base in Roswell.

“Here there are not only long runways, but runways in all different directions,” Whicker said. That means a pilot can always find a runway where he can take off into the wind.

Both men went through more than a year of training – in the air and in the books — before reaching that all-important Login to read more

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