Bay Area Flying Lessons


My Story - Learning To Fly

In the Beginning...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Flying like Superman                                 
    In the beginning, I wanted to fly like Superman.
      Many years later, I finally realized I could fly, 
      but in an airplane.

Then came the airplane...

 Flight Instructing  Flying the Citation V
 Flying the ATR

Instructing in the '90s
John Wayne Airport

Citation V - First Corporate Job

 American Eagle
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Florida, Bahamas, Cuba
64 Seat ATR

Flight Instructing in the San Francisco Bay Area

Flight Instructing in a Cessna
 Checking fuel before a Flying Lesson
Flight Instructing in the Bay Area
Lessons in a Cessna
Checking fuel before a Flying Lesson

Qualifications, certificates, and ratings

Certified Flight Instructor - Airplane Single Engine Land-Instrument
Airline Transport Pilot-Airplane Multi Engine Land
Airplane Single Engine Land/Sea-Commercial Privileges
CE-500 Citation V Type Rating

I instruct in the following aircraft types:  C152, C162, C172, C172SP, C172RG, C182, C206, G1000

I am a full-time flight instructor.  We can schedule your flying lessons on weekends or weekdays as my schedule is very flexible.

What will you get if you choose me for flight instruction?  The Top 5
  • I love to teach and am here to help you pursue and achieve your goals and dreams of flying
  • I teach according to the individual student based on each persons background, temperament, and unique ways of            learning and absorbing material (I don't use a cookie cutter method)
  • I am committed to safety in every flight, as well as having fun and enjoying the thrill of it all
  • I am a career Full Time Flight Instructor and am flexible to meet your schedule
  • I have experience with the airlines, in the corporate flying sector, as well as thousands of hours of instructing


Inducted into the International Forest of Friendship 2014
CFI of the Year - West Valley Flying Club 2012
Professional Pilot of the Year - The Ninety-Nines Inc. - Southwest Section 2012
Professional Pilot of the Year - The Ninety-Nines Inc. - The Santa Clara Valley Chapter 2008
Professional Pilot of the Year - The Ninety-Nines Inc. - The Orange County Chapter 2001
Pilot of the Year - The Ninety-Nines Inc. - The Orange County Chapter 1998
Most Outstanding New Member - The Ninety-Nines Inc. - Orange County Chapter 1997


I graduated with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and immediately set out to pursue my passion for plants by starting an Interior Plantscaping company, Garden Habitats Inc.  I received my Landscape Contracting License in 1982.
After owning and operating a successful, “award winning” Interior Plantscaping company for more than 20 years, providing the interior plants for some of the largest and most prestigious companies in Southern California, and working with some of the most creative and talented people in the business, I was looking for a new and exciting challenge.
I had always wanted to fly, but that image had been of “flying like superman”.  Then one day while searching for this new challenge, I realized that maybe I could fulfill that dream, but in an airplane.  So I was off to the airport, found the perfect instructor, and 5 months later in 1996, got my private pilots certificate.  I joined the 99s – The International Organization of Women Pilots, and a whole new world opened up.  I was flying everywhere, meeting new people, flying in air races, and having a blast.
Next came my instrument rating.  Then in 1997 I decided it was time to sell my company and move on to new adventures.  I was bitten by the “flying bug” and I proceeded to get several more ratings, including my instructor rating, taught flying for a year, got a Citation Jet Type Rating, then got hired by the airlines and moved to sunny Puerto Rico to fly to 25 destinations in the Caribbean.  I was truly living my dream.
Then 911 happened and everything changed.  I stayed at the airlines another two years, flew throughout Florida, the Bahamas, and Cuba, and then resigned.
Realizing the industry changed after 911 and wasn't what I had hoped for, I left, only to discover that what I truly loved about aviation was flying small aircraft and the enthusiastic pilots and future pilots that can be found at local airports.
Sue Ballew
Certified Flight Instructor    

To contact me, go to "Contact"

 First Seaplane Ride  The Seaplane Ride
 Getting Ready for the first Seaplane flight Here we go... 
 The Seaplane Adventure
CFI of the Year 2012-West Valley Flying Club

Professional Woman Pilot of the Year 2012- Southwest Section Ninety-Nines, Inc. 
CFI of the Year 2012  
         West Valley Flying Club
Professional Woman Pilot
of the Year 2012
Southwest Section Ninety-Nines, Inc. 
 I was one of 69 instructors out of 956 nationwide to earn a spot on the  AOPA Flight Training
Excellence Awards Flight Instructor Honor Roll for 2013

The International Forest of Friendship

The International Forest of Friendship is a living, growing memorial to the world history of aviation and aerospace. The Forest was a gift to America on her 200th birthday in 1976 from the City of Atchison, Kansas (the birthplace of Amelia Earhart); The Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots), and the University of Kansas Forestry Extension.

The Forest of Friendship is a pretty amazing place in Atchison, KS. I truly felt honored to be among the women and men that have been inducted into the Forest. 

This June (2014) was my second visit, the first time was the year the 99s Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City was dedicated in 1999.  That year I flew a Cessna172 to Oklahoma City and then on to Atchison...what an adventure. 

The accomplishments of the women being honored at the Forest of Friendship were nothing less than awe inspiring; from astronauts to a 35 year career veteran of United Airlines who retired as seniority position one – WOW. There were lots of 99s and several there from our Southwest Section, many in support of others being inducted.

Sue at the Forest of Friendship
California Flag and Redwoods
Amelia Earhart - Bronze 
Sue - Forest of Friendship 2014
California Flag and Redwoods
Amelia Earhart-Bronze
Sue-Inducted into the Forest of Friendship
The rolling grounds at the Forest of Friendship
Sue-Inducted into the Forest of Friendship 2014
Grounds of the Forest of Friendship  
Amelia Earhart Brithplace Museum-Atchison, KS
 View from the Museum
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum - Atchison, KS
 View from the Museum

My Special Friends 
 Alex - Fly Dog

Dexter - Puppy Boy

Alex-Fly Dog (running free now)  Dexter - The Young Man  Skyler - the happy new girl 
Website Builder