The Zibell-Marienau family is working on obtaining their private pilot’s licenses together at the Steamboat Springs Airport, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The family completed their solo flights in April, which is a milestone toward getting a private pilot’s license, according to Justin Spratta, a certified flight instructor at the Steamboat Springs Airport.

Lois M. Kruse Zibell, her daughter Melissa Marienau and her son-in-law, Logan Marienau all attribute their interest in flying to Bob Zibell, Lois’ husband.

“I wanted to fly ever since I first met him, 20 years ago. We flew to Florida to a place called Spruce Creek, a fly-in, and he suggested that Melissa, Logan and I should learn how to fly,” said Zibell.

Melissa and Logan moved to Steamboat Springs about six months ago and decided to pursue flying lessons. Once Melissa and Logan made the commitment, Zibell decided to join them.


Logan Marienau, student pilot prepares to taxi/Photo by Janne Siegel

“When we came up after Christmas, we all wanted to fly,” said Zibell.

Melissa contacted Spratta in February, and their quest for their pilot’s licenses began.

Melissa admits being nervous about learning to fly. “I was scared. I liked the idea of it. We just moved here and have family in western Kansas. The thought of being able to fly and get there faster was motivating. I had the opportunity, so why not?” said Melissa.

Spratta said he enjoys teaching the family. He notes they have different personalities and learning styles.

“It has been fun to see how each one acts and reacts and the different ways they control the airplane. Definitely an experience to see each person’s progression,” said Spratta.

He said that the family is all learning at different paces, due to availability, weather, or schedules.

“They are all progressing at the same rate, just different times. They have all completed their solo flights, so I am comfortable with them flying airplane here in Steamboat Springs by themselves,” said Spratta.

Spratta said now that the family has completed their solo flights, they have to log flight hours as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”). They must log 40 total hours of flight time, 20 of which must be with an instructor, and ten must be solo. The remaining ten can be a combination of flying with an instructor or solo. The FAA regulations specify the types of flights they must log during the 40 hours said Spratta.

Simultaneously with logging their hours, they are studying for the FAA written test, an FAA oral examination, and will have to complete a practical flight test in order to receive their pilot’s licenses according to Spratta.

Zibell, Melissa, and Logan each note they look forward to completing training and obtaining their pilot’s licenses.

“I enjoy flying,” said Zibell. “It is such a feeling of freedom when you are up in the air and see the ground. I just love it,” said Zibell.


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