New Cirrus Owner About to Earn His Private Certificate

AOPA Member Justin Winter says he’s “having a blast” learning to fly.
Justin Winter’s introduction to flying came when a school pal flew him and two buddies to Florida from Ontario, Canada, in a Cessna 172. Justin remembers, “We couldn't have been older than 21 or 22 years old; we hit a snow squall flying across Lake Ontario, and what an experience it was! I now have a full appreciation for the planning that went into the trip, not to mention my friend’s skills as a pilot.”

It wasn’t until years later, though, that Justin began his own flight training. Still a student pilot, Justin says he hopes to earn his private certificate in the coming months. He says, “I had to wait until I had the time and could afford to buy an airplane to take lessons. Now’s the time and I’m having a blast.” Like others, Justin credits his flight instructor, Dimitri Partafyllas, as his motivator to shepherd him through the process. As for his flight training, Justin says, “Dimitri claims his goal is to make me a better pilot than him--I'm not sure I'm young enough to accomplish that goal!”

When shopping for an airplane, Justin considered a Cessna 182, Columbia 300 and a Cirrus SR-20. The Cirrus won out, according to Justin, because of its “combination of cross-country speed, comfort, styling, price and the parachute.” He found a one-owner Cirrus in Florida with 433 engine hours--“a peach,” says Justin. Today he could not be more pleased with his decision.

He recently completed Cirrus transition training near his home base in Salem, South Carolina. Justin says, “What an interesting course and a must do for anyone who purchases a Cirrus.”

To finance the airplane, Justin turned to AOPA Aviation Finance. He explains, “I'm impressed by the work AOPA does for general aviation and the resources they provide for their members. They are our voice, and play an important role in furthering the interests of GA pilots.” So, as a student pilot, relying on AOPA when buying an airplane was a “no brainer” for Justin. He says, “Their customer service is excellent so I made the right choice using AOPA.”

In sum, Justin says, “Working toward my PPL goal has given me a new lease on life, something to look forward to every day, be it home study or flying. It's also fulfilling to see that an old dog can learn new tricks!”

Whether you are financing an aircraft purchase or refinancing, your colleagues at AOPA Aviation Finance are ready to help you out. They’ll walk you through each step of the process. If you need a dependable source of financing or refinancing with people who are on your side, just call 1-800-62-PLANE (75263) or visit the website at

Topics: AOPA Aviation Finance Co

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