I'll go chronologically in here. Let's see... My whole experience in San Diego was just GREAT. I have yet to finish my commercial pilot course, but I've been doing some extra stuff that I'll write about next ;)
When I arrived, I started studying all the American regulations and flight operations. I had a good idea of everything, so it wasn't hard to get used to all the flying in there. Not to say the huge difference it makes when you have all the pilot's resources (books, charts, guides...) 6 minutes away from where you live. A friend of a friend gave me his bike, so I continued the European tradition of moving by bike or with public transportation (my friends also had cars, so I didn't totally rely on my bike hehe). It's comfortable and safe to ride your bike in San Diego too! Living just 2 miles away from the flight school in Montgomery Field also helps.
I also met many people and had tons of fun with them. Going downtown, the cinema, flying to Las Vegas, partying, inviting people from Couchsurfing, the beach! It just made the entire experience even more awesome.
As for the flying, I completed the FAA private pilot hour requirements that I didn't have (cross countries, solos, night flights and preparation flights for the practical test), passed the knowledge test and passed the practical test the first time on the 21st of June. That way I didn't have to do the mexican license conversion process and got a private pilot certificate that was non-dependent on my mexican private.
I then started the instrument rating training, but had to pause for a good while because of $. It was September the 30th when I finally started a continuing training. I devoted on getting ground instruction and flying two times a day and completed the course within a month. I had to wait until the 11th of November for my instrument rating practical test, though, since the designated pilot examiner/chief flight instructor flies a Global Express in Van Nuys. Oh and I passed the first time as well ;)
I really enjoyed the instrument rating training; there's just so much to learn and procedures to practice... It also opens you a door to a totally different kind of flying, experiences and challenges.
After that, I started the commercial pilot course right away. I did a lot of cross countries (all of them have been cross-countries, actually), solo flights, etc.
My last flight was on December the 15th, in which I did the Stage IV check. I flew to Guadalajara on December the 22nd to spend christmas, new year and a bit more time after that. I didn't expect to be by May the 8th in here, but you never know what kind of situations and difficulties you might come up with. I hope to return to San Diego soon, so I can continue with the commercial pilot training. Can't wait to be there and fly the Piper Arrow and the Beechcraft Duchess for the multi-engine portion of the training. Stage V is mostly commercial maneuvers flights with the Arrow, solos, more night flying. Stage VI is more solo flying and complex airplane cross-countries. Stage VII is muli-engine flying. Engine-failure practices, multi-engine ops, IFR, emergency procedures... lots of fun stuff!
Here in Guadalajara I've spent time with my family, flown to Saltillo in a Cessna R182, flown to Hermosillo in a Beechcraft Sundowner (which I call it the "VW combie with hershey-bar wings") and done a lot more writing for the mexican pilot handbook. I've been translating the practical test standard publications as well. There are many text books, publications and other training related stuff that can be published here in Mexico. No better way than getting all the info and refering to all the publications from the American flight training system. I've also been working with my brother in my granddad's business. We're building a 'clean room' to manufacture first-aid tools. It'll be cool when we finish setting everything up for production.
I'll write some of the most memorable and fun flights in my next post. There's so much to write about!