Graduate Student Jeremy Axelrod Teaches DeCal Course for Aspiring Pilots

February 22, 2023

Jeremy Axelrod with headphones on, at the controls of an airplane

As a freshman undergrad at Berkeley, Jeremy Axelrod took the DeCal course “Learn to Fly: Private Pilot Ground School” the first semester it was offered, in 2011. The following summer he acquired his pilot’s license and returned as a co-instructor for the class in 2013. He's been an instructor ever since.

The DeCal Ground School course is offered every semester by UC Berkeley students who have earned their private pilot’s licenses. It is designed to take students from zero aviation knowledge to the point where they are able to pass the FAA’s private pilot knowledge test, one of 3 tests required in order to get a pilot’s license. Much of the course is lecture-based, but there are guest lectures from aviation professionals such as airline pilots, airshow performers, flight instructors, and air traffic controllers. There are some hands-on activities such as PC-based flight simulators, and the occasional field trip to a local airport or air traffic control tower. The course also serves as a way for people who are interested in aviation to find out if they want to pursue it further.

Jeremy is a Physics graduate student and an FAA-certificated Advanced Ground Instructor who hopes to become a flight instructor at some point in the future. He flies out of KOAK (Oakland) as frequently as possible. He also has his instrument rating and tailwheel endorsement and enjoys aerobatics. One of the things he likes most about teaching the Ground School class is that it combines a wide range of science and engineering topics from aerodynamics to meteorology to human physiology.