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I’m On The Road To Becoming A Pilot: Guest Essay and Video

Video is posted below the article.
Video is posted below the article.
Jason’s “Reason’s to Start Flying” Video is posted below the article.

Jason is a student pilot and avgeek who shares his story of how the excitement and challenges he has faced as he’s starting his aviation journey.

What is a passion? To some it is simply a hobby. However for me it is something greater. Growing up, I had a fascination for every aspect in aviation. I would look to the sky at every aircraft that crossed and played on flight simulators extensively. Becoming a pilot seemed almost unrealistic and unobtainable due to the common misconception that you had to be older to fly. This was a major deterrent to me. I had no outside influences to give me the exposure of a topic I had an interest in.

Everything changed in 2009. It was not until a local Airport Manager recognized the problem of youth in aviation and came up with an ingenious solution. Aviation Director Jonathan Martin started a Future Aviators Summer Camp that exposed kids to the fundamentals of flight through activates at an active general aviation airport. This program opened my eyes to aviation. I was finally able to experience what I have been yearning to do. The camp provided each camper the opportunity to take to the skies in one of the local flight schools aircraft. It was not until having exposure to flight that I realized aviation was my true passion. I was able to take from this camp and learn of a valuable resource that could help me achieve my new career goal of becoming an airline pilot.

As my exposure to aviation exponentially increased, I became educated that I could learn to fly at any age, so I started taking lessons at age 12. Flight training was very expensive to afford on my own; luckily the owner Court Dunn of New Garden Flight Connection, the flight school I attended, offered aspiring pilots the opportunity to earn flight time by washing the schools aircraft. I was able to build a reputation at the airport and became a volunteer for the various events the airport hosted. Volunteering is still a crucial way for me to obtain the social connections, skills, and appreciation for aviation to drive me towards my goal.

Working hard allowed me to gain references from the airport which is invaluable to applying for scholarships. Yet the cost of aviation is still a major barrier to my training. I have paid for every flight out of my pocket. There is definitely an appreciation level to earning the flight time you get. However, paying for every flight inhibited my flying to at most once a month with little progress to be made in that span. By putting in the effort into school, community, and aviation, it made my resume for scholarship applications worthy of consideration. I am grateful to have received scholarships from EAA Chapter 240, Aero Club of Pennsylvania, and AOPA AV8R’s Scholarship funds. These scholarships allowed me to increase the frequency of my flights and the progress that I have made in aviation. I always look for scholarships to further my education and involvement in aviation for higher ratings and college, and I am very grateful for everything that I have received and potentially will receive.

The importance of a hard work ethic, attention to detail, and drive to accomplish goals prove to be worthwhile traits for any success. I had to endure multiple CFI changes throughout my training and after each one, my training basically restarted. By having patience and continually pursuing my passion, I was switched for a final time to a brand new devoted flight instructor named John Tiplady. John knew exactly how to progress my training. I was taught more comprehensibly how to fly the airplane and how to rely on my training to encounter situations that could arise. It was with this instructor that I was signed off to solo, and it will be with this instructor whom I can confidently say will prepare me to get my pilots license in the shortcoming months.

After having such strong influences strive for me to continue with aviation, I decided to give back and do the same. I have completed over 500 hours of volunteer work at New Garden Flying Field. I have become a camp counselor for the same Future Aviators Summer Camp I started aviation with. To top it all, I have started an aviation club at my high school to help students become familiar with careers in aviation and help make a difference with youth in aviation. I have now just started working with my local EAA Chapter to find new ways of bringing in fellow youth into various topics of aviation and look forward to positively impacting a large demographic.

Throughout my training, I became fascinated with filming the flights and replaying them to learn from my mistakes. However, after time and practice with these videos I started to notice the combination of scenery and aviation brought attention to aviation. These combinations proved to be inspiring to others that it is never too late or too early to start flying. That is why I created my own video that brings a ‘wow’ factor to aviation.

My final remarks to others on a similar path are as follows:

always devote hard work and attention to detail for every task you do. The work you put in has an impact whether it be visible or not. Create social connections and volunteer at your local general aviation airport. The people you meet, and the skills you learn, all improve the overall wellness of aviation in your life and others.

Click The Youtube Link Here If The Above Player Is Not Working: Reasons To Fly

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Written by Jason Preston

Jason is a student pilot at New Garden Flying Field. He has an estimated 50 flight hours and nearing his private pilots license. He plans on attending an aeronautical-focused college where he can start a commercial aviation career. His end goal is to be in the air at 35,000 feet as a captain of an airliner and encourage others to explore avenues of aviation.

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