Flying High

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By: Mallory St. Claire <mstclaire@hilite.org>

How long have you been flying?
I have been flying for a long time, but I really got into it about three years ago.

What got you started?
I loved flying to vacations and thought it was always a thrill. That always made me happy. One day my mom and my sister went on a cruise, and my dad asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “let’s go flying”. It was kind of like a discovery flight. I was 14 years old. For my 16th birthday party, we rented three planes that day and just flew around.

When do you get your pilot’s license?
I am an hour or two away of getting it. I will need to do seven more landings at night and do a cross-country and I am done. The average amount of time is 60 hours. I have about 40, so I’ll be doing it really quickly compared to most people.

At what age can you get a pilot’s license?
Seventeen is the youngest. That is the age that is recommended.

Where do you fly?
I take lessons at Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport. Indianapolis Aviation is the company. The airstrip is on 96th and Allisonville.

What kind of planes do you fly?
The plane I am currently flying in is a Diamond 20, and it is one of the newer airplanes. They are really enjoyable to fly.

What is your favorite part about flying?
Once you get out of the air spaces, you pretty much have free reign in the air. The speed limit is around 280 miles per hour. You can see great views. I like to fly over Geist or Morse Reservoirs; those are pretty in the summer. Night flying is also fun because it is great to see all the lights from above.

What is your least favorite part about flying?
You have to know all the rules by heart. You have to make sure the plane is ready to fly. In driving school, you are supposed to check the mirrors and tires but in an airplane you actually have to do it. It is just a hassle to get to the airport early just to get the plane ready. There is also sometimes crummy weather that keeps you on the ground.

Where have you flown?
I fly over the South Bend area. I fly to Purdue all the time. One of my favorite flights was a night flight over Richmond and then over to the international airport.

What is a cross-country flight?
A cross-country flight is just to fly 50 miles from your take-off point. For example, from here to Lafayette. To get your license, you have to do two: one with one leg and then one with two legs.

Do you have any tips for students interested in flying?
It’s a rather expensive hobby, and obviously if you are going to get into it, you want to make sure you have a lot of money put aside. The average price to get a pilot’s license is about $6000 to $7000. It is pretty expensive. Another big thing I’d say is get it done as quickly as possible because I have spread it out over two years, and I have been through three flight instructors. Each flight instructor teaches differently, so you’ll learn something with one and then another one will ask you to do something different.

Do you plan to fly in the future?
When I am older, I’d love to fly for FedEx and UPS. With FedEx and UPS, you see places around the world. I hope I can fly internationally, not just within the U.S. With commercial pilots, they will stick with a route.

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