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Archive for Wednesday, May 13, 2009

12-year-old making plans for getting his pilot’s license

Nathan Patterson, 12, and his dad, Bob Patterson, visit Lawrence Municipal Airport for information on how young Nathan could fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot.

Nathan Patterson, 12, and his dad, Bob Patterson, visit Lawrence Municipal Airport for information on how young Nathan could fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot.

May 13, 2009

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Certifications offered at airport

• Private pilot: Allows holder to fly into almost any airport and fly other people. Requirements: 40 hours of flying, 20 hours of ground school. • Instrument pilot: Allows holder to fly in inclement weather. Requirements: an additional 40 hours of flying experience. • Commercial pilot: Allows holder to fly anything for hire. Requirements: 250 total hours of flying experience. • Airline transport pilot: Allows holder to fly for airlines. Requirements: 1,250 hours total flying experience; must be at least 23 years old. • The Lawrence Municipal Airport also offers training for certified flight instructors and instrument flight instructors.

Nathan Patterson took his first flight when he was 3 years old. He has wanted to be a pilot ever since.

Nine years have passed, and Nathan’s father has finally succumbed.

“He’ll probably fly before he drives a car,” Bob Patterson said.

The Overland Park residents visited the Lawrence Municipal Airport last month to learn how to fulfill Nathan’s dream.

Tom Renfro, chief flight instructor at the airport, equated the process of earning a pilot’s license with that of earning a driver’s license. He said students have to study the rules, take the test and fly with an instructor.

Earning a private pilot’s license, the first basic license, requires a total of 60 hours of training: 20 hours of ground school, 20 hours of flying with an instructor and 20 hours of solo flying.

Students at the Lawrence airport learn on an integrated system, alternating ground school and flying throughout the training.

Renfro said integration helps students become better pilots and finish in less time. He said most students complete their training in a year.

Students also have to pass a 60-question, multiple-choice exam and successfully complete a final test flight with an instructor before earning a license.

Carole Dawson said she earned her private pilot’s license during her first semester at Kansas State University in 2002.

“If you buckle down and get after it, it really doesn’t take long at all,” she said. “It’s just a matter of how much you study and how bad you want it.”

But earning a license isn’t cheap.

Renfro said a pilot’s license can cost between $5,200 and $6,700. The bulk of the cost, he said, comes from renting the aircraft at $110 an hour.

Most pilots say the time and money are worth it.

“It’s one of those areas in life that there still seems to be quite a bit of adventure left to it,” Dawson said.

Although Renfro said there is no age limit to flying, students cannot fly alone until they are 16.

For that reason, Renfro suggested starting ground school and flying with instructors at age 15.

Nathan is still a bit young, but with the prospect of flying on the horizon, he’s already bragging to friends in his sixth-grade class.

“It’ll be cool to finally get up in the air and be in control,” he said.

Comments

Confrontation 5 years, 7 months ago

This is ridiculous. Twelve is too young to be flying a plane, with or without someone else.

Reuben Turner 5 years, 7 months ago

this is kinda on the ridiculous side. but i heard the saying a long time ago, i believe u can rent to tape, "where the is will there is a way". i ain't mad at the young man nor the instructors teaching him. like the article says, he can't really do nothing w/ the plane right now anyways, he still got some years to go.

bliddel 5 years, 7 months ago

The Duncan-Lipinski bill states that "no pilot in command...may allow a person who does not hold a valid pilot certificate...to manipulate the controls of an aircraft if that pilot in command knows or should have known that that person is attempting to set a record or engage in an aeronautical competition or an aeronautical feat as defined by the [Federal Aviation] administrator."

This is the only requirement I know that may sometimes prevent young children from manipulating the controls of an airplane. Unlike automobiles driving at high closing speeds only inches apart on two lane highways, there is ample time for a competent pilot to correct any control errors that a child could introduce.

So, since safety doesn't appear to be an issue, I say get the young person involved and enthusiastic at an early age. I wish my parents had supported my interest in aviation. I was 36 before I was old enough to have saved enough discretionary money to learn to fly.

David Mora Marín 5 years, 7 months ago

I teach 12 yr olds. Even the most mature does NOT have the judgement to operate a vehicle.

overthemoon 5 years, 7 months ago

There is an Explorer Scout aviation program in Topeka that has been teaching kids to fly since the 40's. I think the lower age limit is 12, and it takes four years or so to actually get through all of the training and earn a license. Its a good program...and very inexpensive compared to the usual flight school costs.

Boeing 5 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes the "ridiculous" crowd who knows not what they talk about. I started flying at that age back home in LA, by 17 had my license, now have my multi engine rating and work as an aerospace engineer at age 26. Dreams can take you anywhere, and I applaud him for having them. Don't listen to these people who say you are too young, they are very wrong. I am a darn good pilot because I started so early, and he will be too!

Chris Ogle 5 years, 7 months ago

Learning to fly at 12 yrs. old.... beats getting high on dope.

jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

"Add in the time savings vs. driving and, if you make a decent living, it is cheaper to operate than a car."

Though admittedly, it's probably more difficult to park in a shopping mall.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 7 months ago

"So, since safety doesn't appear to be an issue, I say get the young person involved and enthusiastic at an early age."

Is no one concerned with 1) the lack of judgement of a child (which is the reason why we are considering raising the minimum driving age) and 2) the deadly potential of airplanes? When a pilot losses control of a plane, someone dies. It's far riskier than a car.

Some sort of "learner's permit" seems appropriate for someone his age, but not a full license.

lwctown 5 years, 7 months ago

Good luck. I started flying when I was 17 and loved every minute of it.

Boeing 5 years, 7 months ago

Is no one concerned with 1) the lack of judgement of a child (which is the reason why we are considering raising the minimum driving age) and 2) the deadly potential of airplanes? When a pilot losses control of a plane, someone dies. It's far riskier than a car.


I sure hope you are kidding, because if not, congrats on the most flawed argument I have ever seen on here in your point #2...

Boeing 5 years, 7 months ago

Some sort of “learner's permit” seems appropriate for someone his age, but not a full license.


I forgot to add - you can't get a license until you are 17. Can't solo until he's 16, as the article states.

waydownsouth 5 years, 7 months ago

This kid is doing something positive. I applaud him. Good Luck to you. Don't let anyone stand in the way of your dreams.

gontek 5 years, 7 months ago

way to go Nathan, that's a good way to spend your money. I encourage you skeptics to head out to the airport and ask for an introductory ride. Get over your fears and take in the beautiful kansas views from 3000 to 5000 feet over Lawrence.

I finished my private pilot training at LWC, I trained on and off for over ten years, starting at age 16. There are no two ways about it, flying is an expensive hobby, much more so than owning a car.

The US general aviation system allows us a great freedom and privelege to fly yourself almost anywhere you want, and I do not understand why more people do not take flight training.

gontek 5 years, 7 months ago

Boeing, by LA are you referring to the city or the state? I did some of my training in Louisiana.

Reality_Check, how much did you factor in the cost of hangar storage, maintenance and insurance to your operational cost estimates?

Boeing 5 years, 7 months ago

Boeing, by LA are you referring to the city or the state? I did some of my training in Louisiana.


The city, sorry. I grew up just east of LA in San Bernardino County

jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

"2) When a pilot losses control of a plane, someone dies.

False."

Not necessarily. Think of it terms of a Butterfly effect type thing. Kinetic energy and all of that.

/man

Sigmund 5 years, 7 months ago

I started flying gliders when I was 16 and in order to get some flying (as opposed to falling looking for the field) time decided to get my Single Engine Land license. I got it at age 18 as did a couple of my friends. Contray to what the naysayers might assume it taught us a great sense of responsibility and maturity. How many guys at any age do you know can double date by renting 172 RG Turbo (or was it a 182) and flying to New Orleans for a weekend?

All three of my friends took different paths and went on to accomplished much in their choosen fields. There is little doubt in my mind that the focus, maturity, and self confidence gained earning a pilots license and learning to safely fly an aircraft from point A to B at that age contibuted to their successes. Adding a pilots license to your resume or college application does not hurt one little bit and helps set you ahead of the others.

But $110/hour wet with instruction seems really cheap. That must be a misprint or I misread it.

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