Archive for youthful pilots

“Cap’n Alex,” Greg’s March, 2016 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, learn to fly!, teen pilots with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2016 by Greg Brown

Flying “turns about a patio”

Nicole-AlexChambers_CarolWyatt-Smith_FC_SEZ_2236-EditeSmw1200I questioned how much Alex Chambers would appreciate an airplane ride celebrating his 5th birthday, given little kids’ notoriously short attention spans.

But Jean’s friend and tennis coach, Nicole, had long reported her son’s obsession with airplanes, so I willingly offered a flight when Jean suggested it.

Normally I fly first-timers around the nearby San Francisco Peaks, followed by breakfast at scenic Sedona Airport. But for little Alex, I figured one or the other would be enough. I also bought a toy airplane to occupy him if necessary during our flight; finding no Flying Carpet-style Cessnas, I selected a nifty P-47 fighter.

Our opportunity arose a week after Alex’s birthday. Nicole’s visiting girlhood friend Carol Wyatt-Smith from South Africa would join us.

“Why are we going inside the gate?” Alex asked his mom when we met at the Flagstaff Airport.

“We’re going to see Greg’s airplane,” she explained. Alex squirmed shyly when invited out of the car, but eventually emerged to open his P-47 birthday present and stash it with his back-seat airplane collection.

AlexChambers_FCaloft_2218eSmw1200I assigned my young friend to push the button opening the hangar door—always popular among youthful passengers.

Then he “helped” me pull out the airplane. Surprised at Alex’s level of engagement, I demonstrated the elevators during preflight.

“These make the plane go up and down,” I said. “What do you think they’re called?”

“Are those the flaps?” he replied. This is a five-year old, mind you, so I was impressed that he could name any flight surface, even if the wrong one…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, CAP’N ALEX.”**

Top photo: Alex and Nicole Chambers with friend Carol Wyatt-Smith, at Sedona Airport, Arizona. (KSEZ)

Lower photo: ‘Cap’n Alex’ at the controls.

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

Greg

©2015 Gregory N.Brown

“Tomorrow’s Pilot,” Greg’s April, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, teen pilots with tags , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2015 by Greg Brown

Passing the torch

5-GregBrownFT415_3eSm1200We all meet youthful aspiring pilots. For many it’s a passing interest, but now and then we encounter young people whose aviation knowledge and enthusiasm mark them as exceptional.

Gian Jacuzzi messaged me on Facebook last year about becoming a pilot. He’d gotten the bug at an airshow, and regaled me with photos of his favorite airplanes. I helped the 13-year-old enroll in “AOPA Av8rs,” and briefed him on EAA’s Young Eagles program and Air Academy summer camps. I also introduced Civil Air Patrol, where he might affordably solo in gliders as young as 14. He in turn asked about my piloting, and the Flying Carpet. In the process, we discovered that we share the same birthday.

Shortly after Christmas, Gian messaged me asking about university aeronautical programs. After answering, I casually asked about his holiday vacation.

GregBrownFT415_5eV2Smw1200“Truthfully,” he said, “there’s been a lot of pressure here. My mom, sister Nina, and myself just moved to Florida with nothing but 3 suitcases of clothes and essentials. So we didn’t have much money or time to celebrate the holidays. We spent most of our current money on airline tickets. We lived in a hotel for two weeks but it was expensive and we were running out of money. We considered going into a shelter but met some kind people and are staying in their house while my mom finds a job.”

GianNinaRusso-C150_MaribelRussoPhoto_2eSm1200I asked how his mother was holding up. “She has lots of hope and is very motivated. Nina and I are very proud of her.” There was no hint of sadness or frustration, but clearly this family had suffered a bleak Christmas. Yet even among those trials Gian found a bright spot.

“The good thing was we flew here in a 747! I got to see the cockpit, and the pilot and first officer were both fascinated by my passion for aviation!” Spontaneously I made an offer: “Ask your mom if she’d be comfortable with Jean and me buying you a flying lesson. You deserve to do something special after all you’ve been through.” …

READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE FLYING CARPET COLUMN, TOMORROW’S PILOT.” (Allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: Gian Jacuzzi takes the controls for the first time. Middle photo: Maribel Russo and Nina Jacuzzi, with CFI Yogini Modi and Gian Jacuzzi at Orient Flight School, Homestead Airport, Florida. Bottom photo: Nina Jacuzzi celebrates her brother Gian’s first lesson. SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE!

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

Greg

PS: Check out some exciting followup on this column by my friend and AOPA Flight Training magazine editor, Jill Wood Tallman.

©2015 Gregory N.Brown

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