Licensed to Fly, Student Pilots Take Off to their Dreams

Chanelle Camero, Community Editor

     For Senior Brayden Autele-Acera, Sophomore Kenan Tas and ‘18 alumnaTheresa Lam, flying an airplane has become a part of their routine. While they are in different stages of training, they all share a passion for flying. Tas is currently working towards getting his student pilot’s license while Autele-Acera is working towards getting his private pilot certificate. Lam is currently working as a Certified Flight Instructor,taking up students into the air and training them. For all of them, their goal is to work as commercial pilots.

     “The most rewarding part of flying for me is being able to feel free. I feel like I don’t have to worry about any other people when I fly. It’s just me, the plane and endless opportunities,”said Autele-Acera.

     Autele-Acera completed three solo flights. For his first solo flight, he flew to KalaeloaAirport and practiced his landings. For his second and third flights, he flew to Maui and back. “It was pretty scary at first because I realized that I was alone, and my instructor wasn’t there for me to ask for help. After my second solo, I felt pretty comfortable with flying by myself,” said Autele-Acera, who has his Private Pilot Written.

      A Private Pilot’s License allows them to operate the aircraft as the pilot in command, privately and to carry as many passengers as an aircraft can legally carry. To receive this license, one must be 17 years old, have a minimum of 40 recorded flight hours, pass anFAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Practical Test, more commonly known as a checkride, pass an oral exam and pass an FAA third class medical exam at the minimum.

      In a couple of months, Tas will be taking the FAA’s knowledge test in order to fly solo. The knowledge exam covers things such as the foundation of how to control the aircraft and the purpose of its instruments. To prepare for his student pilot certificate, Tas is building up his flying hours. With his instructor, Tas practices landings and maneuvers such as managing stalls which happen when an aircraft exceeds its critical angle of attack, and S-turns which are a ground reference maneuvers. For Tas, being able to say that he did it as well as his instructor telling him that he’s doing a good job is a rewarding feeling.

     “It makes me feel good for how much work I’ve put into this training and the amount of — it’s expensive so when he says you’re doing good and you’re ready to do something that you would never think you could ever do, it’s a good feeling so,” said Tas. “And then also, having that dream to do that when you’re later on in life, you look back at all of the stuff that you had to do in order to become this. I’d say that’s pretty rewarding.” 

      Their training can be broken up into two parts: ground and flight training. Groundtraining is about learning aerodynamics, flight planning, emergency procedures and restrictions. Flight training is about applying this knowledge toperfect flying skills such as navigating, landing, maneuvers and talking on the radio. “He (Tas’ instructor) challenges you by like turning off your engine or asking you to do something like call up the ATC or something — the Air Traffic Control — ‘cause you’re gonna have to learn all that stuff in order to fly the big planes, the jets,” said Tas.

     Lam added, “Everything that you read and learn on the ground you are able to apply in your flying, so it’s nothing less than exhilarating. Being able to have controls of what the plane does, as well as being up in the air is something I believe everyone should try out at one point in their lives.”

     Lam and Tas attend The Right Flight Services flight school while Autele-Acera attends George’s Aviation Services. While training there and flying, it’s common to come across technical challenges. “The most challenging part of flying for me would be the radios. Sometimes, there can be tons of other planes on the same frequency as you, and you need to be able to listen for your instructions among the chaos,” said Autele-Acera. 

     Tas added, “The most challenging part I’d say (is) probably landings right now because it looks easy but to make a really smooth like coordinated landing like — ‘cause you have to be on the centerline. You know how there’s awhite line in the middle of the runways?” 

      For Tas and Autele-Acera, their average flight lasts an hour and 40 minutes and two to three hours respectively. Tas’ longest flight was to Lanai and lasted three hours. Autele-Acera’s longest flight was over two hours one way and was from Prescott to Page for the Embry-Riddle flight camp he attended this past summer. “Our flight consists of four parts: preflight, runup, flight,shutdown. For preflight, we check to make sure the exterior parts of the plane aren’t broken (fuselage, exterior flight controls, tires, propeller). We also take samples of the fuel to make sure its not contaminated, and check the oil level. After we finish preflight, we start up the plane and taxi out to the runup ramp,”said Autele-Acera.

      “For runup we check to see if the engine runs at the normal operating speed. We fly, and then come back. Once we return to the parking ramp, wedo our shutdown. Shutdown is basically when we turn off the plane, push it back and tie it up.”

      For more information, you can go to George’s Aviation Services’ website athttps://www.georgesaviation.com/or go to The Right Flight Services’ websiteathttps://www.trfshawaii.com/.