He did it!!! The weather cooperated and my son celebrated his birthday by successfully completing both helicopter and airplane solo flights! I was so happy, so relieved, so proud!!!! Evan was just about walking on air. And he should have been . . . soloing in both a helicopter and airplane on your 16th birthday is not a very common accomplishment.
Our local paper came out and did a great article on Evan. Here’s a link . . . https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9416706-181/sebastopol-youth-celebrates-his-16th
We started the morning at Helico, Evan’s helicopter flight school. He went through pre-flight and then took off with his instructor. They flew over to “helicopter practice area” and did a couple of patterns. Evan then landed and instructor Konnor got out. Off he went!!! It was a little surreal watching the small R22 helicopter flying around, knowing that it was just my 16 year old kid up there
. Post-helicopter solo!!!!
After lots of pictures and congratulations, we went home for lunch. A couple hours later, we were back at the airport, this time at North Coast Air, Evan’s airplane flight school. Again, he went through pre-flight under the watchful eye of his instructor, but without any input. They took off together and did three take-offs and landings. Then, once again, instructor Art got out and Evan was off on his own! Again, everything went beautifully. Whew!!
And post-airplane solo!!!
I think I was way more stressed about the day than I realized. I know I was stressed over the weather. People kept asking me if I was nervous about him flying by himself. I’d bravely answer, “No!!” and usually follow it with something like, “I have complete confidence in his instructors and know they won’t let him go if they’re not 100% convinced that he’s ready.” I meant that. But maybe watching your 16 year old fly around by himself is actually stressful. Whatever it was, at the end of the day, I was absolutely exhausted.
Completing your solo flight is akin to getting your driver’s learning permit. Evan has a lot more training in front of him. His ultimate goal is fly air tankers for Cal Fire or a private air tanker company. Challenging, dangerous work. Flying lessons are extremely expensive so I started a GoFundMe page . . . especially since I just lost my job. Go take a look, donate if you feel so inclined. . . and, if you don’t, goodness knows I won’t be offended (I’ve always been a little divided on the whole GoFundMe thing, personally). Here’s the link to that: https://www.gofundme.com/help-evan-fly
Thanks for celebrating with me!!!!