Solo pilots soar over school

By TOBY MONROE, staff writer

GILA student Blane Romo, 17, of Aleknagik, made his first solo flight last semester in the aviation’s program Cessna Sky Hawk 172. This is a important milestone as this student progresses through the aviation program.

He made his flight on Dec. 2, 2013, flying in the skies around the Galena airport.

I made my first solo flight the next day in the same Cessna. I’m a 17-year-old senior from Anchorage.

Blane’s solo flight is unusual because this is his first year in the aviation program. Normally, students require at least one year before taking his or her solo flight. Blane’s advantages were that he’s had training elsewhere, and his dad is a pilot.

“I love flying, I don’t feel tied down and for the most part just being in the air,” he said The downside of flying? “Having to deal with regulations and the FAA makes flying hard but it’s still amazing.”

The flight school this year is producing results thanks to Joshua Kaufield, the certified flight instructor for the GILA aviation program.

Both Blane and I are working very hard to get a check ride in late April. “For every hour of flying, there’s two hours of studying,” Blane said.

Blane and I are flying every other day to meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements. Since December, I have now soloed three different times and Blaine has soloed five other times.