Student reflects about his first solo flight


Photo by Paul Apfelbeck

Toby Monroe and the aviation program plane in which he took his first solo flight.

By TOBY MONROE, staff writer

I knew I wanted to be a pilot from the start.

The councilor asked me if I wanted to be in ground school, and I took the opportunity.

The GILA aviation program gave me opportunities that teenagers my age would never experience; I flew 258 miles by myself in one day. This feat is unheard of for high school students, and I didn’t have to pay a thing for training. I took my check-ride in May and earned with my private pilot’s license.

Over the next three years, I constantly worked at studying, learning, and practiced towards this moment.

My flight to Tanana made my week great. The weather was great, the sun was shining and my school day lasted till about 7 in the evening, but it was worth the effort. The intensity of my solo flight gives me a challenge that is well worth my time. I really appreciate the GILA aviation program with my flight instructor, Josh Kaufield.

Aviation student achievements and licenses over the years

Private pilot licenses
1. Ben Pederson
2. Trent Walker (2007)
3. Melinda Hruby(2008)
4. Kallie Brown (2008)
5. Daniel Wilhite (2007)
6. Garret Bargis (2010)
7. Michael Ford (2011)
8. Jeremiah Stewart (2012)
9. Kaylin Kopp (2012)
10. Elijah Jensen (2012)

Solo pilots
1. Ben Pederson
2. Daniel Wilhite (2006)
3. Trent Walker (2007)
4. Brandon Walker (2007)
5. Donovan Nickoli (2007)
6. Kallie Brown (2007)
7. Melinda Hruby (2008)
8. Garret Bargis (2010)
9. Magdelyn Lee (2010)
10. Richard Sommer (2010)
11. Michael Ford (2011)
12. Justin Arrow (2011)
13. Kaylin Kopp (2011)
14. Elijah Jensen (2011)
15. Jeremiah Stewart (2011)
16. Sid Huhndorf (2012)
17. Robert Worel (2012)
18. Greg Cholok (2012)
19. Ahtallah Dillon (2012)
20. Roland Bergey (2012)
21. Stephan Waska (2012)
22. Dale Deleon (2013)
23. Rodney Hildebrand (2013)
24. Branden Waska (2013)