May 20, 2014
Aly Bond says the hardest part of learning to fly is staying motivated when you’re too young to get your license, and busy with homework and other activities. peo-ple
But thankfully, the thought of becoming a private pilot is all the 16-year-old AV8RS member from Columbus, Ohio needs to stay on track. “No one else in my high school goes flying,” she says. “It’s this feeling of accomplishment that I am doing something that most teens have never even dreamed off.”
That motivation is especially important when things don’t go as planned.
“When I started glider flying, for instance, I couldn’t for the life of me do the tow,” she says. “I would always get way off and the instructor would have to bring the glider back into position. But I stuck with it because I knew that eventually I had to get it. If other people can do it, there was no reason I couldn’t do it as well.”
A sophomore at Upper Arlington High School, Aly says her interest in aviation comes from her father, a flight instructor who often took her to the airport when she was younger. She started glider lessons at 12 and soloed at 14. At 15, she started powered flight lessons and soloed last December, four days after her 16th birthday.
Aly hopes to get her glider license this summer, and her powered license in December when she turns 17.
She says she really enjoys gliders. “I feel like there is more skill involved since you have to perfect the art of using thermals to your benefit. It makes it more challenging and interesting.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that she doesn’t enjoy flying powered airplanes, too. “I try to go flying every weekend, if the weather permits and my instructor is available.”
She is also involved in the Civil Air Patrol, and plans to major in aeronautical engineering in college. “I’ve always been interested in engineering and building things,” Aly says. “My interest in airplanes fits well with that career.”
She says she joined AV8RS to meet other teens who share a passion for aviation. She especially enjoys the newsletter stories or Facebook posts about other teens accomplishing their aviation goals. Aly explains, “Reading about someone else’s solo is like reliving yours.”
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Pilot Barrington Irving used an event at Ronald Reagan National Airport Sept. 23 to launch his Flying Classroom project, created to offer interactive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to children around the world.
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