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12-year-old Making Plans for Getting His Pilot’s License

Nine years after his first trip aboard an airplane made him dead-set on becoming a pilot, 12-year-old Nathan Patterson has at long last begun the process of getting a pilot certification, and his father says that “he’ll probably fly before he drives a car.” Patterson and his parents, of Overland Park, Kan., went to the nearby Lawrence Municipal Airport, where chief flight instructor Tom Renfro uses an integrated system that alternates between ground school and flying throughout the training process. According to Renfro, this method of training makes students better pilots and helps them finish more quickly, with most completing their training within a year. One former student, Carole Dawson, managed to earn her private pilot’s license during her first semester at Kansas State University. “If you buckle down and get after it, it really doesn’t take long at all,” she says. “It’s just a matter of how much you study and how bad you want it.” Although it takes time to receive the certification, pilots such as Dawson find it worthwhile. &lrquo;It’s one of those areas in life that there still seems to be quite a bit of adventure left to it,” she says.

June 16, 2009

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