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Teen Aims for Pilot's License and to Become a Missionary Pilot

Homeschooled high-school senior Lydia Fairchild, a 16-year-old from West Endicott, N.Y., has become a Master Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol as part of her efforts to become a missionary pilot. Fairchild, who had her first solo flight on June 26 in a Cessna 152, has been spending the past two summers at a missionary airbase in Sutton, Alaska, learning missionary skills including chopping trees and mowing grass to create and maintain landing strips. She plans on pursuing her pilot's license when she turns 17 this fall, aiming to become the roughly 2 percent of certified teenage pilots according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Fairchild, the sole teenage pilot at Alaska's Kingdom Air Corp., says that this "is what I want to do with my life; besides, it's fun to do." She has worked hard to complete ground school at the Tri-Cities airport in the Binghamton, N.Y., area, and she has passed her FAA written exam with an 88 percent score and has received her FAA medical exam and completed more than 30 hours of in-flight instruction.

August 20, 2009

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