Student pilot's dream threatened by cancer
Student pilot’s dream threatened by cancer
Camden Collins grew up flying with his dad, the late Jon Lynch, an aerobatic pilot who performed at airshows. Naturally, he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, but at the age of 21, he’s already dealt with a major hurdle that threatened to quash his dreams—a rare form of kidney cancer.
In August 2007, Collins was in a motorcycle accident (only a few weeks after his father died of colon cancer), and hospitalized. That’s when the doctors discovered the cancer.
“She was more of a wreck than I was,” Collins said of his mother Susan Collins. He was confident that they had caught the cancer in time to treat it. But his right kidney had to be removed, and now doctors are watching a few spots on the left.
Their biggest concern now is whether Collins will be able to get a medical certificate so that he can one day become an airline pilot or an aerobatic pilot performing at airshows like his father.
“That’s one thing I was always worried about—getting my medical,” he said.
That’s why Collins and his mother attended AOPA Medical Certification Director Gary Crump’s hangar talk outside the Big Yellow Tent on AOPA Day. Crump had good news. Because Collins is so young and is doing well, he’ll likely be able to get a special-issuance medical certificate—even a first class special issuance, which he needs to pursue his professional pilot goals.
Collins’ chances are even better now. He has Crump and the rest of AOPA’s medical staff to help get his medical application through the FAA.
“I just got him his membership,” his mother said. Susan, who used to ferry a Decathlon for her husband while he flew a Pitts Special, said she no longer flies, but her desire to help her son attain his dreams is obvious.
Right now, Collins is focusing on the maintenance aspect of aviation at the National Aviation Academy in Clearwater, Fla. He’s had a few lessons in a Cessna 172, but said that’s like “driving a car.”
“I’d rather be in a Pitts Special myself,” he said.
April 11, 2008
April 11, 2008