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Debrief /

Christopher Meloni

Detective Stabler flies

Christopher Meloni

Actor Christopher Meloni is known for many things: playing Det. Elliot Stabler in the television series Law and Order: SVU; as scary Chris Keller in the HBO series Oz; as Julia Roberts’ jilted groom in the movie Runaway Bride; and for his steely blue eyes—but he’d like you to know he discovered flying just before his fiftieth birthday and is, in his words, obsessed. “An actor/aviation friend introduced me to the world of flight, which I had no idea existed!” he says.

Who: Actor Christopher Meloni
Age: 53
Hours: 765 hours in his Eclipse jet.
Extra: “In this journey you will learn a lot about yourself. Enjoy the ride.”

GETTING STARTED…I started right before my fiftieth birthday. I instantly became obsessed with my mission—learn to fly, and then learn to fly a jet.

EARLY CHALLENGES…Learning to accept that all the information coming at me was going to take time to digest; in other words, patience was going to be needed.

HARDEST LESSONS…Being under the hood for the first 20 times! And realizing IFR skills degrade if not continually practiced.

AVIATION ACTIVITY…I love flying to small, out-of-the-way places in the middle of the United States. My last trip was to Moab, Utah, with my family.

FAVORITE AIRPLANE…I have been pursuing my taildragger [endorsement] so I’m into the Cessna 185, 190, Stearman thing right now.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS…Don’t stop. It is always far more difficult for me to finish something if I start and then stop and then have to start over again.

Meloni owns and flies an Eclipse 500.

AOPA Flight Training staff

AOPA Flight Training Staff editors are experienced pilots and flight instructors dedicated to supporting student pilots, pilots, and flight instructors in lifelong learning.

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