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Pilots: Zeke Miller

On the Beltway beat

By Tyler Knight 

In 2003, Zeke Miller was 14 and living near New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. As jets roared overhead, he spent free time playing the computer video game Flight Simulator. Within a few months, he decided he wanted to fly for real.

Zeke Miller
Photography by John Harrington

After seeing ads for the U.S. Centennial of Flight, Miller asked his parents for an adventure flight. One year later, he began training. Despite the cost and 90-minute round trip from Long Island to the Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, he soloed at age 16.

Drive schedules and logistics put everything on hold his last two years of high school. After graduating from Yale in 2011 with a bachelor’s in political science, Miller became a politics reporter for Business Insider, then BuzzFeed. In a business driven by deadlines and headlines, he thrived. Time magazine was impressed enough to hire him in early 2013. He loved the political beat but never stopped thinking about flying.

That August he decided it was “now or never” if he wanted to be a pilot. After researching options, he connected with the Aviation Adventures flight school in Manassas, Virginia. An instructor agreed to fly with him each morning before work.

Starting his commute at 5 a.m., Miller spent five months driving an hour from D.C. in a rented ZipCar. He logged as much air time as possible before driving to his downtown office. Within five flights he soloed again. Thirty logbook hours later—and after six years on the ground—he earned his wings.

In November 2016, Time named Miller its White House correspondent. A new administration was sworn into office in January 2017, which led to numerous interviews with President Donald J. Trump.

At 28, Miller has an exciting but challenging beat; he now covers the White House for the Associated Press. To relax, he flies as often as possible on weekends.

“Flying demands absolute attention at all times. It requires me to push the distractions of life and work outside the cockpit,” Miller said, adding, “It’s also lots of fun.”

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