With help from a Redbird instructor, Vaughn's Ryan Barren does some prep work before his initial flight. Below, Dr. Sharon DeVivo, left, in the cockpit after a thrilling ride; Franklin Pillcorema readies his plane.
Friday, Jan. 6, 11:30 a.m.: On Thursday, three Vaughn students were able to get in the air with flight instructors for their first in-flight lessons. The morning began with Chief Flight Instructor Roger Sharp in the hangar with a 2011 Cessna 172 demonstrating a pre-flight check that every pilot conducts before taking to the skies. From checking the gas, oil and tires to running a finger across each leading edge, students learned the importance of knowing your aircraft before flying. It was then time for students to practice in the simulators and continue to study procedures.
After lunch, it was time for Franklin Pillorcema, Jaen Villalvir and Ryan Barren to get in the air. After conducting pre-flight checks, they headed out with an instructor to spend an hour in flight. A small group of us looked on excitedly, snapping lots of photos as they taxied away and took off. We were ready when they returned to gauge how it went; each student seemed to exit the cockpit with a smile the size of Texas.
While in the midst of watching Barren get ready to taxi away, Sharp walked over to me with a pair of headphones and said, "Let's go." I instantly said "Yes!" and got nervous. The whole experience was an absolute thrill as we soared over the central Texas countryside. While my skills on the ground left a lot to be desired (you use your feet not your hands to turn the aircraft on the ground--not easy) I did get to turn the airplane several times in the air and felt more comfortable at each opportunity. When I got back to the Skyport facility, I told the students I completely understood their desire to do this--the feeling of exhilaration is incredible! Thank you Chief Sharp for a taste of what our students are experiencing.
—Sharon DeVivo, Senior Vice President