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Kyle Lingelbach

The Williamsburg Aviation Scholarship Program has been one of the best things to happen to me. I originally found out about the program through my physics teacher who had a history with aviation. She had known that I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force and made sure that I applied for this scholarship. I wanted to use this opportunity to better my chances at becoming a pilot for the Air Force, just having flight hours helps increase one’s chance. Now that I have my license I can build up flight time at a much faster rate in University than I would have been able to do without it. Going into the program was a bit of a shock because I couldn’t believe that I was going to be flying an airplane. My instructor, Tim McSwain, became a great mentor and throughout the program I always felt that I could ask him questions about aviation and had lots of time talking to him in the airplane.

Getting to know someone with lots of aviation experience has helped me throughout the journey of getting my license and with my aviation career after. Also, being based at a small airport can be the best, there are lots of friendly faces that are more than happy to give you advice on flying and show you their airplane. Flying the plane is the best experience of course, finally mastering the landing is something that you will be very proud of because it is the first step in being able to fly the plane by yourself. The next step is the solo, your first solo will feel amazing and proud. Next is working towards your solo cross-country and that is another milestone.

There are many preparations, one needs to be able to read a sectional, plan the flight, balance the aircraft, and knowing the airplane like the back of your hand. My first solo cross-country went like that for the most part except I arrived at one of my checkpoints but the surface didn’t match the map so I ended up circling for about 10 minutes trying to figure out where I was. Later, of course, another instructor told me that I could have just used the GPS.

There are many days that may be difficult but it all pays off with the amount of fun one can have with a private pilot’s license. As I continued through the flight training I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and knew that I would get my pilot’s license, I could not have been more excited. There have been several days in college where I felt like flying and just drove over to the airport to have some fun. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to do this with my private pilot’s license.