Please join the Aviation Department in congratulating Billy Price ‘22 for earning his solo endorsement on Thursday, December 3, 2020. He flew solo for the first time in a Cessna 172, tail number N5258Z, at Albert Whitted Airport on runway 7.
Billy’s love of aviation started in 7th grade, when his parents won a discovery flight with Rob Ewing, the head of Farragut’s aviation department, in the annual auction put on by the Parents’ Group (now known as the Farragut Family Association). “I went up with a friend and we got to fly the plane a little bit,” Billy said. “It was lots of fun and I got very interested in it. My parents told me I should definitely pursue it in school.”
Billy, who is a day student from St. Petersburg, FL, and who has been attending Farragut since the 6th grade, took them up on that advice, and in the 8th grade, he started aviation classes. “It’s so fun,” he said. “I love going to the airport on Tuesdays for 3rd and 4th period and talking to the tower on the radio and flying all day, especially now that I’m flying solo.”
On Billy’s solo day, he said he wasn’t too nervous. “The times I’d gone up before I soloed, I had a flight instructor, but I was still the one flying the plane,” he said. “They never have to touch the controls, and I got to a point where they never even had to say anything, so I knew I could do it by myself. So I wasn’t nervous, but I was excited. I managed to keep a cool head because that’s how bad things happen.” For Billy’s solo, he flew in a pattern three times around the airport.
“Mr. Ewing and all the other flight instructors down at the airport have been the best I could ever ask for,” Billy said. “Same with the other students in my aviation class. They’ve been so supportive.”
“The solo endorsement is the first step towards earning a Private Pilot Certification,” Mr. Ewing said. “It is an endorsement earned through hard work, effort, and perseverance. For pilots, their first solo flight is once in a lifetime experience, something that is never forgotten. As always, I am proud to be a part of this experience and look forward to training Billy to meet the remaining requirements for his certification.”
Billy’s mom, Chris Price, captured this video of Billy’s first solo flight from the nearby restaurant, The Hangar.
Though Billy loves flying, it isn’t his career goal. He is hoping to go to the University of Florida for their business management program, and he wants to start his own business when he graduates. His second choice is Florida State University. “I definitely want to stay in Florida,” he said. “I love to go out on my family’s boat every day. It’s just my place.”
He still wants to fly, though, as a hobby. “I love the atmosphere at the airport and the aviation crew,” he said. “Once I get out of college and earned some money, I’d like to buy a plane and maybe fly my family to the Florida Keys.”