On Tuesday, May 8th, Farragut senior James Sands earned his solo pilot endorsement in a Cessna 172, tail number N5258Z, on runway 7 at Albert Whitted Airport.
“It was really intense,” said James, who is a 7-day boarder from Nassau, Bahamas. “We were just going around the traffic pattern, and Mr. Ewing told me to land and he got out. I was a little nervous. My feet were rattling, but I kept them still so I didn’t mess up the rudders.”
“James is becoming a very competent pilot,” said Aviation instructor Rob Ewing. “Over the past 2 weeks, he showed a true commitment to becoming solo endorsed and his hard work paid off.”
“I love flying,” James added. “I love the risk that comes with it. There are always different challenges, for example when you’re coming down low and there’s a strong cross breeze. It’s really exciting.”
“It also helps you learn to focus on what you need to do,” James continued. “It shows you how to focus on what’s important as a pilot in command.”
James grew up around planes. “My dad is a pilot. He flies seaplanes in the Bahamas. Even as a kid I would be in the cockpit as his co-pilot. I couldn’t wait until he could give me the controls.”
In the fall, James will be attending SUNY Maritime with the goal of becoming a merchant marine. “Farragut makes sure you have the tools you need to go to college. Mrs. Williar [Director of Counseling and College Placement] is a rock star. She helped me with all of my applications and with housing and everything. I couldn’t thank her enough for what she’s done.”
“That’s my career goal,” he continued, “but I’m going to keep flying too. I want to get my private pilot’s license and my seaplane rating so I can fly seaplanes back home.”