Please join the Aviation department in congratulating Jinsong “Harold” Zhang ‘19 in earning his solo pilot endorsement. Harold flew solo for the first time on April 9th, 2019, in a Piper Archer PA-28-181 tail number N82746, on runway 18 at Albert Whitted Airport.
Harold, a 7-day boarder from China who has attended Farragut for two years, has been in aviation the whole time he’s been at Farragut. He’s been interested in flying ever since he was young.
“I used to love seeing the fighter jets,” he said. “I wanted to learn to fly so that maybe someday I could fly one too.” This passion carries over to his flying today.
“I love doing maneuvers,” he said. “Turns or pitch up or pitch down. It’s so different from driving a car. Sometimes when you speed up in a car you feel the g forces, but it’s a different dimension in the sky. It feels different, and the view is much different too.”
Harold had to fight against the Florida weather to finally get to fly solo. “The weather was my biggest enemy,” he said. “I’d been ready for like three months, but every time I was about to solo the clouds would just roll in. The day I finally got to fly I was so excited.”
Since starting at Farragut, Harold has been involved in orienteering, sailing, and the photography club, and this year he is president of the drone club. Now that he is about to enter college, he’s not sure about fighter jets anymore. “They’re interesting as a hobby,” he said, “but I think I’d rather fly commercial or corporate jets instead.” Harold will be attending the University of Texas San Antonio with a major in finance, but he is planning on studying aviation as well.
“Whenever I’m feeling discouraged,” he said, “like when I’m studying for the hard private pilot’s certificate exam or I’m just tired, I remind myself that when I get my license, I’ll be able to take my friends flying anywhere we want. That’s really strong motivation to keep me learning.”