Senior Max Kostyashkin earns his private pilot’s certificate

In April, Max Kostyashkin became the second in the Class of 2017 to earn his Private Pilot’s Certificate.

“It’s stressful prior to the examination,” Max said. “There’s the written exam, the oral exam, and then the flying exam itself. You have to respect the airplane, you can’t be overly confident and you have to be humble. You never know what will happen on a plane and you have to be prepared.”

Max was definitely prepared. He’s been in Farragut’s aviation program for five years, under the careful tutelage of Aviation Program director Rob Ewing and teacher Jose Hercher. He passed his private pilot written last year, took Embry-Riddle dual enrollment courses as a junior, and as a senior was in the Aviation Academy.

“Colleges are always looking for students who aren’t one-dimensional,” said Max who has been taking Aviation since 8th grade. “I thought that flying would set me apart. There aren’t a lot of high school seniors with a private pilot’s certificate!”

Max loves flying. “I love the adrenaline and exhilarating feeling of being in the air,” he says. “Before I started taking Aviation, my confidence was low and I never really believed in myself. Once Mr. Ewing, Mr. Hercher, and my aviation instructor at Albert Whitted Airport, Manny Gutierrez, told me they believed in me, I feel like something new came out of me and it really helped build my self-confidence.”

“Not everyone can fly an airplane, and since I can do it, I feel like I can do almost anything.”

“Max is an excellent pilot,” Mr. Ewing said. “He’s very safe and knowledgeable. It’s been a lot of fun flying with him. He is a very dedicated student and worked extremely hard and never quit. He just kept pushing to get better and better each time and now he’s very talented. I’d fly in the back seat with him anytime and just enjoy the ride.”

Max is attending George Washington University in the Fall, and he is currently torn between a biology major and a political science major. “I might just double major so I have fallback options,” Max says. While he doesn’t plan to make flying his career, he’d love to continue with it as a hobby. “A very expensive hobby,” he jokes. “I won’t be able to fly much when I get to college in Washington DC, but over the summer I want to try flying once a week at the airport by my house. It’s definitely a cool thing to have under my belt, on my list of achievements.”