With his wife and children looking on with great pride, John Phillips became the fifth pilot to make their first solo flight at Sugar Valley Airport in the last two years. Phillips, who lives with his family in the William R. Davie School community of Davie County, started flying lessons at the airport last fall. On Saturday his instructor, Eddie White, determined that it was time for Phillips to fly alone.
Pilots “solo” after they achieve a level of proficiency which convinces their instructors that they can safely fly alone. Saturday morning Phillips made his three takeoffs and landings without incident. After his final landing, he taxied the Cessna 150 airplane to the aircraft parking ramp at Sugar Valley, to the cheers of his family and airport volunteers.
As he stepped from the plane, he thanked his instructor and others at the airport for their support. He then added about flying and this very special milestone, “This is a dream come true.” Earlier, Phillips, his children Benjamin and Hannah, and his wife Tammy, all took the free ground school course offered at the airport to persons interested in learning to fly. The whole family worked hard to support Phillips in his efforts.
Phillips will now complete his flight training working with his instructor and by practicing on his own and honing his skills so that he can take the final flight test with an examiner certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Cessna 150 aircraft is made available to Mr. Phillips by a local aircraft owner.
In the last two years, five pilots have soloed at Sugar Valley and four of them have already received their pilot’s license. Other students at the airport are also nearing their time to solo.
The airport supports general aviation activities with educational and other aviation-related events. Over the last two years, over 80 students from across the region have attended the free aviation ground school held twice a year at the airport, and 40 have graduated. Persons interested in learning to fly or in taking the free ground school course can call the airport at 336-998 – 3971, or write aviation@SugarValleyAirport.org.
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