Planes are common to see in the sky, but most people never picture themselves actually flying one. Junior Ardenne Sklavos decided early in her life that she wanted to fly a plane herself.
For her whole life she knew she wanted to do something that involved flying. “My dad used to fly for fun and would tell our family stories, so I’ve always loved the idea of flying,” said Sklavos.
Sklavos realized that learning to fly would allow her to pursue her love of flying and give her the chance to travel the world as a career.
She started her journey of flying in January, so she has been learning for only eight months. “Learning to fly is slightly like learning to drive in the sense that you can start with the very basics and then slowly learn more and more,” said Sklavos.
On her first lesson, she was able to control a takeoff, but wasn’t able to land until a few lessons later.
After a few more lessons, and quite a bit of help from her instructor, Sklavos was able to control takeoff and landing.
“I had only had about 17 hours of flying and most instructors say that it takes anywhere from 15 to 20 hours to completely learn how to take off, fly the plane steadily, and land safely in order to solo,” said Sklavos.
Leading up to her first solo flight, Sklavos was most nervous about how she was going to do. She wanted to prove to herself that she could do it since being a pilot is such a male dominated field.
“Only about seven percent of pilots are women so I felt the need, and still feel the need, to prove myself constantly and always do my best,” said Sklavos.
On Sklavos’s first solo flight, she was feeling a little nervous, but once her instructor had left the plane she felt a sense of calm and felt completely ready.
With learning any new skill comes a sense of fear and nervousness, but while Skalvos was a little nervous on her first solo flight, she never had any major fears. “I’ve never really had any fears about flying and have never had trouble with heights,” said Sklavos.
Learning how to fly a plane is not only difficult, but it is also very expensive. One has to rent the plane and have to pay the instructor by the hour.
To pay for her lessons, Sklavos has been working over the summer. “To balance it out, I work five days a week during the summer and schedule my hours around my flight lessons,” said Sklavos.
Due to the age restrictions Sklavos will officially have her private pilot’s license next August. This means she will be able to fly the plane by herself and will be able to take her family members as passengers.
“Once I get the license, I can’t wait to take some family up as that will be the first time I can fly with them by myself,” said Sklavos.
Sklavos hopes that by getting her license she can continue to learn and eventually become an airline pilot and work for an international airline. “I’d love to be based in either Europe or Australia and fly larger aircrafts,” said Sklavos.
“The most important thing I’ve learned has definitely been that flying is my dream and definitely what I want to do in the future,” said Sklavos.