plane.jpg

The Cessna at Galvin Flying Center.
Photo by Sean Gumm.

 

Becoming a licensed pilot is getting easier, cheaper, younger, and prettier, at least that’s

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Project Pilot Gives Pilots a Face-Lift

Figuratively Speaking, that is.

plane.jpg

The Cessna at Galvin Flying Center.
Photo by Sean Gumm.

 

Becoming a licensed pilot is getting easier, cheaper, younger, and prettier, at least that’s what Project Pilot wants you to think.  The new flight training initiative of the non-profit Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is changing the face of flying from that of a good old boys club to something accessible, almost trendy.  They were even willing to prove it, by offering any idiot, I mean reporter, a free introductory flying lesson. 

Down at good old Boeing Field, I walked into Galvin Flying Service yesterday afternoon, and was met with the new face of flying, well one at least.  Amongst the throng of older white-haired, “I fly to my cabin in the San Juans” type of men, stood my instructor, Katie Crown, 23, pretty, young, and about to teach me all I needed to know about planes and flying to put me in control of an airplane. 

Showing me around the flight school she explained that she doesn’t get to do a whole lot of these introductory flights, and when she does they are usually for guys whose “girlfriends or wives thought this was the coolest present they could think to give them.”  Otherwise Crown spends her time teaching full-time students, ones on their way to becoming pilots.  She says the people coming through are just what you would expect, “young, pre-30’s training for a career, or the post-40’s type who are set in life and just want to get a plane.”  Project Pilot advertises flying as the next boating, or motorcycling, and Crown agrees on some points, describing some pilots and their planes as just another example of “men and their toys.”  Crown is obviously used to being the standout girl in her field, saying, (as many women who break into typically male fields), “I don’t even notice really, all the guys here are incredibly nice, and treat me like one of them.” 

Project Pilot is trying to get more people like Katie Crown into the business of flying by offering introductory lessons like the one I took at extremely low prices, anywhere from $49-89 as opposed to the $100-200 it usually costs.  Crown showed me the plane, we did the maintenance checks, I sumped (that’s an airplane term, probably the only one I picked up all day) the fuel to make sure we had enough and that nothing strange had gotten in the tanks, and that everything on the plane was working.  Finally, we climbed into the little 4-seater Cessna, hit the runway, and I took off.  Crown let me keep the controls almost the entire hour-long flight, and it really was easy, I can barely ride a bike, but I could totally fly a plane. 

Seeing Snoqualmie Falls and the Seattle skyline from the sky would totally be worth what that intro lesson normally costs anyway, and if you can afford the approximately $12,000 price tag for the license plus $130-170 an hour to rent a plane, I say go for it.  Crown sat down to discuss licensing procedures and costs afterwards, pointing out the numerous dollar signs on the page she says, “it’s not cheap…it’s not an investment, it’s a deposit, but for people who have the ability to make it a hobby, they’ll find immense freedom.” 

 

 

 

 
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