Carlo took flying lessons for a year.
He first flew an airplane on April 15, 2006 — his “orientation” flight at Omni Aviation. (The goal of an orientation flight is to see if the student throws up 🙂 If he does not have the stomach for it, he can save his money and can stagger away from a flying future, after he lands.)
Like me four years earlier, he flew his orientation with Aljess, then a flight instructor and the General Manager of Omni.
Pre-flight inspection with Capt A — April 15, 2006
Pre-flight inspection with Capt A — December 27, 2002, same airplane
Carlo flew his first solo after just two months of ground school and flight training — on Father’s Day, June 17, 2006.
A student pilot’s first solo — when he flies an airplane alone for the first time — is his most unforgettable aviation experience. That day, Carlo did what few people in the world have done, and he did it alone. If he couldn’t land that airplane, there was nobody else in it who could.
He and I soloed in the same airplane, 3 years apart. That RP-C1051 is one sturdy airplane!
Carlo celebrating Tonet’s first solo, February 1, 2003
Tonet’s revenge, June 16, 2006, Fathers’ Day, same airplane
In January this year, he began his cross-country training. He flew his first solo cross-country in February, flying more than 200 miles to 3 airports.
By April, he was done with flight training.
He struggled with his first written exam for the Private Pilot License. He had school exams and personal challenges that month. He aced the exam when he retook it a week later.
It took him three weeks to get his medical certificate. This should have taken three hours. The x-ray machine was broken, come back tomorrow. The ECG was booked the whole day, come back tomorrow. He scored perfect on the dreaded depth perception test, but the eye doctor forgot to sign off. He couldn’t take the next test (why you need to pass the depth perception test to go on to the urine test is a colossal mystery). You guessed it, come back tomorrow. He did, but then the eye doctor was absent. Come back again tomorrow.
Each time, he had to commute for an hour from his house to the Air Transportation Office. It would take just 2 or 3 minutes at the ATO for him to learn that he had to “come back tomorrow”. Every day that he did that, he missed school.
With an IQ of over 140, he had to take the 4-hour long neuro-psych test twice, because they mislaid his paperwork.
Finally, after his Class III medical was done, the final signatory went abroad, and his paperwork languished for 2 more weeks.
On June 15, 2007, exactly one year since his first solo, he finally got his Private Pilot License.
Twenty years ago, when Carlo was a toddler, he watched the newly released movie Top Gun on video every morning. He memorized entire lines of dialogue.
“You two characters are going to Top Gun. For five weeks you’re going to be flying against the best of the best. But you screw up this much, you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!”
I wanted so much to become a pilot myself, but never thought it would happen. For the two of us to become pilots was not even a dream at all….
That day has come to pass.