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    A330 First Officer
    12 nov, 11
    De aquí para allá

    Estudiantes de New Orleans buscan la licencia de piloto

    The Cessna 172 rolled onto the tarmac at New Orleans Lakefront Airport as Andrew Glapion Jr., 16, finished practicing his takeoff and landing in preparation for his private pilot license. "When I'm in the plane and in the air, nothing can touch me. Everything is just perfect," said Glapion, a junior at St. Augustine High School.

    Having already completed 32 flights, two of which were solo, Glapion is out at Lakefront Airport at least once a week clocking the mandatory 36 hours of flight time while counting down to April 30, his 17th birthday -- two requirements to obtain his private license.
    Krystal Hukmani, managing director of the Flight Academy of New Orleans, said that in 2009, Glapion became the youngest student to enroll at the Flight Academy. The flight simulator on his home computer wasn't enough for him anymore; he needed the real deal.

    "My first flight was May 7, 2009, right after my 15th birthday," Glapion said. "I begged (my parents) to send me on a flight, and they purchased a demo flight for me, and from there I have been flying."

    Getting a private pilot's license normally takes three to six months, but because of age restrictions, Glapion has had to complete it over a two-year period.

    His flight instructor, Matt Gradidge, knows how beneficial this will be later on.
    "Andrew getting his private license now will actually put him ahead of the game when he gets to college. It will be a few less classes he will have to take," Gradidge said.

    There is no doubt in Glapion's mind that this is what he wants to do with his life. With the aim of becoming an airline pilot, he has his sights firmly set on studying aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

    During his lesson with Gradidge, Glapion made it all look easy. Typically he flies a Cessna 152, but on this particular day, he flew the Cessna 172, a four-seater aircraft, with two extra passengers -- a first for him.

    This didn't faze him, though. After Gradidge demonstrated what he expected, Glapion was in total control, performing the smoothest of landings.

    "Landing is the best part. I got to land at Armstrong airport once, just for experience," Glapion said.

    Andrew Glapion Jr. checks out the plane before taking to the air during a training class at the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans. Glapion, a St. Augustine High School senior, is training at the Flight Academy of New Orleans to get his pilot's license on his 17th birthday.

    A typical lesson starts with a debriefing, when Gradidge tells Glapion what is expected for that lesson. Glapion does a preflight check, walking around the aircraft anf ensuring the instruments and the plane are in good working order.

    Glapion and his instructor practice take-offs and landings, aerial maneuvers and emergency procedures.

    After an hour or so at 2,500 feet above Lake Pontchartrain or over the marshes, the pair land, and Gradidge goes over any areas that need addressing.
    "You have to be 16 to solo the aircraft, so we were getting him prepared for that. Now what we are doing is getting him ready to where he can get his license," Gradidge said.

    It won't stop there. Once Glapion has his private license, the next step will be to get his instrument rating. Then once again he will have to wait until his 18th birthday to get a commercial license.

    When Glapion first approached his father, Andrew Glapion Sr., about flying lessons, the senior Glapion was unenthusiastic, worried about his son's safety. But Andrew proved to be very persuasive.

    "I told (Andrew) it was dangerous, but he said he had a better chance at dying in a car crash," Glapion said. "He is so confident and competent, and with a passion like that all you can do is support it."

    Glapion works summer jobs to help pay for his lessons, and he takes time out from flying to play baritone sax in the St. Augustine Marching 100.
    "This has actually taught me a lot about using my time management," Glapion said. "I don't know how I get it all done, but I do."

    Glapion goes through his pre-flight checklist.

    New Orleans student takes off on quest for pilot's license | NOLA.com



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