Solo Milestone — Jake Marchese

By John Marchese, EAA 1180500

Jake Marchese, EAA 1180502, is a student pilot who started out life with a love for garbage trucks and a passion for garbage day. Around age three, his grandfather showed him a flight simulator and it has been all aviation ever since then. He still takes out the garbage without being asked, but Jake has over 4,000 hours on his flight simulators and has worn out several control systems.

Jake landed an airplane for the first time at age 13 on July 1, 2019, and still loves wearing his Eagle East Aviation baseball cap from that day. Last week Jake turned 16 and on October 30 the weather allowed him to experience flight as a solo pilot for the first time (in a Cessna 172). This video shows one of his solo takeoffs and his third solo landing, along with the cutting of his shirt by his instructor, Linda Colon.

Jake didn’t make it to this step by himself. Along the way Jake has had so many great volunteers at EAA chapters 95, 270, 461, 579, 15, 838, and 790 who have helped him with Young Eagles flights and instruction. He’s also learned from his grandpa and from so many instructors, pilots, and military personnel. The aviation world is full of people that have taught him things and pointed him in a good direction. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and so many other events, museums, and instructional videos have also helped.

Jake has spent the past couple of years working on ground school at SimplyFly over many Saturday mornings, and on Sporty’s through the Young Eagles program during 2020 at home. Linda has really been wonderful at getting him ready for this step this year and we can’t wait to see him continue working through all of the challenges that are ahead of him in the next year and beyond. With aviation you literally never get to say you are done learning, but it sure is a satisfying journey.

Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagles flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at

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