Kaylin Hart has been surrounded by aviators her whole life. Her grandfather flew PBY Catalina seaplanes and Martin PBM Mariner patrol bomber flying boats in World War II. His flying career and aviation bedtime stories had a great influence on his son, Bob Hart.
Bob grew up to love aviation just as much as, maybe even more than his father. He flew competitive aerobatics for a number of years, served as former IAC Chapter 1 president, and currently flies for United Airlines.
The aviation bug didn’t just stop there. Bob passed it on to his oldest daughter, EAA staffer Megan Hart, who started soloing in gliders at the age of 14 before eventually getting her sport pilot certificate.
Coming from a family rich in aviation love, it’s no surprise that Kaylin would someday start flying too.
She started flying during the summer of 2019 at the age of 18. That summer Kaylin got her tailwheel endorsement and soloed for the first time in her father’s Piper Cub, the same airplane that her sister Megan soloed in.
Unable to continue flying due to cost, Kaylin’s progress toward receiving her private pilot certificate came to a halt.
Kaylin’s EAA chapter, 932, located at Galt Airport in Wonder Lake, Illinois, surprised her when they chose her as the Ed Moricoli Memorial Flight Training Scholarship recipient.
Ed Moricoli was EAA Chapter 932’s former president, and was an avid aviation enthusiast and student pilot at Galt. Sadly, Ed died before his dream of earning his pilot certificate came true. In honor of Ed, his positive attitude, and his passion for flying, the chapter decided to name a scholarship after him, dedicated to helping young enthusiasts pursuit their dream of flight.
“Ed was a very active volunteer in 932, and it made it even more of an honor to get it because I’m a very active volunteer in 932,” Kaylin said. “I got it because of my volunteerism, and knowing how involved he was in the chapter made it extra special.”
Kaylin was awarded $6,000 through the scholarship, and was able to continue on the path of becoming a private pilot. While she said she is very grateful for the money, she is even more grateful for the people she has met throughout the process of earning her certificate.
“I would have never been able to do anything this summer without the scholarship, but the people who are part of the scholarship committee — how much they took me under their wing and made sure I had all the resources I needed and more to get this done — ended up being an arm and a leg more valuable than the money,” Kaylin said. “The relationships I made throughout receiving this scholarship will last me a lifetime.”
As the checkride date was rapidly approaching, Kaylin became nervous. Her odds of flying didn’t look good. The weather was forecast to be rainy with high winds.
“It wasn’t looking good, it was kind of scuzzy in the morning, but then literally, on the dot, the minute I finished my oral the skies cleared up and we were able to go do the checkride,” she said.
On July 22, Kaylin’s hard work paid off as she passed her checkride with flying colors.
“I was nervous but my examiner was just unbelievably awesome and super cool, so he made it super easy to make it through it,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better day. After I passed it, it was just the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders and I’m so thrilled to have it done.”
Kaylin’s family and “Galt family” were standing close by to congratulate her after passing her checkride. Megan said she couldn’t be prouder of her sister and is looking forward to flying together.
“Kaylin doesn’t just achieve her goals; she crushes them,” Megan said. “When she dedicates herself to something, absolutely nothing can stop her. When she received the Ed Moricoli scholarship, Kay was in the air the very next day and almost every day after until she had a private pilot ticket in her hand on July 22. I can’t express in words how proud I am of my sister’s accomplishments and can’t wait for all our aviation adventures together!”
Right now, Kaylin is taking life easy and enjoying her newfound freedom in the sky. As for the future, she says she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and flight instruct someday.
“I would really like to flight instruct, so I’m going to do some longer cross-countries to gain the 50 hours I need for my instrument rating,” she said.
Congratulations, Kaylin, and we wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors!
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 EAA.org/submissions.