By Ron Reinartz, EAA Lifetime 298952
On April 16, 2021, EAA Chapter 501’s first Ray Aviation Scholarship was awarded to Beck Youngberg, EAA 1389108. On May 3, 2022, he successfully completed his practical examination for a private pilot certificate.
The required steps were clearly defined and agreed to by Beck, his parents, his instructor, and the chapter coordinator. A serious commitment for a young man, fueled by a passion to take the first step in becoming a professional pilot. With the support and guidance of the aforementioned group, Beck began his quest to achieve the earning of his wings.
Beck’s first milestone was completing his solo within the first 90 days. Mission accomplished on June 24, 2021, a little more than two months after being awarded the scholarship. On that day, the skies were clear, a light breeze blew down the runway with bright sunshine, all contributing to a successful solo flight.
We knew that Lightspeed had offered the first 90 scholars to solo a Lightspeed Zulu 3 Headset. Being the end of June, we quickly completed the paperwork and forwarded the required documentation to EAA and Lightspeed. Beck tried not to think about the headset, but focused on preparing for his trip to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021. Luckily, Beck was within the allotted group, and his headset showed up a couple of days prior to his trip. Headset in hand, he successfully directed traffic, parking aircraft on the AirVenture South 40 for three days.
The second milestone was successfully passing the private pilot written exam within six months of initiating flight training. Beck did plenty of home study with the Cessna ground school course, groundwork with his instructor, and Saturday sessions with the scholarship coordinator, working through a Gleim FAA Knowledge Test guide, to ensure a thorough preparation for the exam. Then, on September 4, Beck successfully passed the FAA written test, ahead of schedule, since it was a required milestone by six months, and we were only four months in.
The third and last milestone was the private pilot practical exam, which couldn’t be taken until Beck’s 17th birthday on February 10. To reach that milestone over the next few months would require significant additional training. In this phase came the cross-country training, night training, instrument training, unusual attitudes, performance takeoffs and landings, and emergencies. In addition, solo flight, flying cross country, including a trip of at least 150 miles, landing at two additional airports.
My how time flew by, as did the snow and colder weather, all of which was further complicated by COVID-19. Staying healthy was the goal of everyone at the flight school as well as Beck.
February 10 was looming on the horizon and much of the required training was completed. Approximately one month prior to Beck’s birthday, coordination with the DPE was initiated to provide Beck the opportunity to secure his certificate on his birthday, date confirmed!
It was just two days away from Beck’s birthday, when the forecast showed Mother Nature now promised some wet and windy weather for the impending practical examination.
On February 10, the DPE met with Beck at Aero Safety Training, in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. The weather was inhospitable, strong winds and overcast skies, yet the oral portion proceeded to a successful conclusion. The flight portion was postponed until the weather and the DPE’s schedule could accommodate Beck. The expectation was a couple of weeks. As the days and weeks rolled by, and just prior to the rescheduled flight portion of the test, a disaster in the family of the DPE occurred, which required his absence for the next three weeks.
Finally, almost three full months after the initial meeting on February 10, Beck and the DPE met again. They repeated the oral portion of the exam, then proceeded to the flight portion where Beck demonstrated his skills as a private pilot, meeting or exceeding all requirements of the ACS. At the conclusion of this May 3, 2022, FAA private pilot exam, Beck was presented his temporary airman certificate.
Please join me in congratulating Beck on his achieving this goal. It was completed with the help of the Ray Aviation Foundation Scholarship, EAA, the complete support of his mother and father, his flight instructor, the members of EAA Chapter 501, and the chapter scholarship coordinator.
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.