Senior soars with new pilot license


Senior James Mews shakes hands with his flight insturctor, Allen Kash, after landing his first solo flight in a Cessna 172. Mews has started the process to get his pilot’s license.

Sarah Kearby, Lifestyles Editor

Senior James Mews flew up, up, and away.  Trees became specs in the distance, as he flew into the air to obtain his pilot’s license.

Mews’ family background helped him decide to get his pilot’s license. “Many of my family members have been pilots, including my dad, and I drove by the airport one day and thought, why not try? I’ve always wanted to fly,” Mews said.

Mews knew he had a lot of work ahead of him. A pilot’s license requires 40 hours total of flight time, 10 of which are solo flight locally, five hours of dual cross country, five hours of solo cross country, 10 take offs and landings at a controlled airport, and 10 take offs and landings during the night.

“After the class, I have to pass the written test and once all that’s finished, I have to pass my check ride,” Mews said.

Mews also faced “the challenge of earning the trust of a new instructor,” when his original instructor took a new job with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C.

Mews decided it was all worth it because, “by far, the best part of flying is the feeling.  In the air, when I am in full control of the plane, I feel a sensation of peace. There isn’t any traffic or any other plane within miles.  It’s an extremely calm feeling,” Mews said.

According to Mews, most of the time flying is relaxing, except when things don’t go exactly as planned. On Mews’ first solo cross country flight, a nasty weather report made things tricky. He had to turn around due to an approaching storm.

“When I finally landed, the cloud level was almost down to 1,400 feet [1,500 feet below the limit his instructor had set] and visibility was getting bad. When I got out of the plane and talked to the instructor, he said that 20 minutes after I left, the storms started to come through,” Mews said.

Mews flies a Cessna 172 out of Harford Air, which is the airfield associated with the Churchville airport. He has to plan times with the instructor and reserve a plane, which are typically scheduled for about two hours. Cross country flights and dual flights, when a student flies with an instructor, are scheduled for four hours.

“Once I get my license, I am hoping to go to Embry Riddle, an aeronautical and aviation college, and there I am hoping to get my commercial license and maybe become a pilot for an airline,” Mews said.

Sarah Kearby is a Lifestyles Editor for The Patriot and