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Why I Fly - Andrew K.

Andrew is a passionate student and aviation enthusiast. Read his story below on how he caught the "bug" and how he wants to be apart of aviation going forward.

A couple years ago while my mom and sister were gripping the armrests of their seats while our 767 turned onto the runway, I was listening to ATC and talking about what was happening. They don’t particularly like to fly... I on the other hand was loving every minute of it. My mom remembers me talking with no end about aircraft and flight during that flight. Eventually she asked me what I wanted to do when I was older. At that time, I didn't know what I wanted to do as long as it was hands-on and engaging. She suggested being a pilot which was never something that I had considered before. From that day onward, a new passion was ignited.

Here's Andrew on final with CFI Mikey.

I spent my free time watching videos explaining what it is like being a pilot. Before I got my drivers license I would beg my parents to drive me to Pease so I could watch the planes take off. I live below the final approach for RWY 16, and every time I heard the rumble of an aircraft in the distance, I would drop what I was doing to run downstairs and into my front yard so I could find out what it was! For my 16th birthday my parents got me a discovery flight at CHI. I was counting down the days. That morning when they drove me to the airport I was so excited! What was it like to be in the cockpit? Will I like it? Is it going to be fun? It was amazing! I loved being able to experience the controls of the aircraft and how they all worked together to make the airplane fly! It was the first time I was on the other side of the fence that I had spent countless hours spotting through. It was an amazing gift my parents had given me, furthering my new passion. Being a pilot didn’t seem so distant, I could see how to do it, and that was an amazing thing. When I got my drivers license I grabbed my mom's camera, and drove down to Pease most days after school taking pictures of anything I could, and learning from the other spotters about aircraft identification and anything else they said. By this time COVID was in full effect and going to the airport to watch planes gave me a safe activity to escape to while everything else was closed.

Below are some of Andrew's photos of aircraft that visit PSM. Check out his Instagram @psm.spotter

Within the next year I got my own camera and became more involved with other spotters and learned about the military aircraft that came through Pease. I had been dead set on commercial aviation until some F-16s stopped over one week. Watching them fly was the most amazing thing and it ignited a new interest in military aviation. I saw how effortlessly these pilots and their aircraft sliced through the sky, and how much experience they must have. I went home and told my parents I knew I wanted to take the first step and become a military pilot.

I called CHI and booked my first lesson, signed up for ground school, and knew that it was within my reach to get a job in the sky. Since then, I've been using the money I had saved up from summer jobs to help me get there! I am loving every minute at CHI and the airport and can say with certainty that aviation is my passion, and I am so excited for the rest of my time working towards my PPL and beyond. The reason #WhyiFly is because I've spent so much time experiencing aviation on the outside of the fence. I want to spend the rest of my life on the other side, and in the sky.

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