Flying High

Madison Bolin, Staff Writer

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Michael Whelan, a senior at Carolina Forest High, is starting his journey to his career early by taking flight lessons at the Myrtle Beach Academy of Aviation. Michael has been taking flight lessons for about six months now, and he’s already able to fly by himself.  He has a total of thirty five hours of flying and five hours alone flying. Whelan should have his private pilot’s license by the end of this school year and then is on to the next part of the many steps in his journey.

Whelan said, “The scariest thing that has ever happened to me while he was flying is the wind unexpectedly changed drastically and almost tipped over my  plane while trying to land.”

Even though Whelan is still just a student, he has flown to many places already, such as Murrells Inlet, around Myrtle Beach Airport, to Florence Regional Airport and back and to the  Wilmington Airport as well.

Whelan has learned many piloting skills within his training. He rehearses many drills so he know how to recover his plane if it stalls during takeoff and landing. He also goes through training to deal with steep turns in case of an important change in direction. He is also learning how to fly his plane using the ground as reference in case the instruments in his plane stop working. Whelan must know his plane inside and out. He must know what everything in the plane does and has to check to make sure that every part is working correctly before takeoff.

Whelan flies the Cessna 172M. Some other skills that Whelan must know is how to communicate with air traffic control and  how to calculate if his plane is regulated to fly with the weight it is carrying. How to plan a flight to various different airports and also how to understand all the markings on airports and navigating around all airports is also important.

Whelan has started his career in aviation very early. He still has a long way to go before he is fully ready, but he will not give up on his dream no matter how hard things may get.

Whelan also shared, “I hope to one day work for a big airliner and fly all over the world.”

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