ASMS Senior Riley Cushing of Madison, Ala., recently earned his Private Pilot’s License, allowing him to pilot private aircraft.
To obtain the license, Cushing had to pass an extensive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) written exam, complete 40-hours of flight training, and pass the FAA check-ride. Cushing credits his initial written exam success to physics instructor Dr. Victor Irby’s Flight Studies class at ASMS.
The course reviewed basic flight procedures, reviewed FAA guidelines, and prepared students for the written exam required to obtain a pilot’s license.
“ASMS probably saved me around a good $2,000 to obtain my pilot’s license because they offer the class to us for free,” Cushing says.
As a pilot, Dr. Irby was also able to give Cushing tips and practical advice to use on the exam and in training. Once the course ended, Cushing returned home for summer break and invested in a local instructor to oversee his flight training. He rented a Cessna-172 from his local airport and spent his summer preparing for the check-ride.
“I spent probably 24 of the 48 hours leading up to my exam preparing for it either at the airport… or actually flying,” Cushing says. “If you lose x amount of altitude you fail.” The check-ride consisted of both an oral and practical portion to test his knowledge of FAA regulations, emergency procedures, specialty landings, and cross-country flying.”
Cushing initially became interested in aviation after participating in the Brookley STEM Initiative. Through the STEM Initiative, students have the opportunity of attending the National Flight Academy in Pensacola and meet local businesses involved with aviation.
“Before the Brookley STEM Initiative, I didn’t really consider military aviation as a legitimate career option,” Cushing says. “I was basically going to be a doctor or a chemist, but those didn’t feel right. Brookley exposed me to different career options.”
After graduation, Cushing hopes to continue studying Naval Aviation at either the Air Force Academy or the United States Naval Academy.
The above article was written by ASMS senior Madeleine Dotson, who serves on the 2018-2019 Student Marketing Team.