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HomeEducationFlying High—three local teens take to the skies

Flying High—three local teens take to the skies

Zach Meyer grew up in Glen Burnie, a few miles from Baltimore/Washington International Airport. But what sparked his interest in flight was a family trip to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., when he was four or five years old.

“We saw an IMAX movie there called “Straight Up: Helicopters in Action,” and it showcased some of the missions that helicopters and their crews perform every day around the world,” Zach says. “It really caught my attention and is probably one of the biggest reasons why I’ve always wanted to find a career in aviation.”

Zach’s dream is coming to fruition through the Professional Pilot-Helicopter Program, part of the Technology, Engineering and Mathematics pathway at the Community College of Baltimore County. The two-year program allows students to earn an associate degree in Aviation Technology, along with a commercial rotorcraft license. Zach was able to transfer his AP credits from Annapolis Area Christian School, allowing him to spend his first semester in the program focusing on aviation classes such as Private Pilot Ground School and Aviation History.Zach Meyer 1

“Hands down, my favorite part of this program is the flight training aspect,” says Zach. “No class can hold a candle to flying helicopters!”

Zach was able to start flight training in February, during his second full semester. He was able to earn his Private Rotorcraft License in July and he’s currently about halfway to getting his instrument add-on rating. He is on track to graduate from CCBC in May of 2019 with his associate degree and commercial pilot license. He plans on enlisting in the United States Army and applying to serve as a warrant officer and pilot.

Lauren Tuley2Lauren Tuley is a junior at Chesapeake High School. When she is not in school, you’ll likely find her at the airport. “Since my dad is a duty maintenance manager for British Airways, it allows me to travel the world with my family,” Lauren says. “One day I decided the only way to keep that up was to become a pilot. My parents said when you are old enough you can try it, so I am.”

The minimum age to obtain a Student Pilot Certificate is 16. Lauren received her certificate in August and is currently working on her private pilot license through the Gleim Online Ground School to prepare for the Private Pilot FAA written exam. The actual flight lessons are through the Chesapeake Sport Pilot, located at the Bay Bridge Airport in Stevensville. “Before I signed up for flight school, I took an introductory flight. I’ve been in the air almost every flight lesson since then.”

The online ground school lessons allow Lauren to progress at her own pace, and in the summer she scheduled flight lessons up to four times per week. During the school year she tries to get in the air at least once or twice a week.

After high school, Lauren would like to attend Florida Institute of Technology, which has aeronautics and programs with flight school options. She wants to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License, which requires a minimum of 1,500 hours of flying. “It’s going to be a while. I want to fly long hauls and go places.”

Nick Novak 3

Nick Novak is a junior at Glen Burnie High School and well on his path to a career in aviation, following in his father’s footsteps as a member of the Civil Air Patrol. “My father has been involved in CAP ever since he was my age. By the time I joined at age sixteen I had a lot of useful prior knowledge,” Nick says.

The Civil Air Patrol serves as the official U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and is tasked by with the three main missions: aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services, such as search and rescue. Cadets range in age from 12 to 21. Those over 18 have the options such as to fly aircraft on Air Force-assigned missions. Younger cadets can participate in ground search-and-rescue missions.
“The cadet Program is based around military drill and discipline and gives cadets many opportunities most other kids don’t have,” Nick says, “such as flying aircraft at the age of twelve. We wear Air Force uniforms and have a rank and promotion structure that is based off of achievements.

After high school, Nick hopes to attend the U.S. Naval Academy to study aerospace engineering. “Then my goal is to hopefully receive my commission in the Marine Corps as a fighter pilot or infantry officer,” he says. If he attends a service academy, Nick will remain a cadet until he is 21, striving to attain the highest cadet achievement possible.


About the Flight Programs

The Community College of Baltimore County offers academic and applied training to prepare students for air traffic control, aircraft dispatcher, professional pilot, flight operations management, and flight attendant careers. ccbcmd.edu/aviation

Gleim Aviation offers the The Gleim Online Ground School—Private Pilot, a self-directed study course designed to prepare students for the FAA knowledge tests.

Chesapeake Sport Pilot at the Bay Bridge Airport offers sport, recreational and private pilot lessons. chesapeakesportpilot.com

The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is a “year-round program where Cadets fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits.” Civil Air Patrol cadets typically participate in a 2-hour squadron meeting each week, plus one “Saturday” event monthly and one week-long encampment in summer. mdwg.cap.gov

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