Sky is the limit for Happy Valley senior

Published 8:31 am Monday, November 11, 2019

Happy Valley High School senior Cameron Slone completed his first ever solo flight just a few weeks ago, taking a large step forward towards his dream of being a seasoned pilot.

“It is definitely a blessing,” Slone said. “I will never forget it.”

He said he has been taking the flight class for at least two years, headed by teacher Shannon Drinnon.

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The solo flight, which took place on October 14, was the culmination of countless hours of studying and practice beforehand. Out of the whole class, he said he is the only one to have done this outside of class time.

There is a lot of studying,” he said. “I have been reading every night.”

He said the hardest part about landing a plane is the final landing. Neither takeoff nor touchdown typically involve simply flying straight ahead at an upward or downward angle. Instead, pilots typically fly in a box-pattern, making repeated left turns in a sort of spiral formation. Slone said this is partially so the pilot can have more time to study the terrain and determine how best to approach it.

Despite the difficulty, he said the view from the cockpit is worth the effort it takes to get up there.

“I love looking over the mountains,” he said. “It puts the world in a different perspective.”

Since he got into flying, Slone said he has been pursuing a private pilot’s license by the time he graduates next May.

“I did not think it would be possible,’ he said. “It has been a crazy ride.”

The community has his back, however. When Slone hurt his back in a football game last year, he ended up talking with the principal about what he wanted to do in life if football did not work out. Community member Louie Greene said he wanted to give out $5,000 scholarships to a pilot and a pianist. Slone said the money he received from Greene has helped pay for his flight classes.

“It is an amazing experience to see all your hard work come together,” he said. “It gives you butterflies every time.”

With that milestone under his belt, Slone said he will continue putting in the hours necessary for his license, as well as the medical evaluation that deems him sound enough to fly.

Once that comes to pass, Slone said he hopes to fly either in the military or in an airline.

“I just want to travel the world,” he said.

Until then, the sky is the limit.