EAA Chapter 677’s fourth Ray scholar, Ainsley Busenbark, EAA 1293707, completed her private pilot checkride in June of this year. Becoming a pilot was not what Ainsley had expected when she first came to 677’s airport in Columbus, Georgia.
“My father encouraged me to take a Young Eagles flight because they were free and they sounded fun,” Ainsley said. “At the time, I was like, ‘I would rather not get in a small airplane. That does not sound very fun.’”
However, despite the fear and anxiety she had, the Young Eagles flight won her over.
“Up until about 10 minutes after the flight, I was completely terrified,” Ainsley said. “Once we got home, I sat and thought about it and thought, ‘I want to do that again.’ As we went along, and kept going to more flights, I just fell in love with it — the community, and just flying itself.”
Ainsley’s sister, Lily Busenbark, EAA 1293705, was 677’s first Ray scholar, and she started her flight training a few years before Ainsley.
“Being able to watch her go through that experience showed me that it was possible,” Ainsley said. “As I was able to watch her go through these things and the freedoms that you would get with your license and how just awesome it can be, I decided that I wanted to do it as well.”
Ainsley’s checkride itself was hectic, with continuous doubts as to whether it would even happen.
“We spent like, I’m not even sure how much time it was, maybe two to three hours just kind of watching the weather, and me every 10 minutes trying to convince the DPE to stay and wait for the weather,” Ainsley said. “Props to him, because he was amazing, very patient with me, because I was very stubborn about taking my checkride.”
“Just how thankful I am for the chapter, because it’s just, all of the opportunities, either aviation or not, have been absolutely amazing,” Ainsley said. “Even if I weren’t going to get my license, even if I didn’t get my scholarship, just everything I’ve gained from this community has been incredible, and I’m so thankful for everything they’ve provided.”
Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagles flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at EAA.org/Submissions.