By Natalie Miles, EAA 1478672
After rigorous training, late nights, early mornings, and lots of support, I have officially earned the title of private pilot. Words cannot describe how happy and grateful I am for this opportunity. I have completed the first step in my goal to become a pilot for United Airlines. I am extremely grateful to EAA, United Aviate Academy, and my instructors/classmates who helped me to reach this point in my training. A bit of weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and in return exchanged for ideas to help build the future generation, Young Eagles. The nerves of a checkride tend to be overwhelming at times. After I completed my preflight and started the engine, I prepared for my taxi. As I went to disengage the parking brake, I noticed how shaky I was. My legs could barely lift my feet to press the pedals. This made me more nervous because I did not want to start my checkride with an unsteady taxi. To make matters worse, my DPE was hanging onto the grip handle with both hands as if he was terrified.
I took a deep breath and realized I was overthinking the matter. My DPE was simply sitting comfortably in his seat and I was well prepared to pass this flight. I taxied to the run-up area and checked to make sure my instruments worked properly. I continued to the staging area to request my departure clearance from ATC. As I taxied onto the runway and took off, I started my first flight carrying a passenger, my DPE. I completed my takeoffs and landings: soft field, short field, slip to land, no flap landing, touch and go, and go around. From there I navigated to the practice area to execute my maneuvers, VOR tracking, unusual attitude recoveries, and emergency procedures. The flight was very relaxed and I never became nervous in the air. I trusted in my training and knowledge to have a safe, satisfactory checkride flight. When I shut off the engine, my DPE shook my hand to congratulate me on becoming a private pilot. As I pranced into dispatch, a few of my friends were waiting for me. They all were so happy and congratulated me. I was extremely grateful for their support. I could not have done this without the help and support of EAA. The rest of the day was perfect. I could not have asked for anything more.
Natalie Miles, EAA 1478672, is currently pursuing her aviation dreams at the United Aviate Academy. She will be updating her progress on a regular basis as a scholarship student in the flight training program, where she has just completed her first month. Natalie received a joint scholarship at The Gathering 2022 from the EAA Aviation Foundation and United Aviate Academy. United Aviate is a major supporter and sponsor of the AeroEducate program.