Kaminski takes flight
While most students spend their time after school doing activities in classrooms, gyms, or outside on one of the various fields, junior Matt Kaminski spends his time up in the sky. Kaminski takes flying lessons at the Hummingbird Aviation Flying School, spending one to three days a week, for an hour and a half to two hours each session, learning how to be a pilot.
With flying lessons lacking much predictability, Kaminski never knows what to expect going into one. “They are always spontaneous, I never know what I’m going to do until I get there. I have two instructors; one of them was a Vietnam helicopter pilot, and the other one was an air battle manager, which is someone who is responsible of making sure the mission is executed,” said Kaminski.
With much to learn on his track to pilothood, Kaminski is often tested with challenging instructions during his lessons, including procedures on how to avoid tragedy, such as making an emergency landing. “Sometimes my instructor will turn the engine off, and we start gliding towards the ground, and we look for somewhere to land,” said Kaminski.
Although Kaminski attends a flying school, he’s not interested in being just an average pilot. “I want to go to the Air Force Academy for college, eventually get into the Air Force from there, and be a fighter pilot,” said Kaminski.
Kaminski will not soon forget what it was like flying for his first time. “My instructor started stalling the plane to see what I would do, but he didn’t tell me that he was going to do that, so it was really unexpected and nerve-racking,” said Kaminski.
It may be a fun, different activity to try, but aviation is no cakewalk. “The mental aspect is the hardest part. You can’t fly with any emotions; you need to be calm. It’s also really frustrating when you can’t do or understand something. It took me about two days of practice before I was finally able to land by myself for the first time,” said Kaminski.
Surprisingly, the thing that makes Kaminski the most nervous doesn’t have anything to do with actually flying the plane. “I hate talking on the radio. The first time I had to talk on the radio to the control tower, I was really nervous because I didn’t want to screw up and say something wrong,” said Kaminski.
Kaminski intends to get his pilot license soon, since he began flying in July. “When your instructor feels like you’re ready, they’ll give you a certificate, which lets you fly by yourself,” said Kaminski.
Once Kaminski obtains his license, he does not plan on getting a plane because he won’t have much time to fly it recreationally. “After high school I will be gone for 14 years. It’s a 14-year commitment for the four years in the academy and a 10-year commitment if you become a fighter pilot,” said Kaminski.
With everything there is to learn and practice about flying, Kaminski has found the part of flying he enjoys the most. “It’s not like driving on the road; there are no lines that you need to follow. You feel free. It’s limitless,” said Kaminski.