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The Print

Fallston Senior Earns Pilot’s License

Rob Chilcoat flying solo! (Photo Courtesy of Rob Chilcoat)

Many people figure out what they want to do early, but few start early to accomplish it. Senior Rob Chilcoat has just earned his pilot’s license at the age of 17 and is now that much closer to becoming an airline pilot. 

He says, “I earned my pilot license at such a young age because I have always had a great appreciation for aviation and the earlier you earn your license and start building flight hours, the better.”  

Starting the process with his first initial flight lesson on January 5, 2022, Rob worked for roughly 2 years before earning the certification on January 22, 2024. Rob spent every weekend during that time studying to pass the PPL check-ride and says, “It was a long and difficult journey, but I enjoyed every second of it!” He learned to fly through the First-Class Flight Academy and Brett Aviation and his base airport, Martin State Airport (KMTN). He did his ground school training with Rod Machado. 

The hardest part for Rob was “the bookwork and studying to get it all straight in [his] mind.” But he had to do a lot more than just study because the requirements for a Private Pilot License include 40 hours learning the ground school course, which is the bookwork side of aviation. He also had to complete another 40 hours of flying with a breakdown of 20 hours with an instructor, 10 hours solo, 3 hours at night, 3 hours of simulated instrument, and a 150-mile cross-country flight with 3 full-stop landings. In addition to those 80 hours (about 3 and a half days), Rob also had to get his Third-Class medical certification.  

His favorite memory throughout the entire process was his first solo flight. He says, “It was so cool to just be doing it by myself and it was truly a special moment that I look back on fondly.” 

Soaring, flying, seeing the sun from a whole new level! (Photo Courtesy of @robchilcoat on Instagram)

 Throughout the process, Rob says that he flew in a variety of different aircrafts. “I have flown in a Cessna 172S, Cessna 172R, and a Cirrus SR-20,” he explained. “But my main aircraft is the Cessna 172S.” 

Once he obtained all of the requirements, he needed to pass a written test with a minimum score of 70%, an oral exam with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), which is when they ask you questions for about 2 hours, and then a practical test, which is when you show your skills in the airplane with the DPE. 

 Now that he’s earned his pilot’s license, he is currently working on his Instrument Rating training, which is the next step in becoming an airline pilot. He says, “I currently have logged 95.2 total flight hours, and 256 landings.” 

 He plans to continue flying at his home-base but is headed to Towson University to study business with hopes of eventually becoming a pilot for his favorite airline, Southwest.  

 If he could say anything to others who are trying to attain their pilot’s license it would be this:  “Stay dedicated as much as you can and don’t lose track of all of your progress.” 

 Congratulations to Rob Chilcoat on his achievement and all the hard work that went into it and Good Luck with your future endeavors! 

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About the Contributor
Julianna Mullen
Julianna Mullen, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Julianna Mullen is a senior and a third-year journalism student. Aside from her role as one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief, she is an involved member of the FHS community: she runs for the school's track and cross-country teams, is the leader of Voices of Equity and German Club, does Morning Announcements, and is an avid member of the Fallston Drama Company. Julianna plans to continue pursuing her passions as an Environmental Sustainability major, International relations minor, and collegiate runner at Ursinus College. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling to new places. She loves to write news-like feature stories and is excited for the successful year ahead for The Print Staff. 
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