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'I Flew A Plane': PHS Junior Soars Into Aviation Academy Experience

'I Flew A Plane': PHS Junior Soars Into Aviation Academy Experience

Rose Fanning, a PHS junior, has been completing an Academy Experience with Griffing Flying Service at the Erie Ottawa International Airport located in Port Clinton and working towards her private pilot’s license.

This first-hand learning opportunity has enabled her to log flight hours and gain practical skills needed to achieve her aviation dreams. Griffing Flying Service offers a range of services including flight instruction for people wanting to get their pilot certificates, charter flights to the Lake Erie Islands, and aircraft maintenance and detailing. The company also offers charter flights to distant destinations in its jet and turboprop aircraft, which can be helpful for people wanting to go to cities that don't have airline service.

When asked about her initial expectations, Rose shared that having prior aviation experience, she "knew what was to be expected. It was everything and more that I could ask for."

A memorable moment was her first solo flight.

"I flew a plane alone," she said. "What surprised me about it was that I was not scared or nervous. If anything, I was calm and collected."

The lessons learned from challenging aviation maneuvers will stick with her.

"You have to fail a lot to be able to succeed. You do this by learning from your mistakes."

Through persistence in the face of difficulties with landings and steep turns, she gained broader life insights as well.

Interacting with seasoned pilots also profoundly shaped Rose’s growth.

"My 2 CFIs [certified flight instructor] Spencer and Dave definitely influenced my understanding in many ways," she explained. From flight planning to practical skills, their guidance anchored the experience. Rose still has big goals ahead, but the visit sparked further passion. 

"In the future, I would like to be a 787 Boeing Dreamliner pilot. Which is a very big dream, but I know I can do it."

Rose found the application of classroom concepts to real-world flying scenarios immensely valuable, leading to deeper comprehension.

"Applying things I am learning in the classroom to the sky was my biggest challenge." An "aha" moment occurred when studying engine systems and dual magnetos. The chance to directly see how these theoretical elements operate in practice greatly accelerated learning.

While enduring the demanding training, encouragement from others lifted Rose’s spirits during critical junctures.

"While I was on final on runway 27, a jet approached, the pilot was Mr. Griffing, and as I landed he told me good job. Something that small – 7 letters long – motivated me so much and made me feel as if I had a whole team behind me."

This camaraderie gives students the motivation to persevere.

Rose still has ambitious academic and career goals ahead as she progresses through the aviation program. But the early field site visits have already done much to confirm her passions and refine her course.

Instructor Dave Lapp noted that “Rose has been a very hard-working student, and she is making good progress, even in the times when things are slower due to weather or maintenance slowdowns. By starting her pilot training in high school, she's getting a great head start on her career, which will allow her to reach her longer-term goals sooner.”

By venturing out into real-world flight contexts, students like Rose earn their wings and take the first steps toward making their highest flying dreams real.  

The PHS Academy Experience program empowers students to explore their interests through immersive, hands-on experiences. By connecting high schoolers directly with working professionals and environments related to future careers, the programs unlock possibilities. Students discover more about fields they are curious about, while gaining transferable knowledge and skills for life after graduation as well. Academy Experience opens doors so that students can test-drive future career paths first-hand.

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