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Aero Club offers pilot training classes

Tim Taylor, Edwards Aero Club full-time flight instructor, checks one of the wings of a Cessna aircraft. The club provides many stages of flight training, from introductory flight to solo, then on to private, commercial and instructors' ratings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

Tim Taylor, Edwards Aero Club full-time flight instructor, checks one of the wings of a Cessna aircraft. The club provides many stages of flight training, from introductory flight to solo, then on to private, commercial and instructors' ratings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

Aero Club features a fleet of six single-engine fixed-wing aircraft as well as licensed instructors, which include a chief and two full-time flight instructors. Active-duty personnel, retired military, Reserve component members, Reserves Officer Training Corps cadets, civilian Department of Defense employees, Civilian Air Patrol members, government contractors and others who support the DoD mission and their family members are all eligible to join.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

Aero Club features a fleet of six single-engine fixed-wing aircraft as well as licensed instructors, which include a chief and two full-time flight instructors. Active-duty personnel, retired military, Reserve component members, Reserves Officer Training Corps cadets, civilian Department of Defense employees, Civilian Air Patrol members, government contractors and others who support the DoD mission and their family members are all eligible to join.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

Tim Taylor, Edwards Aero Club full-time flight instructor, checks the cockpit of a Cessna aircraft. Aero Club provides many stages of flight training, from introductory flight to solo, then on to private, commercial and instructors' ratings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

Tim Taylor, Edwards Aero Club full-time flight instructor, checks the cockpit of a Cessna aircraft. Aero Club provides many stages of flight training, from introductory flight to solo, then on to private, commercial and instructors' ratings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Ever since 2nd Lt. Marissa Lentowski was a child, she has always wanted to fly. However, when she had learned that her height disqualified her from flying for the Air Force, she decided to take a different route to fulfill her love for flight.

The Edwards Aero Club served as "Daedalus" to Lieutenant Lentowski's "Icarus," just like the Greek myth about humans' quest for flight.

For two months now, the 419th Flight Test Squadron operations engineer and test conductor for the B-1 Lancer has been taking classes from the club to complete her license.

"The Aero Club's primary purpose is to provide recreational flight training and aircraft rental services to eligible members," said Tim Taylor, Aero Club full-time flight instructor.

As part of its private pilot license training, the training facility provides many stages of flight training, from introductory flight to solo, then on to private, instrument, commercial and instructors' ratings. Active-duty personnel, retired military, Reserve component members, Reserves Officer Training Corps cadets, civilian Department of Defense employees, Civil Air Patrol members, government contractors and others who support the DoD mission and their family members are all eligible to join the Aero Club.

"We teach students how to safely operate aircraft in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration standards," Mr. Taylor said. "We also help members maintain currency for their existing pilot licenses. In addition, we provide rental aircraft for licensed pilots."

As a Federal Aviation Regulation Part 141 certified training center, the Aero Club features a fleet of six single-engine fixed-wing aircraft as well as licensed instructors, which include a chief pilot and two full-time flight instructors.

"I enjoyed working with the people at the Aero Club," said Lieutenant Lentowski, who has been flying since June. "They were helpful and encouraging."

Prior to attending classes, interested students must pass a medical examination performed by aviation medical examiners and apply for Aero Club membership. They also have to buy a ground school training kit, which includes computer-based training. Active-duty members may be able to use tuition assistance up to 100 percent. The minimum Part 141 requirements to obtain a private pilot license are 20 hours dual instruction and 15 hours solo.

"Flight and ground training are simultaneous," Mr. Taylor said. "The students prepare by watching a ground school lesson before the flight, and the instructors reinforce those lessons in the airplane. Our instructors address deficient areas and slowly introduce more maneuvers."

According to Lieutenant Lentowski, each flight brings new challenges as students progress through the lessons.

"But each challenge makes me want to learn more and try my best to get it right," she said. "Even though these flights are difficult, I am excited and anxious for each one."

Mr. Taylor said Aero Club exposes people to what aviation is really all about.

"Most people have, at one time or another, dreamt of being able to fly," he said. "General aviation allows that dream to become a reality. It opens a new dimension full of opportunities, which only those who fly will ever be able to experience."

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(For more information, call Edwards Aero Club at 275-2376 or visit https://www.edwardsfss.com/recreation/aero-club.)