Eagle River's Kyle Frost, 17, poses inside the Cessna 172 he used to earn his pilot's license.
STAR PHOTOs by mike nesper
Soon after Kyle Frost was walking, he knew what his life's passion was aviation. On Saturday, Aug. 13, Frost took a major step toward turning that passion into a career by earning his private pilot's license at age 17.
"I've known I've wanted to fly since before I was four years old," said the Eagle River High junior. "Now that I'm old enough to do it, I just went out and did it."
Few people Frost's age get their pilot's license, said Patrick O'Hare, who's been an instructor since 1975.
"He should be proud of what he accomplished," O'Hare said.
Frost flew a Cessna 172 daily out of Birchwood Airport over two months this summer to comple the required 40 hours of flight time about half of which was done solo.
"I was pumped," Frost said of his reaction after earning the license. "I was on top of the world."
As Frost's instructor, O'Hare also celebrated as he does with all of his students.
"When they get their license, I get a little bit of pride, too," he said.
Most people need 80 hours before they can demonstrate the necessary flying skills during a flight test, O'Hare said. Completing the course in 40 hours shows the pilot is committed an apt description of Frost, he said.
"He's a good, hardworking kid," O'Hare said. "I wish I had a dozen more like him."
Frost studied the material, passed required written tests and came prepared every day, O'Hare said.
"He's very committed," he said. "He studied real hard. He put a lot of effort into it."
Most people who get their pilot's license do so in their 40s or 50s, O'Hare said. High-schoolers make the best aviation students, he said, because adults have to unlearn habits before they can learn to fly. Teens are also in the academic mode of learning, O'Hare said.
Frost, a junior at Eagle River High School, wants to become a commercial pilot, and has a goal of earning his commerical certificate by the time he graduates from high school.
"It's an excellent time for them to get involved in aviation," he said.
Frost said he doesn't know what drew him to aviation, but he's always had an innate interest in it.
"I love flying. It's that simple," he said. "It's just something I was born with."
Each time he lifts off, the experience is different, Frost said.
"It's a thrill. It's like nothing you can experience anywhere else in the world," he said.
Frost is already working on the next phase of his aviation career. His is studying for an Instrument Flight Rating, which will allow him to fly in the clouds.
After that, Frost will go for his Commercial Pilot Certificate. Frost said he hopes to accomplish both by the time he graduates from high school.
To do so, Frost said he is putting in hours of work each day.
"It's a full-time commitment," he said.
Frost's ultimate goal is to turn flying into a career, he said.
Frost said his father, Gregg, who also has his private pilot's license, and his mother fully trust him piloting a plane.
"Both of my parents are extremely supportive," he said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.