Gibson Southern students are taking off after high school

Titans are showing more interest in aviation after high school



Junior Bradyn Epperson is all smiles on his first flying lesson with Gibson Southern Graduate Brant Elpers. Elpers is an instructor at Excell Aviation in Evansville.

Eva Spindler, Reporter

As many students quickly approach their senior year, they are left deciding what career path to choose. Recently, there has been an increased interest in a field that was not talked about very often before.

This year, several students at Gibson Southern have shown interest in pursuing a career as commercial pilots. This curiosity in aviation has not been seen often in past years.

For some people, like senior Eli Chandler, this interest is sparked by seeing a family member work in the industry.

“My dad was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, so he has kind of got me interested in aviation originally,” Chandler said.

Others, like junior Bradyn Epperson, were intrigued by planes as children.

“I was always pretty interested in [flying] as a little boy, like going on trips,” Epperson said. “I always thought that the planes were cool.”

There are different routes people can take to obtain their pilot licenses. Some schools, like Purdue University, provide an academic path to follow.

“They pretty much break it down into a curriculum for you,” Chandler said. “The first semester you get your private pilot license, second semester you will get your instrument rating. Third semester you get your commercial license, and you get your dual engine rating. After that you get your CFI, which is your certified flight instructor, which is how you get your hours in.”

In order to fly for an airline as a commercial pilot, you must fly 1500 hours. Following a curriculum like Purdue offers, getting your pilot license is about a three year process.

“Right now I’m taking classes after school,” Epperson said. “I think I’m 10 hours away, maybe, from getting that. Then, I’m going to college after that.”

After getting a commercial pilot license and completing 1500 hours of flying with a CFI, a person can start training and flying for an airline. Most people choose to start flying with a major airline.

“I would like to fly with Delta airlines,” senior Bentley Dillbeck said.

Along with getting a license and completing the hours, one must also pass a medical exam.

“There is pretty much a medical examination,” Chandler said. “They call it your medical. There are just certain standards you have to meet.”

There are different requirements for having a pilot license and being a commercial pilot. To fly for an airline, a person must have a restricted ATP, air transport pilot certificate. There are also different certifications, like the 1500 hours required to fly for an airline. One also must go through the training for the specific type of aircraft they will fly.

“[I will get my pilot license in] seven months if I go into this ATP program after high school,” Dillbeck said.