Curt and René’s daughter, Brooke, just hit a huge milestone in flight school on Wednesday, officially “earning her wings” by receiving her private pilot’s license, allowing her to fly just about anywhere in the country in a single-engine aircraft.
Although the process from her first solo to earning her PPL was a relatively quick one, Brooke said it wasn’t easy, considering she had to make her first cross-country solo, followed by a night cross-country solo that was particularly difficult and required her to land at a Class C airport for the first time.
“The cross-country solo was cool, but it was a little weird being up there by myself,” Brooke said. “There was lots of traffic. The night cross-country was brutal. We went to West Palm, which was my first time going into a class Charlie, which was really cool. It was at night, so you get the white rabbit, which is like a runway and identifier light that just shoots at the runway, which was really fun.”
Her night cross-country wasn’t just one flight, either. In order to earn her PPL, Brooke had to make a number of takeoffs and landings, making it a longer day that she anticipated.
“Why it was brutal was because you have to do 10 takeoffs and landings, then we did one go-around, so it almost felt like 11,” Brooke said. “I started at like 8:30, and we went until like 1:00 in the morning, so it was a long night.”
To make matters even more interesting, Brooke had to takeoff after a neighboring Boeing 737 airliner, which made her feel like a “tiny little bug on their windshield,” she said.
Following her cross-country flights, Brooke got to work on perfecting her basic maneuvers and her ability to takeoff and land from short-field and soft-field runways.
“The other maneuvers that you do after your first solo are short-field and soft-field landings and takeoffs, with an obstacle and without an obstacle,” Brooke said. “We did practice emergency descents, which are fun, then steep turns, which are a lot of fun, then other than that it’s just stalls and my solo flight.”
Once she perfected her maneuvers and runway requirements, Brooke moved on to her practical, which was her final check ride to earn her PPL, as well as an oral exam. Combined, Brooke said those two tests took a total of close to six and a half hours.
Although Brooke has her PPL, she’s not allowed to get paid to fly, yet, but getting her commercial license is the next step, which simply requires more time in the air.
“Next is just a lot of time building,” Brooke said. “It’s what they call commercial stage one, so I’ll just be a lot of time building in a single engine. From there, after commercial stage one I’ll go to multi-engine.”
If all goes as planned, Brooke expects to have her commercial stage one in hand about a year from now.