After a drive to the airport, sophomore Aly Bond walks to check in. However, instead of going through TSA and other security measures, she goes straight to the cockpit. Without any passengers, she takes off miles above the ground with a birds-eye view. By flight, she has traveled to Delaware, Bellefontaine, Columbus and other nearby places.
She was inspired by her father to start flying at the age of 13. Her sense of adventure ranges from mountain climbing at Jackson Hole to scuba diving in Australia.
“I got involved with flying because my dad used to flight instruct. He taught people how to fly out of Bolton Field, OH and then enrolled at OSU in Aviation,” Bond said. “He used to take me flying when I was a kid, really early in the mornings so we could see the sunrise while in the air. Then one day we drove up to Marion, OH to check out the Central Ohio Soaring Association, which is a glider (sailplane) club and [I] decided to join.”
Bond flies both gliders and power planes. Gliders are planes without engines and need to be pulled by a rope connected to a tow plane to reach flying alttitude of a few thousand feet. The rope is then released and the pilot stays in flight by finding thermals (rising air). Power planes have engines but are smaller than commercial planes.
“I soloed a glider when I was 14 and a power plane at 16,” Bond said. “The difference between soloing and having a license is basically I can’t take up passengers and I need my instructor to be present. Right now I have what’s called a student pilot certificate.”
Bond usually flies for sole enjoyment but still reaps some benefits of flying.
“First of all, not a lot of kids my age fly, which makes it awesome,” Bond said. “It’s also really fun seeing the ground from a birds-eye view.”
In order to obtain a license, intensive training is needed in order to ensure safe air travel.
“Right now, I’m training to take the flight test. To get my license I have to pass a test with a FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) person,” Bond said. “It’s not easy. There are three tests I have to pass. The written test, the oral test and the flight test.”
If readers wish to join Bond in the cockpit, options are availible for take off.
“Other students can take an introductory lesson at places like OSU, Marysville and Marion. I think a lot of people at school would enjoy flying,” Bond said. “The problem is that, flying is so far fetched for some that they wouldn’t dream of flying.”
The precautions taken should ensure a safe ride even for those who are nervous.
“Other students think that flying is really dangerous [but] it’s actually very safe,” Bond said. “The extensive testing is to make sure that only competent people are allowed to fly. The repercussions of breaking the rules are severe.”
She hopes to fly to new heights and distances while still maintaining her safety. Eventually, she will might even perform aerobatics which are maneuvers like spins and flips.
“I’m not planning on doing this as a job because I think it would take all the fun away from it. But it’s always there as a backup plan,” Bond said. “Perhaps some type of engineering that involves planes… It will always be there as something to do in my free time though.”