By CATHERINE BLOTTER
Junior Sameer Prakash has been training to become a pilot, the Perennial recently discovered. He aims to earn a license for commercial flying. Ever since he was little, Prakash has been fascinated with all things concerning planes and aircraft, so naturally, he started his training as early as possible.
“Having a commercial license allows one to legally start making money, where you can work as a flight instructor or making small delivery trips,” Prakash said.
This refers to flying advertisements, shipments of cargo, etc.
Starting last October, Prakash has been training at a flight school in Palo Alto, in hopes that he gets his pilot license when he turns 17. Prakash is the youngest student at his academy; the second youngest student is in his late twenties. Prakash’s goal is to have his license for commercial flying by college, allowing him to fly at least part-time in his future career.
One of Prakash’s favorite things about flying is just how new this entire experience is for him.
“I’m totally out of my element, at least in these early stages,” Prakash said. “I’m learning by trial and error.”
Prakash’s instructor will quickly introduce to him a technique or maneuver, but will then hand the reins to Prakash and let him figure the procedures out for himself. Although this makes his learning experience exciting and slightly more dangerous, Prakash is able to become more independent and confident in his flight knowledge, rather than constantly leaning on his instructor for help.
The scariest part of the flight process, according to Prakash, is learning the stalls; when taking off, one has to press and pull the right gears at just the right moment, or else the engine will explode. Depending on the day, Prakash might fly to Half Moon Bay, or he will practice his take-offs and landings at other airports nearby. Prakash’s favorite memory of his flight education is his first landing.
Prakash nearly broke the plane during this first landing. When landing a plane, it is necessary to pull up on the gears a few seconds before the wheels touch the ground; this makes the landing as smooth as possible. Prakash waited too long, but he recovered smoothly.
What would he say to those interested in flying?
“It is not like anything else,” Prakash said. “Honestly, the hardest part is getting past that first step of finding a flight school and instructor. Once you cross that initial hump, flying is something you can do for the rest of your life.”