A pair of Tallulah Falls School students recently took to the air, scoring a first solo flight off the checklist on their way to getting a private pilot’s license.
Toccoa’s Lawson Fulbright performed solo on his 16th birthday on August 2 at the Toccoa-Stephens County Airport. Maggie Peacock of Clarkesville took off independently on August 27, marking the stage at the Habersham County Airport.
In his sophomore year at Tallulah Falls School, Fulbright made three rotations around the pitch before landing soft.
“My father [Mark Fulbright] has been a pilot for most of his life, ”said Fulbright. “I grew up with him around the airport. We’re still talking about planes.
Taking lessons since March 2021 in a Cessna Skyhawk, the ambitious pilot-in-training plans to attend college with a flight program.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was,” Fulbright said. “It was almost like second nature.”
As in life, Fulbright said, there is hard work and difficult lessons woven into experience.
“You have to be present with that. You have to persevere, “he said.” When you get to the point where you’re solo, there’s nothing like it – the feeling of freedom; it’s hard to explain. “
Peacock, a senior with TFS, had weather-related delays for several weeks before making her maiden trip.
She has been taking lessons since mid-May, using the same airplane model as her classmate.
Trying to figure everything out was difficult, she said.
“There is a lot to know when it comes to flying, like the dashboard, rules and regulations, etc. She said. “It takes a lot of focus and patience to learn everything I need to know. “
A little nervous preparing to fly for the first time, she remained calm during the taxi and run-up.
“But the second I got into the air on my own for the first time, it all felt so natural to me,” she said. “There was something peaceful about being alone up there, and it felt like second nature. I didn’t want to land because that meant my solo flight was over and I wasn’t quite ready to stop.
She always planned to study engineering in college, but focused on aerospace engineering.
“Auburn University is my top choice because of the programs it offers both academic and extracurricular, which will keep me flying,” she said. “While I don’t think I want to do anything professionally with flying in particular, I hope that by specializing in aerospace engineering, I can still be rooted in the world of aviation.”
Both pilots were part of the aviation tradition of having their shirt tails cut off by their instructor, but in Fulbright’s case, his father did the honors. The salvaged fabric is signed, dated and usually displayed in the hanger at the airport. This tradition is a sign of the instructor’s confidence in the student after the successful solo flight.