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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA Flying Club

Ralph Rina, a certified flight instructor of 40 years, discusses what hes doing with his student, Daniel Lamb, a media arts sophomore in training for a twin engine license.
Ralph Rina, a certified flight instructor of 40 years, discusses what he’s doing with his student, Daniel Lamb, a media arts sophomore in training for a twin engine license.

The UA Flying Club lets students fly on planes traveling at 200 mph at Eloy, Ariz.

Of the four planes taken to Eloy, Daniel Lamb, a media arts sophomore, flew the 1960 Piper Aztec. Flying the five-passenger plane over Picacho Peak, eventually landing back at the Tucson Airport, Lamb said he joined the Flying Club in order to get more flying time.

“”(Flying) is something new every day. No two flights are the same,­ that’s what makes it so fun,”” he said. 

Members of the club get more and cheaper flying time. Two UA professors and a flying instructor used their own personal planes so the club only had to rent one airplane.

Retired professor Charles Curtis said providing a cheaper way to fly is important because the costs of learning to fly continue to increase.

“”When I was an undergraduate, I was learning to fly for $600, now it’s more like $6,000,”” he said.

Flying Club President Judson Stuart, a management and information systems junior, said the Flying Club puts on two to three fly outs per semester. The club also goes on tours of airports, air traffic control towers and gives ground school training, which is the classroom portion of the training needed to get a pilot’s license, at cheaper rates.

Stuart said these club activities were needed at the UA because the university does not have an aviation program or an air traffic control program.

“”Tucson has some of the best flying weather, but UA doesn’t have anything particular to aviation,”” he said.

While some students went on the fly out in order to get experience unavailable at the UA, Megan Folley, an aerospace engineering freshman, was using the flying time to supplement her engineering education.

“”If I’m going to be building planes in the future, I want firsthand experience,”” she said.

Folley, the only female club member who attended the fly out, said being in the minority in the Flying Club and in aerospace engineering classes only made her want to pursue engineering and aviation more.

“”It motivates me to show that girls can do what guys can do, because (the profession) is male dominated,”” she said.

Folley, who does not have her pilot’s license, said she was excited to get stick time — time when a licensed pilot lets the passenger take control of the airplane.

Stuart said the club mostly consists of licensed pilots, but members without licenses are always allowed to get stick time and receive informal training from the licensed pilots in the group.

Standing in Eloy beneath the incoming parachuters, Eduardo Bendek, a second year doctoral student in optical sciences, said he always loved to fly, so joining the Flying Club was simple.

“”If you don’t want to spend the money to rent a plane or don’t have a license, it’s a good way to get out,”” he said.

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