The young pilot is planning his future – General Aviation News

Kayden prepares to land during his first solo on the Cessna 172 family tail wheel.

Junior high school student Kaden McLain wants to become a professional pilot. And at 16, the South Carolina pilot recently took a big step, completing his first solo.

McLain had a head start over many other 16-year-olds across the country who performed alone in 2021, as he already had a 120-hour flight in his logbook and crossed dozens of airports in Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

“Caden came to me three years ago for lessons,” said Everett Macmillan, Kayden’s flight instructor at Florence Regional Airport (KFLO). “When I first sat down with his father, I explained to him that I would follow the private pilot program, then present the pilot program on instruments, and as soon as I do that, we will start a commercial program. This was our plan, so Kayden would be willing to accept both private and instrumental checks as soon as he turns 17, the minimum legal age. And by the time of his first solo he was introduced to every private, instrumental and commercial maneuver. We’ve all done it, and I’m sure he’ll be ready to check in as soon as he’s old enough to accept them. ”

Macmillan and Caden’s father, Chuck, are lawyers and partners in Caden’s training plane, the Cessna 172 tail wheel.

Macmillan, CFII / MEI part-time, who flew at the airline before enrolling in law school and becoming a full-time prosecutor, said Kaden posed an unusual problem.

“He came to me with great book knowledge,” Macmillan said. “I had to ask myself every week what I was going to do with Kayden this weekend? I really had to think outside the standard program to keep it challenging. Usually when a student comes to you, he wants to get a private pilot’s license or some other rating. Your task is to teach them the skills needed to safely use the privileges of the desired ranking and pass the test, and if this happens, your work is mostly complete. Caden was different. I couldn’t solo with him for more than two years, so I had to face problems to grow as a pilot all the time. “

Problems included flights to most airports in the lower half of South Carolina, as well as to individual airports in North Carolina. They also made a long transition over the terrain in Lakeland, Florida, to SUN ‘n FUN 2021.

Kayden’s first solo performance at KFLO in late September 2021 was almost unforeseen. Macmillan watched as Kayden methodically made three wonderful landings.

Twice Caden considered requests from the tower: first, a warning not to whirl the birds, and second, to change it by the wind for the arrival of jet engines.

“It didn’t bother me at all,” Kayden said. “I was a little long on the first landing, and the second and third were better.”

Flight instructor Everett Macmillan trims Cayden McLain’s shirt after his first solo.

“He did great, which I expected,” Macmillan said. “I don’t think I’ve met a better, smarter, happier young man than Caden McLain. He appears with a wonderful attitude every time we meet. When there is a conflict of weather, maintenance or schedule, he accepts it and overcomes it. He has an incredibly promising career. He has all the right foundations. “

“I see a lot of myself in Kadena,” he added. “I learned to fly in high school like him. Caden knows where he wants to go, and he’s on his way to that at a young age. ”

Kaden started flying in ninth grade and is now studying at Lata High School in nearby Dylan County. He reminded that at first his classmates did not know about his flight.

“It all started when I was in school, not talking about flying,” he said. “But now I am known at school as a guy who flies. This is the beginning of the conversation. And someone in my math class wants to be an Air Force pilot, so I want to do her flight one day. ”

Caden McLain with classmates at Lata High School, where he is in junior high school.

Kaden said he became interested in aviation when his family flew from Charlotte to Tampa nearly three years ago to attend a college play-off football match.

“Just flying and observation showed me that’s what I want to do, fly,” he said. “I started lessons soon after.”

He is the youngest of two sons of Chuck and Candy McLain. His brother Hunter is a sophomore in college and not interested in flying, Kayden said.

“I was lucky with the parents who support them, and I learned that no pilot is born with the necessary skills,” he said. “You have to work on it.”

The McLain family: brother Hunter, mom Candy, dad Chuck and Caden.

Just the first month after his first solo, Kaden made a number of flights.

“I’ve been alone in the pattern since the solo and was flying to the nearest airport in Marion,” he said. “Also, I have a cross-country planned soon in Georgetown on the Atlantic coast.”

His most memorable flight was a nearly 500-mile flight to SUN ‘n FUN.

“Skylane made a forced landing right after we came in and they closed the airport,” he said. “Everett made the landing and I helped him look for traffic. The magnitude of what we did was not registered until we came to earth. “

Caden McLain receives congratulations from his flight instructor Everett Macmillan after his first solo.

Kaden intends to enroll at Embry Riddle Aviation University in 2023.

“My long-term goal would be to fly FedEx or UPS, which fly big iron,” he said.

Despite his dreams of flying big planes, his favorite plane remains a popular taildragger.

“Someday I would like to own a Cessna 185 because it’s a great traveler and you can have a lot of fun in it,” he said.

“There are two things I can say about flying,” Kayden concluded. “First, it’s always a challenge because half the time you don’t expect what’s going to happen and you have to adapt to it. And on a personal level, one of my favorite quotes that I often remind myself of is “I fly because it frees my mind from the tyranny of trivial things” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

https://generalaviationnews.com/2022/02/16/young-aviator-maps-out-his-future/ The young pilot is planning his future – General Aviation News

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