Brady Brooks: teenage pilot


Brooks with his plane, a 1959 Cessna 172.

Loren Savage and Erol Eksioglu

Brady Brooks is an 11th grader here at FHS with a private pilot’s license. In order to get his license he had to turn 17, complete 40 hours of flying, pass a 60-question written exam, and a practical exam with a designated examiner from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Though in order to successfully complete these requirements he spent “hours upon hours” studying. He also had to complete 35 hours of ground school, including aerodynamics courses, map making, photography, etc. Brooks says, “It takes a lot of determination.”

Brooks started flying when he was 13. It all started when his stepdad took him on a flight when he was 12. From that moment he “got sick with the aviation bug.” He got his license because he genuinely loves to fly. He loves “being up there alone in the sky with the whole world below” him. He says it is “an indescribable feeling” and “true freedom from all your worries and stresses.”

Brooks hopes to join the Air Force out of college and eventually fly for major airlines. His “whole future will have something to do with aviation [in] one way or another.” He wants to attend college for engineering and join the Air Force, to which he will owe 10 years of service. He says that “later in life [he would] love to own an airport or start [his] own small airline.”

His plane, a 1959 Cessna 172, has one propellor and one engine. He says “the great thing about flying smaller planes is that [he] only [has] to press maybe 4-5 buttons and switches to start the plane and get in the air.” However, this description is “under complicating” the process. Brooks goes through 20 minutes of “checks, calculations, and set up” before taking off. The plane can seat 4, including the pilot. However, it gets a little claustrophobic. Brooks can fly about “600 miles one way.”

Brooks currently has 55 hours of flight time.