Saturday, July 11, was a celebration day at the Boundary County Airport. Three students became Private Pilots and one newly built aircraft was certified by the FAA.
Danley Bistline, age 17, the earliest one can become a pilot, became a Private Pilot on July 11, 2009. Danley has been an enthusiastic student who is passionate about flying. He impressed the examiner with his smooth and stable flying skills.
During ground school at Northern Air, Danley was often the first person in class to decode weather information. He flew solo to Spokane International Airport to pass his written test. For his long cross-country, he flew west over the Selkirk's to Omak, Okanogan and Colville in Washington. To celebrate, Danley flew up to Eckhart International-a grass strip on the Canadian Border at Porthill.
It has been enjoyable to watch Danley develop as a person while learning to fly. He plans to pursue an instrument rating next after he takes a break to enjoy his license.
Travis Schneider also passed his Private Pilot check ride on July 11. Travis has dreamed of flying for years. His sister Tana received a scholarship to learn to fly in January. That lit a fire under him to pursue his own dream of becoming a pilot. He completed ground school in the spring, soloed, passed his written and lastly, finished the oral and practical exam. The examiner appreciated Travis' ability to fly the airplane and sense what the airplane was doing.
For his long solo cross-country flight, Travis flew to Kalispell, where he had lunch. Then he flew to Polson, MT, on the edge of Flathead Lake and landed at Thompson Falls. From there he flew west along the Clark Fork River, northward over the Bull River to the Kootenai River and back to Bonners Ferry.
He loves to see the mountains and valleys from above. On one of his last training flights, he spotted a mountain top campsite to visit. To celebrate, Travis took his mother Darlene, girlfriend Chanel and younger brother Trevor for a ride as his first passengers. Travis wants to continue with aviation and eventually get his Commercial Pilot's License. Travis is proof that dreams really do come true!
Through many challenges and delays, Annette L. Orton, age 78, earned her Private Pilot Certificate on July 11, as well. Her first passenger was her son Edward from California. Ann's daughter-in-law Elaine and granddaughter Riley watched with anticipation from the ground.
With her permission, we are bragging on the fact that Ann doesn't let her age deter her from doing the things she wants to do. She said recently that she wants to continue to do things and she works hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep.
Many people have gone through pilot training and are pilots today. But during her training, Ann suffered the loss of her husband. After years of being a care giver, she sold her home of many years and moved to a retirement center. However, these seeming setbacks didn't discourage her from her goal of becoming a pilot. She said she was just determined to finish and now she has.
Her flying adventures will include flying to Ione, WA, over the mountains for breakfast with her friends, to Porthill for coffee or to remote Idaho airports to picnic or camp overnight. She'll also use her privately owned, 2-place Cessna 150 to fly to Deer Park, where she's the treasurer of the Spokane glider club. No surprise, her next goal is to earn a Glider Pilot License. And, as if that's not enough, she's the treasurer of the Sandpoint EAA club and a member of the 99s, a women pilot association. She is also a part-time substitute teacher at the Pend Orielle School District, teaching chemistry and French. Annie enjoys being a volunteer tour guide at the Bird Aeromedical Museum in Sagle, which combines her interest in medical science and aviation.
Ms. Orton is an extraordinary woman. Besides learning to fly, she trains for and runs in 5K races, one-half marathons, as well as the Bloomsday run. She's also a triathlete. Ann said she has participated in 30 triathlons since she started at 66 years old. Some of her more enjoyable triathlons include the Lake to Forest triathlon in Sandpoint, Liberty Lake Women's triathlon and the Medical Lake triathlon, both in Spokane, WA. She has even traveled to Helena, MT to participate there.
Ann is such an inspiration for those of us who are nervous about starting something new. All of us pilots at the Boundary County Airport in Bonners Ferry are so very proud to know her and even try to follow in her footsteps. So next time you see a little red and white plane fly over, look up and smile. It very well could be Miss Annie heading out on some new adventure.
Two and a half years ago in January, Nevin Miller began building his second airplane - an RV-9a. This new airplane is a side-by-side, two passenger airplane that cruises at 175 mph. The aircraft registration is N915NC - a special choice for Nevin and his wife Carolyn.
A long time Boundary County resident, Nevin has been building this new airplane in his spare time away from his work at Truss-Tek and now it's complete. On July 11, his experimental aircraft was certified by Tom Willis, FAA DAR, of Sandpoint. "Experimental" aircraft means that it is not built by an aircraft manufacturer, but built by a person who can modify the design to meet his own needs. With help from others, Nevin built his aircraft from a kit sold by Vans Aircraft in Oregon.
Once the required initial 40 flight hours are flown, Nevin has plans to take his wife Carolyn and their two girls, Kris and Kelly, on special flights.
Recreational flight plans include searching out those "$100 hamburgers" known only to pilots and flying some longer cross-country trips.
Nevin has been flying since 1994, and hopes to build even another airplane. However, he'll probably take a break from building to spend time sharing this one with his family and friends.
Next time you see Nevin, congratulate him. His new airplane is quite an accomplishment.