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home : education : schools June 20, 2018

5/29/2018 1:42:00 PM
16-year-old takes to the skies
Instructor Sam Monte turned over the controls to George Chladek for a solo earlier this month. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Instructor Sam Monte turned over the controls to George Chladek for a solo earlier this month. photo provided

George Chladek, a sophomore at Sisters High School, has joined the elite club of students who fly solo in an airplane at 16 years old. Chladek wanted to solo on his 16th birthday in February, but had to wait for weather conditions to improve.

Chladek soloed before school on May 7, in Outlaw Aviation's Cessna 172 at Madras airport. After a flight with CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) Sam Monte of Outlaw Aviation, and a few landings and take-offs, Monte asked Chladek to drop him off on the ramp.

"The conditions were perfect, and he proved to me he was safe and responsible as Pilot in Command. I only had one decision to make, and that was to get out," said Monte.

Chladek recalls "I was a little nervous when I got to the runway, but once I got in the air, I just focused on flying the plane like I was trained to do. When Sam got out, the plane felt so light with just me in it. I took off in half the distance."

According to Monte, Chladek has one of the fewest flight hours of any student he has soloed. The average amount of flight training is over 50 hours before a solo, but Chladek soloed at only 17 hours of flight training.

Chladek's interest in aviation started in 7th grade when his neighbor, Jon Renner, who was teaching the Flight Science program at the time, offered to take Chladek flying in his Musketeer. When Chladek entered Sisters High School as a freshman last year, he enrolled in the Flight Science class taught by Sheryl Yeager.

Chladek has received a scholarship from The Roundhouse Foundation for part of his flight training, and then received a matching scholarship from Outlaw Aviation and Sisters Airport from their fund-raising events.

Chladek plans to take the FAA written exam for his private pilot certificate at the end of this school year, along with several other SHS Flight Science students. Then he plans to take his oral and practical exams to earn his private license when he turns 17 next year. After graduation, Chladek intends to enroll in the aviation program at COCC (Central Oregon Community College) to take advantage of the incentives offered by Horizon and Sky West airlines to fill the pending pilot shortage. After college, Chladek wants to become a commercial pilot doing international flights or as a bush pilot.

Chladek's parents, Rima Givot and Gabe Chladek, are very supportive of his passion for aviation.

"We are thankful that we have, right here in Sisters, such a great aviation program that teaches good reasoning and responsibility to the students that they can not only use in flying, but carry into every other area of their lives. Kudos to everyone that makes this possible, from Jon Renner who first introduced George to flying, to Sheryl Yeager at Sisters High School, and Sam Monte and Walt Lasecki with Outlaw Aviation. It really is a team effort," said Givot.

Givot is looking forward to utilizing the free flight benefits that family members of commercial pilots enjoy.

"I'm excited to fly on an airliner with George at the controls," she said.

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