Sam Monte (CFI, Outlaw Aviation), Trever Schutte (new pilot) Luka Perle (new pilot), Sheryl Yeager (SHS teacher, CFI), Brian Lansburgh (CFI), Walt Lasecki (CFI). photo provided
Sam Monte (CFI, Outlaw Aviation), Trever Schutte (new pilot) Luka Perle (new pilot), Sheryl Yeager (SHS teacher, CFI), Brian Lansburgh (CFI), Walt Lasecki (CFI). photo provided
Two more Sisters High School (SHS) Flight Science students have earned their wings and become certificated private pilots. Luka Perle and Trever Schutte achieved this accomplishment before they graduated from SHS last week.

Both students have participated in the Flight Science program at SHS every year since they were freshmen. They had an early interest in aviation and enrolled in the Flight Science courses offered at SHS. Perle lives in Bend and transferred to SHS specifically to participate in the specialty program.

“It was definitely worth the drive. It’s an awesome program, and a great school,” he said.

The classes at SHS in combination with the flight training and weekly evening ground school at the Outlaw Aviation hangar is the partnership that has positioned the unique program in Sisters to be the only public high school in the country to be continually graduating licensed pilots. While there are other successful aviation high schools, they are all private and costly.

Flight training is normally very expensive, sometimes costing up to $10,000 to achieve a private pilot license. But with the financial support of various Sisters organizations, significant scholarships are available to SHS students. Perle received scholarship funds from several sources, including the Roundhouse Foundation, Outlaw Aviation/Sisters Airport, Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, Sisters Lions Club, Col. John Miller, Sisters Kiwanis, Todd Sampson Memorial Scholarship, and the Taylor Family, all of which paid for over 80 percent of his flight training. Schutte also received substantial scholarship funds from Sisters Schools Foundation, Outlaw Aviation/Sisters Airport, Sisters GRO, High Desert Aviation, and Sisters Les Schwab.

To accommodate the growing number of students interested in aviation, the Flight Science program at SHS has expanded to three classes, and Outlaw Aviation at the Sisters Airport has grown to three airplanes and three Certificated Flight Instructors (CFI). The classes have been offered at SHS for six years, and are taught by Sheryl Yeager, also a CFI. It’s the collaboration between the organizations that makes the program so unique and successful.

“Outlaw Aviation is an exceptional operation.  With the classes at SHS, and the flight instruction talents of Sam Monte, Walt Lasecki and Kristin Berg, it is the perfect combination that can put the right flight instructor with every student.  It’s no wonder that they are creating so many private pilots,” said Brian Lansburgh, also a CFI.

“In the beginning when I didn’t know anything about aviation, I started with the Flight Science class and the weekly evening ground school at the airport. Then as I advanced, the intensive one-on-one study time with Walt, and flight lessons with Sam at Outlaw Aviation prepared me for the written and oral FAA exams,” said Schutte.

All the teachers at SHS support the students’ commitment necessary for flight training.

“My other teachers were super understanding and supportive if I was late to class because I had been up flying,” noted Perle.

The final test to earning a pilot license is a rigorous oral and practical in-flight exam which can take up to six hours.

“I was nervous at first, but then as I was able to answer the questions, I realized how much I really do know. Then on the flight test, I just tried to focus on being smooth and precise,” said Schutte.  

“These two young adults have been dedicated to their training, even with rigorous academic and extracurricular activities of a high school lifestyle, and proven themselves victorious throughout. Well done!” said Sam Monte, CFI.

When asked what advice Perle would give to students aspiring to become pilots, he said, “Set intermediate goals with dates on when you’re going to achieve them. Don’t procrastinate and leave everything for the end. And it’s important to fly regularly, or else you forget and have to relearn skills.”

“Both Luka and Trever have an exciting future ahead in aviation. Their flight training has given them valuable life skills far beyond most high school kids. They’ve become responsible adults and proficient pilots over the last four years,” said Sheryl Yeager, CFI and SHS Flight Science teacher.

Both Perle and Schutte have chosen to make commercial aviation their career path, and will be continuing their flight training at Central Oregon Community College (COCC) next year. They plan to continue instruction with Outlaw Aviation for their instrument and commercial pilot ratings while earning a degree in aviation. The current and forecast commercial pilot shortage ensures a profession in very high demand.

“They have a significant head start in the COCC program because they have already earned their private certificate, and will receive credit for those classes. They will also be eligible to interview with Alaska/Horizon Airlines for a sponsorship at COCC. Taking full advantage of the Flight Science program in high school was the smartest way to get started. We are very proud of both of them,” said Walt Lasecki, CFI with Outlaw Aviation.