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Durant and St. Jeans piloting dreams take off

Courtesy Photo/ Christian St. Jean

Seniors Christian St. Jean and Ethan Durant have decided to take a gap year before college to receive their private pilot's license.

After his gap year, St. Jean said he will be applying to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, along with United Aviate in Goodyear, Arizona.

St. Jean said that he is taking flying lessons at Hampton Airfield during his gap year. Jean said he needs to get a minimum of forty hours of flying in the air, with ten hours of flying on his own. He explained that only after achieving that, can he take his Federal Aviation Administration knowledge, health and in-flights test to get his private pilot's license. He said that many colleges that specialize in aviation like to see students who have their private pilots license before applying.

“Many aviation focused colleges prefer for students to already have their licenses so I’ll have to take many Federal Aviation Administration knowledge, health, and in-flight tests to get my license and other certifications,” St. Jean said.

St. Jean said that he got interested in aviation after going to many airshows. He said he officially decided he wanted to pursue a career in aviation about two years ago after being gifted an intro lesson by a friend.

“I used to go to a lot of airshows which I was always amazed by,” St. Jean said. “So that definitely sparked my interest in aviation.”

After graduating from his college of choice, St. Jean said he hopes to get a job as a certified flight instructor and get his commercial pilot license. After that St. Jean said he is going to be applying to Planesense to become a first officer on a Pilatus PC-12.

Courtesy Photo/Ethan Durant

Durant explained that he plans to finish getting his private pilot's license in around a month, then during his gap year he will earn his ratings by doing more in the aviation industry.

Durant said he has not yet decided on a college he wishes to attend, but he explained that he is leaning towards the Flight Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona because compared to other schools, it is less expensive, has better training and is not as long, plus the added bonus of nice weather.

“It's always sunny and calm weather allowing for more opportunities to fly,” Durant said.

Durant said that he plans to major in environmental studies or psychology as a separate degree just in case he needs a backup plan.

“I am getting a degree unrelated to aviation so I have a separate career to fall back on just in case something drastic happens to the industry,” Durant said.

Durant said that he has been surrounded by the aviation industry pretty much his whole life because of where he lives and that his father is a E190 Captain for Jetblue.

“My bedroom window has overlooked the Hampton Airfield my whole life,” Durant said. “I've been surrounded by aviation stuff for a long time.”

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