CARLSBAD — Carlsbad teen Trevor Nesbitt celebrated his 16th birthday in a way that few teens do. For many youngsters his age, a trip to the local DMV is at the top of their birthday list.
For Trevor, “getting airborne” was his first priority upon turning 16. “As soon as I got out of school, I was headed to the airport.”
There, under the watchful eye of his flight instructor, Bruce Morey, and a small group of witnesses, Trevor flew a Piper Archer alone for the first time as “Pilot in Command” and made three flawless landings at North County’s Palomar Airport. After the flights Nesbitt was honored during a ceremonial “Tail-cutting,” a rite of passage for new pilots.
Trevor’s interest in flying started at a young age. “I’ve never had any doubts about becoming a pilot. My dad is a pilot and so was my granddad. It’s in my blood.”
FAA records show that the pilot population in the United States is shrinking, making young pilots, like Trevor, increasingly rare. Applicants must pass a physical exam and take a comprehensive written test covering aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation and federal regulations. Final candidates must pass an oral test and a two-hour flight exam before earning their license. Many student pilots simply do not complete all of these requirements. Having passed the physical and written exams last summer, and now with his first solo flight completed, Trevor looks forward to the final stages of his training. “This is a fun kind of challenge.”
His goals don’t currently include flying as an occupation.
“I think of it more as a tool to expand whatever career I pick,” he said. “I can go places in this airplane that are unreachable by airlines or even by car. It opens up the world.”
Currently a junior at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, Trevor says that it has been an “interesting exercise” to balance his academic pursuits with extracurricular activities and aviation studies. “Flying recharges my batteries and helps get my mind off schoolwork for a while.
Trevor is starting to think about college applications and admits that “in addition to being a top school, it’s got to have a runway nearby.”
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