Camas High School is filled with a plethora of talented students that can make the school give off a healthy competitive feel. However, for CHS Seniors Matthew Brown and Kevin Simpson, they are pioneers for a new talent, aviation.
Brown has always been interested in the art of aviation but did not get into the air until this past January. He is inspired by legendary United States Air Force officer, Chuck Yeager. One of Yeager’s greatest feats was becoming the first pilot in history to exceed the speed of sound in level flight.
For Simpson, he found his inspiration from his step-dad who brought him to a flight lesson for his thirteenth birthday. He was hooked right away and acknowledged that he would not be the pilot he is today without his step-dad.
Learning how to fly does not only take skill but dedication because young aviation students have to get in a certain amount of hours to attain a license. The commitment factor is definitely something that someone has to take into account before jumping into the cockpit. Brown and Simpson explained this multi-step instructional process.
Brown said, “You have to fly a certain amount of hours and pass certain tests to get to your next grade pilot’s license. For example, you need 80 hours for a private pilot’s license, at least 40 with an instructor, at least 20 alone.”
Simpson said, “There’s a lot that goes into a private pilot’s license, the first step in a long path of rating. There is a ton of different types of flight hours you have to obtain, as well as a written test from the FAA.”
Brown and Simpson both reflected on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their aspirations of getting in the air.
“COVID actually benefited me in terms of flying, having the ability to fly during the day without worrying about missing classes. Without it, I don’t believe I would have my license today,” Simpson said.
“It has made it harder to earn enough money to afford my flight lessons,” Brown said.
Since Brown and Simpson are both seniors this year, they have started thinking about what life will look like after CHS. Both students shared a common ambition to become pilots in the future.
“After college, I do plan to apply for an airline job flying passengers or cargo commercially. I have also considered government flying, for the DEA or U.S. Customs and Border Patrol,” Simpson said.
“I hope to be an airline pilot in the future,” Brown said.
The future is bright for these two pilots if they decide to take on aviation careers or if they find a new exhilarating passion down the road. For now, CHS students and staff will turn on airplane mode, secure their seat belts, and prepare for wherever these young men take-off next.
Simpson said, “For anyone that’s thinking about getting into flying or is and doesn’t feel like they can do it, you can, just work hard and focus.”