The Flying Musicians Association reports that its first Solo Scholarship Award recipient, Drew Medina of Vero Beach, Florida, a senior in the Vero Beach High School jazz, symphonic, and marching bands, has completed his first solo flight.
Drew’s flight instructor, director/chief engineer at Piper Aircraft, Buddy Sessoms, noted, “Drew is quiet, focused, driven, and definitely very diligent.”
“We even did some night flying,” he said. “I was surprised that he had no trouble transitioning — none of the usual ‘flare too high’ reaction; he landed normally.”
Drew impressed him even more, because, “His school time is pretty booked. Drew scheduled three flights a week when he could. Kids, especially seniors nowadays, have absolutely no free time. For someone to do this during the school year and still have high academic accomplishment, he’s really remarkable. FMA picked a really good candidate. He loves music and he loves flying. “
“I was surprised at how focused I was during the whole thing,” Drew said. “I wasn’t really nervous. When he got out of the plane, I kinda smiled; I was excited and surprised that it was finally happening. I was nervous for a little bit, but when I started rolling, everything I learned just kicked in. I was surprised – on the first landing, I was coming in a little high, and so I did a slip. How many people can say they did a forward slip on their first landing?”
“When I started down the runway, I was thinking, ‘Here we go.’ If you look at the video, you can see that for the entire time, I was stone cold and expressionless. I was having the time of my life, but I was so focused.”
Drew flew his club’s Archer III, with a Garmin E500 panel.
“It’s the same model my Dad soloed in, before I was born,” Drew revealed. “It’s really nice.”
Drew’s father didn’t finish his dream of getting his license. “He started having a family,” Drew explained, adding, “I plan on getting my license before the end of the school year.”
“Drew was an excellent choice as our inaugural FMA Solo award winner,” said John Zapp Sr., president/CEO of the organization. “As much as I am proud of Drew, my heart sings for the outpouring of support our members gave Drew throughout the process. From gear to training aides, including a First Class Medical exam, FMA showed that our supporters and sponsors are committed to growing the pilot population. We have identified the demographic most likely to succeed. There are plenty of others yearning for our assistance.”
The scholarship is fully funded by Sky-Tec, the makers of the FLYWEIGHT Starter. Learn to Fly Courses were donated by Sporty’s Pilot Shop. A Flight Bag PLC Pro and either an iPad Folio or Sport Case and mount were provided by MYGOFLIGHT.