Student receives his pilots license


Photo owned by Gaelen Shimkus

VHS senior receives his pilots license from Georgetown’s Municipal Airport.

Johnny Morreale, Writer

Big blue skies, clouds and flying with the birds– things that can only be seen in full justice from a Cessna Corvalis TT, a Diamond DA40, or any other four-seater plane that comes to mind. This is not like your average plane ride, it’s the epitome of freedom, and something that most people may never experience. It’s no longer enough just to have a driver’s license now that Gaelen Shimkus has a pilot’s license.

“I just thought it would be an interesting thing to learn,” Shimkus said.

Shimkus learned his aerial craft through Genesis Flight Academy at Georgetown’s Municipal Airport. The lessons were frequently challenging, with Shimkus citing one particular test, where pilots in training have the windows of their plane blacked out and must fly solely by instrument, as the hardest.

“The blindfold test is definitely the worst one,” Shimkus said. “It made me nauseous, having to fly like that.”

Though the lessons were grueling, and it took quite a bit of time, Shimkus was able to receive his license. The reactions of his friends and family were overwhelmingly positive.

“My dad was so excited he went right out and got his,” Shimkus said.

Shimkus often takes several of his friends on flights. Among them is senior Max Weedman, who was admittedly unsettled when he was first taken up in the air.

“I was thinking ‘this is crazy,’” Weedman said. “We’re 17, 18 years old, and we’re in a plane by ourselves. But Gaelen’s a really good pilot. He does all his instrument checks and knows what every instrument in that plane does.”

Gaelen continues to fly about three times a month. Though he does not believe he will pursue a career involving a pilot’s license, Shimkus hopes to continue flying well into the future.

“It’s definitely something I want to spend the rest of my life doing,” Shimkus said.