LEWISTOWN - During the summer, teenagers often try to find ways to busy their time away from the classroom. Many teens get involved with sports, take a trip to camp, go on vacation or waste their time playing indoor video games. Bryn Ferguson is an exception to the average 14-year-old teenager; she is involved with basketball, dance and volleyball, but her hobby is set in the skies above.
Ferguson, a student at Mifflin County Junior High School, is a student pilot. She was initially drawn into the art of flying by her grandfather, David Ramsey, who is also a pilot, She took to the skies for her initial flight last year at the Mifflin County Airport, where she continues to learn under the direction of Certified Flight Instructor, Dan Daldarale. In addition to flying at the local airport, Ferguson was offered a unique opportunity to spend a week this summer to study at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wis.
"They offer classes for 14 to15-year-olds and more classes for older students. This experience will teach me more about the science of flying and learning how to operate a plane and a helicopter," said Ferguson.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
Bryn Ferguson, a 14-year-old student at Mifflin County Junior High School, is a student pilot learning to fly planes like this Piper.
According to Ferguson, the number of certified pilots in the United States is declining. She said there are approximately 620,000 pilots in the U.S. and female pilots account for only about seven percent of that number.
Ferguson's sponsors for the EAA Academy include: EAA Chapter 1327, in State College; EAA 518, in Reedsville; and EAA 748, in Clearfield.
The EAA Air Academy offers young people the opportunity to meet and work with aviation professionals, while living and learning the arts, sciences and lore of aviation in both classroom and workshop settings. Participants in the EAA Air Academy come from around the United States and several foreign countries.
Ferguson says she wants to eventually become a professional pilot.
"I definitely want to make a career out of flying. After I graduate in a few years, I want to attend the Air Academy," said Ferguson.
Ferguson will be flying to Oshkosh in a couple of weeks and will continue to meet with her instructor on a weekly basis at the Mifflin County Airport to work on her skills.