17-year-old from Cavendish gets pilot license
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | September 25,2013
Seventeen-year-old Ricky Chambers of Cavendish prepares for take off at a local airport. Chambers, a senior at Green Mountain Union High School, flew solo to Augusta, Maine, to take his pilot’s exam and passed with flying colors. He hopes to attend aviation school after graduation.
CAVENDISH — The sky’s the limit for a Cavendish teenager who earned his pilot’s license recently.
Ricky Chambers, 17, flew solo Sept. 15 in a single-engine plane to Augusta, Maine. He performed several maneuvers, including landing in a simulated emergency situation.
The Green Mountain Union High School senior passed his test and said it was “no big deal” because he knew what to do and was confident in his abilities.
“I had to do steep 45-degree turns and perform different landings,” Chambers said. “I got to the base leg of the traffic pattern, lined up for the runway and the power (went) off.”
That’s when Chambers was instructed to “land the plane.”
Chambers was introduced to flying at an early age, while a student at Cavendish Town Elementary School. His fourth-grade class took weekly field trips to the Rutland Armory and attended a program called Starbase, where students learned about astronomy, physical science and flying.
His class also visited the regional airport in North Clarendon. They sat in planes, toured the hangars and teachers taught them about aviation.
In July 2011, when Chambers was 15, he took an introductory flight course in Keene, N.H. According to his mother, Krissy Chambers, he boarded a small plane with his instructor and took off into the sky.
“Once they got to the end of the runway the instructor allowed him to run the controls for takeoff. That first flight was incredible,” Krissy Chambers said.
When Chambers got his driver’s license, he drove himself to Keene for weekly flying lessons. After all the hard work, Chambers’ instructor, Matt McKeon of Green River Aviation, gave him the go-ahead to fly solo at age 16.
“Oh yeah, I was nervous,” Krissy Chambers said. “I knew his instructor would not let him do it if he was not ready. Because of (Matt), I was very confident in Ricky’s abilities.”
“Most kids who start at an early age either love and stick with it or they get consumed by typical teenage things. In Ricky’s case, he put a huge effort into it. He paid for it all himself. He worked really hard to make it happen,” McKeon said.
Chamers took more lessons in his junior year of high school. He passed his written exam this summer and logged 15 hours of solo flying prior to his flying exam.
Now Chambers is looking to the future. After graduation, he hopes to attend aviation school. He hopes to become a bush pilot, where he can fly in and out of remote areas.
“I’d like to fly commercially up north for a fishing lodge and the like,” Chambers said. “Flying is something different. It’s just incredible, like you’re going against all motion and forces of gravity. You’re floating in air. It’s really neat to get a different perspective.”