Migdon’s (12) piloting career takes off

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Alex Lautin, Staff Writer

On August 20, Max Migdon (12) took off on his first solo flight, during which he felt lighter than he ever had before. “I was definitely nervous but also excited at the same time,” he said. “The responsibility of flying the plane was 100% on me.”

For his entire life, Migdon has been interested in flying. When he was younger, he played with toy airplanes, but in his freshman year, Migdon decided to make his interest in a reality, he said.

“He’s always been fascinated by transportation, ever since he was extremely little,” Max’s father, Andrew Migdon, said. This spring, Migdon was finally old enough to take lessons. 

Migdon began flying out of the Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley, New York once school transitioned online in March. “My favorite part [of flying this summer] has been what we call the ‘cross country phase,’” Migdon said. In this learning period, student pilots fly to destinations to which they wouldn’t normally fly, including Hartford, Poughkeepsie, Block Island, and Montauk.

Flying is a huge commitment, Migdon said. This summer, he has been flying for five to six days every week in order to obtain his private pilot license.

The average time it takes to complete the syllabus for the license is six months to a year; however, Migdon, one of the younger students in a class ranging from 17 to 70 years of age, would be able to complete it in only two months, said Christian Perricone, Migdon’s flight instructor. 

The private pilot’s license allows Migdon to fly with friends and family almost anywhere in the United States during the day or night in visual flight conditions. According to Epic Flight Academy, obtaining the license is the first step towards becoming a professional pilot. On September 4, after taking written tests, logging 78 hours of flying, and taking ground lessons, Migdon became a certified private pilot. Now that he has his license, he hopes to fly recreationally, he said.

In the future, Migdon plans to obtain both his commercial pilot license and airline transport pilot certificate so that he can become a commercial pilot and fly professionally, he said. According to the Pilot Institute, the commercial pilot license requires the pilot to be 18 and allows them to fly for hire. “The private pilot’s license is just the first step,” Migdon said.

The airline transport certificate is the certificate necessary to fly for airlines, and Migdon will have to be 23 and obtain 1,500 hours of flight time to gain this certification, according to the Aopa Foundation. Migdon also hopes to obtain his instrument rating certification this coming year, which will allow him to fly in all conditions, including bad weather, his father said.

Migdon plans to take a break from flying during the school year, but he will resume in the summer after his senior year.

Flying is a dream come true, Migdon said. “When there’s bad weather for a couple of days, you want to get back up in the air and you want to get back to flying,” he said. “You’re always drawn back towards it.”