Pilot’s Passion Lands Aviation CareerSep 09, 2015 01:06PM ● By Bryan Scott
By Rachel Hall
South Valley - The experience of seeing something extraordinary for the very first time can fill a child with excitement that is often manifested by big, bright eyes and an ear-to-ear grin that simply cannot be wiped away.
“That really just lit up my future,” Randy Ostman said about the chance he had to explore the cockpit of a commercial plane when he was about five years old.
A discovery flight at the age of 16 became the moment that confirmed aviation was a passion and eventual career for the now 25-year-old pilot.
“I could not stop smiling. I just had these butterflies the entire time. I was hooked,” Ostman said.
Anyone else with a desire to fly can realize the dream of becoming a pilot with Ostman’s help. In his capacity as assistant chief flight instructor for Leading Edge Aviation at the South Valley Regional Airport located in West Jordan, he is partially responsible for local discovery flights and pilot training.
“[I let] the customer fly the airplane and get a feel for what it’s like; letting them know that they can actually do it. It’s not a daunting task,” Ostman said.
Gian Sexsmith had never been in a small plane before his discovery flight with Ostman a couple of years ago. Now, Sexsmith is working towards his commercial rating and also wants a career in aviation.
“Once you’re actually controlling the plane, I think you’re just hooked,” Sexsmith said.
There is no minimum age restriction on when a person can start flying and logging hours, although 16 is the minimum age to solo fly and 17 is the earliest one can be issued a pilot’s license. The amount of time it takes to earn different pilot ratings depends on the commitment from the student to study, weather conditions for flight hours and time availability for working with an instructor. Ostman has seen students earn a private pilot rating in as little as two weeks and as long as two years.
While there are moments that can be overwhelming when learning to become a pilot, such as handling emergency situations, Sexsmith felt completely prepared as a student for his first solo flight.
“I wasn’t really nervous. I did three touch-and-go landings. The most-nerve-wrecking thing was speaking to the tower; not the actual flying,” Sexsmith said.
It doesn’t take too much to convince people to give flying a chance. According to Ostman, all you need to do is show them a plane and they are ready to learn.
“I come out here and I’m excited about what I do. We just love it. Absolutely love it. If you just show your enthusiasm, people are going to love it, too,” Ostman said.
Leading Edge Aviation hosts a dinner on the third Tuesday of every month with a guest speaker as a way to reach out to those who are passionate about flying, as well as those who would like to learn more about the aviation industry.