Aero club gives Osan Airmen wings
By Senior Airman Alexis Siekert, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 16, 2013
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Every Airman, no matter their job, is no stranger to the roar of an aircraft passing overhead. As many will look up to watch it pass, some may aspire to pilot an aircraft themselves. Through the Osan Aero Club, any Airman can do just that.
The Osan Flight Training Center, casually known as the Osan Aero Club, provides flight training and recreational flying for its members. The club currently has around 65 active members, yet most are already military, private or commercial pilots who wish to take advantage of the prices of aircraft rental, due to aero club having one of the most competitive rates in the world.
"We have five dedicated and passionate instructors who take pride in teaching avionics," explained Yon San Yun, 51st Force Support Squadron Flight Training Center instructor pilot. "We ensure that students are trained to be safe and qualified pilots."
Membership into the aero club is open to all active duty and reserve military members, retirees, Department of Defense civilian employees, federal government employees on Osan, dependents and Federal Aviation Administration personnel.
Coming from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Capt. Mari Metzler, 51st Medical Group aerospace and operational physiologist flight commander, Health and Wellness Center, was almost ready to take her flight test for her private pilot's license when she received a short notice permanent change of station to Osan. Once she arrived, she enrolled at the Osan Aero Club, planning to take her test as soon as possible.
Aero Club students learn to fly on a 1983 Cessna 172, Metzler said. It operates with 150-170 horsepower and can seat four people including the pilot.
"The Cessna 172 is a really good training aircraft," she said. "It's very stable--you're in complete control."
In order to earn a private pilot's license, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of training. Of the 40 hours, 20 are spent with an instructor and 10 hours are done solo. The remaining 10 hours are to prepare students for their private pilot certificate. Although 40 hours are a minimum requirement, most students take 60-80 hours to qualify for their license.
"Flying solo is so awesome," she said grinning ear to ear. "It's just you and the airplane. You can't help but think, 'How lucky am I?' It's no Delta flight."
The aero club has been teaching aspiring aviators for more than 30 years now.
"Flying is an art that requires a lifetime to master," Yon San said. "You never stop learning or training even as an instructor. It is fun, challenging and exciting to fly. Once you get bit by the flying bug, it's hard to stop. Give it a try and you might fall in love with the world of aviation."
To learn more about the Osan Aero Club, visit their website at http://www.51fss.com/flight.htm or call 784-4424.