17-year-old pilot earns his wings

'He has a great future in the air,' FAA official says
By: By Laura Newell of The Telergraph
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Just 13 days after his 17th birthday, Oak Ridge High School junior Joey Slepian earned his private pilot’s certificate.

After a four-hour oral exam with FAA flight examiner Rick Savage, Slepian took to the air to test his piloting skills.

“Joey is a very polite and competent pilot,” Savage said. “He has a great future in the air ahead of him.”

Slepian’s test flight was in a Cessna 150 trainer, the same aircraft he trained in and flew solo for the first time just one year before above Mather Field, said his father, Richard Slepian.

“After 12 months of weekly training sessions with his instructor, Kevin Cordes, he was ready for his private pilot’s exam,” Slepian said. “Joey has logged about 75 hours as PIC (pilot in command) and another 5,000 to 6,000 on his FSX Flight Simulator.”

Slepian said this has always been a goal for his son.

“Joey has had a penchant for flying since preschool,” Slepian said. “It’s all he talks about. Most days, Joey awakes to start a flight on his computer simulator before school, and lands it promptly afterward. Two of Joey’s best friends — Tanner Van Horn and Josh Corr, who are also aspiring pilots — are excited about flying with Joey now that he is certified.”

Joey said flying will always be in his future.

“I want to be a professional pilot and always have,” Joey said. “Now I am one step closer.  The next step is my IFR rating, which will allow me to fly through clouds. That will be fun.”