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UAM Students Take Flight with Help of Local Airport

Brooke Burger
Managing Editor
Picture by Brooke Burger
UAM Campus

   Some University of Arkansas – Monticello students have decided to take advantage of the Monticello Municipal Airport’s pilot training services. Colonel Horace Furlough, one of two active instructors at the airport, currently has two UAM students enrolled in the private pilot’s program. 

   To obtain a private pilot’s license, students have to log at least 40 hours of flight, pass a written exam and a final flight exam. Of the minimum 40 hours, students must have at least 20 hours of flight with an instructor and 20 hours of solo flight. 

   The requirements for flight instruction from a certified flight instructor (CFI) include at least three hours of each of the following: 

  • Cross-Country Training – planning and flight; must go over 25 nautical miles away and land at a different airport
  • Instrument Flight Training – flying with the hood down, by instruments rather than by sight
  • Night Flying – including 10 takeoffs and 10 landings
  • Special Training – preparing for the flight exam, called a check ride

The solo flight requirements include at least five hours of cross-country and at least three takeoffs and landings. Though students are only required to have a minimum of 40 hours, most log about 65 or 70 hours before obtaining a license. 

   “My students can usually only fly once or twice a week,” Furlough said. “Three times a week would be ideal, and you could finish up at 40 hours, but normally, it takes longer. You can’t do it all together because of weather and other reasons.” 

   Students are also required to pass a written and flight test, which determine the student’s competency in flight procedures and maneuvers. In addition, students must pass the Federal Aviation Association third-class medical exam. 

   “I suggest new students go see an FAA designated medical examiner to determine if they can fly or not before they spend too much money,” Furlough advised. 

   On average, the medical exam costs about $100, and the cost of books ranges from about $100 – 200. The lessons could cost $100 per hour or less depending on the airplane rental and the instructor’s fee. Furlough said a private pilot’s license costs between $4,000 and $5,000 now. Although becoming a certified private pilot is an expensive undertaking, two UAM students find value in the endeavor. 

   “If anyone has any interest in flying, it’s an excellent hobby and worth it,” said Brian Young, sophomore agriculture business major. 

   Young began taking flight lessons from Furlough in mid-July, and he has logged about 10 flight hours. While he says he may learn to fly a crop duster for his family’s farm, Young says he mainly flies for fun. 

   “I just like being able to see things from the air and having a different view,” Young said. 

   Another one of Furlough’s students has considered taking on the hobby as a profession. Randal Wilson, sophomore music major, began taking lessons in August. Flying about twice a week, Wilson has logged about 21 hours. 

   Wilson said, “I actually think I might want to (fly) for a living – not for an airline, but as a CFI. I would like to teach people to fly and fly for hire.” 

   Both students agreed that landing is the hardest part of flying. Furlough also said landing was the most challenging aspect of learning to fly. Furlough, who’s logged about 20,000 hours and flown for 53 years, said weather poses the main challenge for experienced pilots. He has obtained a commercial pilot’s license with instrument rating and an instructor’s rating for airplanes and instruments. 

  Currently, Furlough serves as a corporate pilot, certified flight instructor for airplanes and instruments, aircraft mechanic and inspector for Monticello’s airport. Furlough has instructed for about 31 years and has about a 75 percent completion rate for private pilots. Furlough said his favorite part of teaching is watching students learn and progress. 

   “My personal philosophy is, no matter how much a person knows, when he dies, it dies with him unless he has passed it along to somebody else,” Furlough said. 

   Other persons interested in flight lessons or flying in general should contact the Monticello Municipal Airport at (870) 367-8963. The airport, located at 390 Airport Road, employs two active flight instructors – Horace Furlough and Rick Hall. 

   The airport’s services include airframe maintenance, pilot training and rentals.  The airport does not offer an air taxi service, but anyone with access to an airplane can hire any commercial pilot to fly them. Those interested in the air taxi program can contact the Little Rock Central Flying Services at (800) 888-5387.

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ŠThe Voice 2006
10/24/2007 02:44:33 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_12/aviation.htm