By Nancy McGill
There is a tiny airstrip in Montana for hikers to scale a mountain accessible only by airplane. The airstrip is on Riley Templin’s list.
“Flying lets you go places,” he said.
Templin, a senior at Thayer Central, will soon fly for his private pilot’s license, his ticket to a career in agricultural aviation.
He was always interested in aviation and his mother’s cousin is in the Blue Angels. Templin began working on his career in December of 2015 in Lincoln.
“Flying is expensive, but it’s like paying for college,” he said.
After he started learning the craft in Lincoln, Templin saw he could do the same in Hebron at the airport. It would save him time and money.
“I met with Steve one day and it just made sense,” Templin said about Steve Bateman of Chocks Away Aviation.
He began working with Bateman in April and took his first solo in September.
“September 29, 2016,” Templin clarified.
Templin’s education was at times sporadic because of flight expenses. He went without lessons sometimes for a full month to build up funds from working for the Meyers Aerial Service ground crew.
When he had the time, Templin flew with Bateman in a 1981 Cessna 152, Bateman’s personal plane. It was smaller than the 1991 Piper Templin flew in Lincoln and reacted differently to wind.
After a pre-solo flight test and meeting other requirements, Templin said Bateman was confident he could fly and land on his own. He is able to turn around a point, which is a circular maneuver around a point of interest, such as a grain bin or a pivot.
He can make an “S” turn, too, with one wing up while correcting for the wind.
“Everything is about wind with flying,” he said.
He was renting Bateman’s plane and decided to join the Blue Valley Flying Club.
“Now, I am flying a club plane. It’s like the one in Lincoln, but older,” he said.
Flight experience is measured in hours and Templin is at a little over 40, the minimum needed for a pilot’s license.
A couple of months ago, Templin took the 60-question private pilot written exam. But, he said the 60 questions are pulled from close to 1,000 questions and test takers need to know the answers.
The next step will be Templin’s “check ride” with a flight examiner in Beatrice. Templin will fly the Cessna over. Bateman will first have to endorse Templin’s log book. The check ride is a two-part test — oral and flying.
The toughest part for him will be the diversion.
“I will have to divert to an unplanned airport,” he said. His examiner will create a scenario for the emergency landing.
“Within a matter of two to three minutes, I wll have to know where we are going to land, calculate the distance and keep the plane flying at the same time,” he said.
Templin said currently, more pilots are needed.
“There are a lot of people losing interest in aviation. The community is really special. Anyone that flies is passionate about it,” he said.
“Flying lets you go places.”