PCHS student pilots plane in stadium flyover
Published 3:00 am Friday, August 19, 2016
All of the t’s have been crossed and the i’s dotted and, if the weather holds, there will be a flyover at Bulldog Stadium tonight that will rival that of the Blue Angels, at least locally.
Pike County High School senior Dalton Earles will be at the controls of the Diamond D-A40 as it makes the historic flight prior to the annual rivalry game between the PCHS Bulldogs and the CHHS Trojans.
Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County Schools, said the fight is historic in the sense that it is the first time a PCHS student has piloted a fly-over at Bulldog Stadium.
“The flyover will be a neat opportunity to showcase the Pike County Schools’ First in Flight and Leadership Academy,” Bazzell said. “We are excited about the program and congratulate Dalton Earles of PCHS and Nikki Hughes of Goshen High School. Both are senior members of the First in Flight and Leadership Academy. They have completed all of the solo and cross-country requirements for certification as private airplane pilots. The only thing that stands between them and their final certification is their FAA cross-country check.
Dalton’s “check” is scheduled for Aug. 25 and Nikki’s Aug. 27.
A fly-over is planned for the GHS home football game vs. Ariton on Aug. 26.
Tonight’s flyover will be just prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff. Plans are for Dalton to circle the stadium a couple of times and participate in an air to ground communication over the stadium’s public address system.
Dalton said every flight has been memorable in some way but the flyover will be special.
“I would never have thought that anything like this could happen,” he said. “The flyover at Bulldog Stadium will be something I’ll always remember.”
Bazzell said the First in Flight and Leadership Academy is a one-of-a-kind program and is made possible through a partnership with Trojan Aviation.
“We are proud to offer this academy to our students, ” Bazzell said. “Dalton and Nikki are excellent students and outstanding citizens,” he said. “And, from all reports, they are excellent pilots. They are exceptional in every way.”
The Pike County School System has seven academy programs to offer its students and the First in Flight program, by its nature, has the smallest enrollment – around two or three. The demands are great. So are the rewards, Bazzell said.
For more information about the First in Flight and Leadership Academy, contact the Pike County Schools at 334-566-1850.