Carter Blackwell ’20 – Pilot in training

Josh Buck '20

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Many people have told Carter Blackwell to reach for the skies all throughout his life. However, most people don’t know he took their advice quite literally. Carter, a freshman, is a pilot in training. From a very young age, Carter was exposed to the world of aviation. His dad is a pilot for United, and his mom was a flight attendant. He first started piloting at age 11, with an instructor in the copilot seat.

“My first flight ever was called a discovery flight. It’s a test run to see how much you like flying, and after my discovery flight, I knew wanted to fly planes,” he says.

Then, he began his journey to becoming a pilot. The first step he had to take was to get a student certificate from the FAA. This enabled him to start the second part of the piloting process, getting his private pilot’s license. He is currently working on finishing the required 40 hours of flight time to get his license. After this, he can work on his instrument rating, a qualification you need to have to fly planes in the clouds. Then, he can get his multi engine, commercial, and airline transport pilot licenses. Once Carter acquires these necessary certifications, he can legally fly planes such as 747’s for carriers like United. He says that for an airline to hire him, he would need to go into the Air Force, or fly cargo planes to gain experience operating larger aircraft. He said that joining the Air Force would be the quicker route, but he would prefer to fly cargo planes.

Carter says flying a plane means “the freedom to go anywhere, with no traffic in front of you, the freedom to fly and see the beautiful scenery of Colorado.”

For Carter, not even the sky is the limit.

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Carter Blackwell ’20 – Pilot in training