On April 30, Skylar Schoemig became the youngest pilot in her family by taking the FAA check ride to become a private pilot at her home airport, the Wellington Aero Club.
Schoemig started taking lessons with a family friend in his 1948 Stinson S-108 tail dragger when she was only 12 years old. Her flight instructor, Kevin Proodian, is an American Airlines captain who makes a complete 180 when it comes to general aviation. Leaving the high-tech avionics of his professional life behind, Proodian enjoys aviation of the olden days.
Under Proodian’s guidance, Schoemig accumulated more than 120 hours of tail dragger flying without a GPS, just relying on the almost forgotten art of pilotage: following roads and railroad tracks 1,000 feet above the ground with just a chart, a watch and a compass.
Schoemig soloed in the Stinson on her 16th birthday and became an AOPA lifetime member the same day. She completed her FAA check ride shortly after she turned 17.
Giving a check ride to a 17-year-old in a tail dragger was a first even for seasoned pilot examiner Roger Wozniak, and he complimented Schoemig on her theoretical knowledge as well as her “command authority” in the aircraft.
ABOVE: Skylar Schoemig with FAA examiner Roger Wozniak as she receives her private pilot license.