Sofie Brutseart and Lucy Falso
Many high school juniors and seniors spend time working towards getting their driver's licenses, but Jamesville-DeWitt High School senior, Ben Wormuth worked towards a different license first. Wormuth got his pilot license on Jan. 15, 2017 after 70 hours of flight time and many hours of studying.
Ever since he was young Wormuth has been interested in piloting. In August of 2014 Wormuth began classes at Syracuse Hancock International Airport to achieve his goal. In order to receive a pilot license in New York state pilots need to take a written exam and a flight test. A driver's license is not a prerequisite. Although Wormuth did earn his drivers license before his piloting license he worked on the two simultaneously.
Wormuth practiced on and off for two years due to school work and other activities before finally earning his license. The freedom associated with flying a plane has been worth it. “It’s fun to be able to just get in the plane and go somewhere,” said Wormuth.
Wormuth flies a Piper Archer Chereokee which is a simple, one-engine, lightweight plane. Although he doesn’t own the plane himself, he has rights to use the plane through the Syracuse Flying Club. He can take up to three people into the sky with him and he usually prefers to fly with others.
Generally Wormuth stays in the area, flying in Syracuse and around New York state. He says he flies every couple of weeks. Wormuth recently took a weekend trip to Boston in his plane which was about a two and a half hour flight. “That’s what’s nice about the hobby. You can make it whatever you want to,” said Wormuth.
Wormuth enjoys the many experiences that come along with having his piloting license. When flying out of the Syracuse Hancock International Airport he got to see the military drones that fly out of Syracuse. Wormuth has also had a few alarming experiences. “One time I was landing and there was someone else taking off in the wrong runway so we were kind of coming at each other,” said Wormuth. In the end they both managed to just avoid each other to prevent a possibly damaging accident.
Although piloting takes up most of Wormuth’s free time, he still finds time to take AP Chemistry, AP Literature, AP Calculus, AP Physics, government, and band. He also participates as a lawyer on the school’s Mock Trial team. Because of this, Wormuth is thinking about a career as an aviation attorney, which would mean dealing with law related to air travel. “It kind of combines both my interests,” he said.
With college acceptance letters still arriving, he still has not made a decision on what school he will be attending next semester. But depending on the college Wormuth chooses to attend, he is hoping to continue to pursue piloting in the future.