Congratulations to Olivia Cardwell, EAA 1259093, who received her private pilot certificate with single-engine, multi-engine, and instrument ratings on her 17th birthday.
Just a year earlier, on her 16th birthday, Olivia soloed. While she was 16 she managed to get her tailwheel, complex, and high-performance endorsements as well, making for a busy year for the aspiring professional pilot.
“That first solo at 16, I was still pretty much a kid,” Olivia said. “That feeling of taking off and looking over and seeing nobody in the plane next to me stuck with me. It was an overwhelming sense of freedom. I was proud of myself.”
Olivia said her love of aviation started at a young age. Her father is a FedEx pilot, and owned general aviation airplanes during her childhood, often taking the controls on flights to her grandmother’s house.
While she was in fourth grade, Olivia’s father told her she might be able to fly on her own someday. Years later, for Christmas when she was 15 years old, he gifted her flight lessons, and her training has really taken off from there.
Olivia said she would like to follow in her father’s footsteps and fly for FedEx herself, after she receives a collegiate aviation degree. She’s a member of AOPA as well as EAA, and sees herself giving Young Eagles rides to youth in her area.
“Getting all three of those checkrides done on one day, you take a deep breath and go wow, it’s done, it’s over with,” Olivia said. “That was a really exciting thing for me that I’ll always remember, although there’s a lot of work left to do.”
Congratulations to Olivia — we can’t wait to see what you’ll be able to accomplish by your next birthday!
Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagle flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.