Congratulations to 17-year-old Rachel Senft, EAA 1025862, who soloed August 29 on a calm Wisconsin summer day.
Rachel’s dad, Jim, said Rachel grew up surrounded by aviation, helping him restore a Coot homebuilt at a young age and later helping build an RV-12 in the family’s basement. As her passion for aviation developed, Rachel inspired her dad to organize a division of Eagles Nests Projects, a science, technology, engineering, and math aviation program, at her high school.
The program, named Falcon Aviation after the school’s mascot, has already proven to be a success.
“This Eagle’s Nest project has not only completed Falcon One, a Van’s RV-12, but has produced four pilots,” Jim said. “The program is currently working on its second aircraft named F2 Talon, which is expected to be completed by the first of the year.”
In addition to being involved in her local aviation community, Rachel has also volunteered at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh painting fuel tanks and staining the docks at the seaplane base, received recognition from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for rescuing a swimmer who suffered from a heart attack while she was on life guard duty, and is a dog trainer and accomplished equestrian.
On the day of her solo, after a pre-solo exam and a perfectly handled simulated engine failure, Rachel’s instructor Dan Lund said he gave some last minute bits of advice.
“First, don’t get creative and do things just as you have been trained to do and everything will go perfect,” he said. “Second, that the airplane would be lighter without me and will act a little different; be ready for it. And lastly, no matter what happens on the approach, if it doesn’t look good, go around. While it was a little late in the evening, I told her she still had time for her three circuits, and off she went.”
Rachel made a textbook landing on her first trip around the pattern, and her instructor and father couldn’t have been more proud.
“Rachel, congratulations on your accomplishment,” Jim said. “I’m very proud of you!”
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 email@example.com.