At some point this summer, you probably heard a buzzing noise, looked up and saw a small plane whirring by. Odds are, that was Max Frattasio.
The 17-year old Pembroke resident spent most of his days this summer hanging out at the Cranland Airport in Hanson. He said he would be at it for eight hours, logging hours, and preparing for his pilot’s license exam. That day came on Sept. 16.
Frattasio said the test is broken into two parts. First, there is a two-hour long oral exam. He said his instructor quizzed him on flying from a textbook he’d been reviewing, and he passed. But when it came to the second half of the test, which involves actually getting in the plane, the weather took a turn for worse.
He had to wait about a week before he could finish his test.
He said that half of the test was less stressful.
“They just want to know you’re going to be safe,” he said.
He went up and took the test, which he likened to a driver’s test but in the air. Then came the moment when the instructor told him he’d done enough to earn his license.
“I remember he said ‘I think that wraps it up,’” Frattasio said. “In that moment, a big weight was lifted.”
Last year, he flew on his own for the first time. Before that, he’d been learning for years with his father, brothers and instructors.
In fact, Frattasio said he and some friends have a Sunday breakfast tradition: they meet up at Cranland, and then fly to one of the surrounding airports, going as far as Martha’s Vineyard to grab a bite to eat.
The constant flying came in handy, as a few of the items on Fratassio’s checklist to get his license included long solo flights. He had to do two 50-mile solo flights, and one that was 150 miles.
After he’d completed all the items on the checklist, and passed both oral and practical exams, Frattasio had his license. He said his first thought was to thank his parents.
“I couldn’t have done it without my parent’s support,” he said.
In fact, he had a unique way of thanking his mom for all the help she gave him.
“My first passenger was my mom,” he said.
Frattasio is only 17 still, and isn’t sure he wants to be a career pilot. For now, he said he thinks of it as a backup plan. He is going to go to Massachusetts Maritime Academy and hasn’t decided what to pursue. He does hold flying open as an option though.
“If I can get my commercial pilot’s license in time for next summer, I could give instructions,” he said.
Frattasio could hypothetically instruct his younger brothers, Roman, 15, and Doc, 13, who are just as interested in flying as he is.
“They’re working towards the same thing,” he said.
So now when you hear a buzzing in the sky and see a small plane, it might be a Frattasio up there, but it’s hard to say which one.