If you’ve ever been to Montgomery County Airport in Star, you’ve probably run into young pilot and business owner Preston Allen. In fact, Allen has spent his entire life growing up at the airport, and as his dad, Mike Allen, will tell you, “flying is in his blood.”
At age 24, not only has Allen opened his own business, Star Aviation, LLC, with friend Bernie Blake, he also recently accomplished something that is unheard of in the world of aviation.
Recently, Allen acquired a total of five new temporary pilot certificates
Allen has constantly been trying to expand his flying knowledge as well as gain more pilot certificates to accomplish his dream of one day becoming a professional pilot. However, as you can imagine, the hobby of flying as well as becoming certified to fly is not cheap. Allen came up with his own personalized flight plan to put him on the professional pilot tract as well as save him a large sum of money.
Allen had done his research on the federal aviation regulations and found a window of opportunity to overlap his experience and flight time requirements for commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings. He searched the Internet for months, finally finding flight instructor, Dan Gryder, in Atlanta. Gryder was quoted in Russ Niles in AVWeb, “When he first approached me about it I didn’t think it was possible.” Though after Allen’s persistence, Gryder stated, “It took him 60 days to convince me to do this in 30 days.” Together, Gryder and Allen designed a training path that would allow him to keep the cost down from the traditional $100,000 that it would typically cost to obtain these five certificates, but also have enough training and testing to get what he needed.
Already having over 1,200 hours of private pilot flying under his belt and the required written test taken care of, Allen began his instrument training with Gryder Sept. 2. Most of his instrument training was done in a single-engine airplane, and the instrument checkrides were done in a twin-engine airplane. When he wasn’t flying the real deal engine, Allen used a Redbird simulator. Over a month, Allen racked up 100 hours of flight time, which Allen’s dad will tell you, is a “whole lot of flight training.” “I flew day and night between those 60 days,” Allen stated.