A 12-year-old boy from Gainesville is on his way to becoming a pilot.
“I saw this and I just wanted to do it, it looked really fun.”
Merlin Jiles is convinced flying was a dream he wanted to pursue, convincing his mom was a whole other story….
“I asked her and begged her and just kept bugging her and eventually she said yeah we can go out and try it,” Merlin said.
But in order to attend the classes, Merlin and his mom had to agree on one thing.
“She told me that she would pay for half of them and I would have to pay for the other half and that’s what we’re doing right now,” Merlin said.
In order to pay for his half of the flight classes, Merlin mows neighbors’ lawns and makes paracord survival bracelets.
Despite Merlin’s dedication, he is still too young to get his pilot’s license.
“He’ll do his solo when he’s 16 and then whenever he’s 17 he can actually take his check ride and be an actual FAA licensed pilot.”
Flying solo doesn’t intimidate Merlin one bit.
“I’ll just be doing the same thing but Brandon won’t be there to help me if I do anything wrong,” Merlin said.
Brandon Ayers, Merlin’s instructor, says Merlin is the youngest student he’s ever had and he’s rising to the challenge.
“I’ve taught several 16 and 17-year-olds,” said Ayers. “Last March I had a 17-year-old get her license but he’s definitely the youngest.”
“It’s just really fun to do and easy too,” Merlin said.