At 18, a young person has plenty of responsibilities to keep up with — school, sports, extracurricular activities, volunteering, friendships and figuring out a career path, to name a few. But one local teen has added a unique activity to his plate and recently earned his private pilot’s license at the age of 18.
“From a young age, I was interested in aviation,” said Ben Wormuth, of Jamesville. “One day I decided I wanted to get my pilot’s license and went forward with it.”
Before he was even able to get his driver’s license in 2014, Wormuth’s parents, David and Emily Wormuth, said he could take flying lessons as long as he paid for a majority of the cost. After working several jobs over the summer, he was able to save some money and began to work toward his goal.
After taking lessons from his instructor, Patrick McGarrity, at the Hancock International Airport in Syracuse and passing both a written and practical exam, Wormuth earned his private pilot’s license on Jan. 15. Now, he has the ability to fly in good weather in small planes that can carry up to four passengers.
As a private pilot license holder, Wormuth can fly into any of the 15,000 general aviation airports located in small towns across the United States. He hopes to further his training and earn further ratings to be able to fly in bad weather conditions.
One big lesson that Wormuth said he learned from his time spent studying for and finally accomplishing his goal was that being in control of a plane is a huge responsibility that should be taken seriously.
“Your performance is based entirely on how well you fly,” said Wormuth. “When you’re in the cockpit, you’re the one responsible for the whole plane … You have to be able to be confident because it can be daunting.”
Wormuth is a senior at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, and said he hopes to go to college and eventually study aviation law following his graduation from high school this spring. One of his ultimate goals, though, is to eventually have the time to go on and gain a commercial pilot’s license.
In the near future, Wormuth said he has plans to take a few plane trips and hopes to bring his parents on a longer distance flight, possibly toward New York City.
“It’s gratifying as a parent watching your child pursue a big goal and achieve it. A few days after he got his license, I got to be his first passenger for a beautiful flight over the Finger Lakes,” said his mother Emily. “Can’t wait to go up again!”