Friday, May 30, 2014
Share Your Story: Chris Horak, Future Air Force Pilot
Welcome to the 34th "Share Your Story" post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, novels, etc. These posts show students the diverse range of experiences/careers available to them in aviation. More details + how to participate can be found via the following: Click Here and Get Involved
Hey everyone, my name is Chris Horak and I am a 21 year old upper gulf coast native. I began taking flying lessons in October of 2012 with Rod Kellogg as my instructor. I trained in the good ole PA-28 Warrior N8410C out of Jack Edwards Airport. My training was stretched out over a year and a few months due to me trying to juggle flying along with being a full time college student. I took my check ride on 16 Feb 2014 up in Jasper, Alabama at Walker County Airport with Joey "Gordo" Sanders. Gordo is a retired Colonel, U.S. Air Force F-4 Fantom pilot and currently flies for Fedex. He does examining on the side. I had around 60 hours when I took my check ride.
One of my main goals from the beginning of my flight training, was to eventually get my tail wheel endorsement. I have always had it drilled in my head that "you aren't a real pilot until you can fly a tail wheel airplane." So I went to Ferguson Airport (82J) and took lessons in the good ole Piper Legend Cub, AL-3C-100, N155WB. My instructor was the wild Capt Jimbo Wilson, former U.S. Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk pilot. Jimbo has been a family friend of mine my whole life and used to skydive with my father. I also received some valuable instruction from former NFO John Jenista. After 7.6 hours and 79 landings, I received my tail wheel endorsement on 19 April 2014. I am completely hooked on tail wheel flying now. If you haven't experienced it yet, get trained and you will find out exactly what I am talking about.
The next fun/educational thing I got myself into was Capt Jimbo's Super Decathlon Spin Recovery/Intro to Aerobatic Manuever training. I learned how to perform and was evaluated on aileron rolls, loops, falling leafs, immelmanns, 1/2 Cuban 8s, approach turn stalls, spin recovery, inverted flight, the Marine Corps way of dropping a nuclear bomb from an A-4 Skyhawk (simulated obviously), and of course Capt Jimbo's way of losing a Mig that's on your tail. That was the coolest experience that I have ever had flying. I am continuing to get aerobatic training from a CFII friend of mine, Dewitt, in a Starduster SA300. That is one heck of an airplane!!
The next step for me is Air Force pilot training. I graduated from the University of West Florida on 3 May 2014 with a degree in mathematics, and received my commission through the ROTC program, as a 2d Lieutenant on 2 May. I am currently awaiting orders for flight school but am super excited to see what God has in store for me.
I have always been around aviation my whole life. My grandfather flew, my dad flew, and they both were skydivers as well. Being in the sky never was an issue for me growing up. I remember countless family trips taken by air with my dad being PIC. I even have a tandem skydive under my belt. Needless to say, the thought of being a pilot has always stood in the back of my mind but I never took action to it until halfway through college. I know that this is what I am meant to do with my life and I look forward to serving my country while at the same time, doing what I love to do the most!
Blue Skies Everyone,
Thanks so much Chris for writing in and sharing your story! It's awesome to be hearing more from Rod's students down on the Gulf. It looks like you're just about to get started on an exciting path with the Air Force, which is amazing. I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to hear how it goes!