Joy of Flying

A Cirrus Pilot in the Making?

Savannah Sclair thought she was going to be driving five hours to Spokane for a little father-daughter bonding at August’s AOPA Fly-In until she and her dad, Ben Sclair hitched a ride with Cirrus Regional Sales Director Ivy McIver in her SR22T.

While Savannah, 15, wasn’t raised in an airplane as her dad was, she had been flying with him several times in a friend’s J-3 Cub. She enjoyed every minute of every flight and was developing a love of flying. But this flying experience in a Cirrus was very different. About 20 minutes into the 90-minute flight, Ivy turned to Savannah and said, “Your plane.” She then proceeded to talk Savannah through how to disengage the autopilot and hand fly at 11,000 feet on an IFR flight plan. Within moments, Savannah held altitude and heading very smoothly.  

“Do you play a lot of video games?” Ivy asked Savannah. “No,” came a quiet reply. “Well you are spot on, good job.”  In fact, a passenger in the plane asked if the autopilot had been re-engaged.

As they made their way to Spokane, Savannah kept the plane on the straight and narrow until about two miles out on the instrument approach at KSFF. That’s where Ivy took over and landed. Savannah just beamed for the rest of the day, proud of the compliments on her skills and thrilled by the experience of being at the controls of an airplane. 

Was a pilot born that afternoon? Over dinner that evening, Ben told her, “If you truly want to learn to fly, we’ll make it happen. But you have to seek it out. I can’t make you want to learn. You have to go get it.”

Active in many things and a good student, her proud dad says she’s got the smarts to learn flying’s many nuances.  He does admit he can’t wait until she taps him on the shoulder and says, “Dad, I’m ready.”

Read the original story as told in GA News.