Kamiak junior earns his pilot’s license

Avery Hammerman, 17, one of the youngest licensed pilots in the U.S.
By Brandon Gustafson | Jun 13, 2018
Courtesy of: Avery Hammerman Avery Hammerman giving a double “thumbs up” after finishing a flight in a Piper Archer II aircraft.

Like most high school juniors, Kamiak’s Avery Hammerman was looking forward to getting his license.

He worked effortlessly at honing his craft, working with an instructor, and studying procedures at home.

The only difference is Hammerman, 17, already had his driver’s license, and was studying to get his private pilot’s license, which he earned last month.

“You have to be 17,” Hammerman said. “Otherwise I would have gotten it sooner.”

His interest in flying goes back to when he was in elementary school.

“I think the interest stems from just being around Paine Field my whole life,” he said. “I also did a Young Eagles flight at Aviation Day a few years ago, but I’d say I’ve been interested in this since I was 6.”

Since starting his flying days, he’s flown six different types of aircraft, and does have a personal favorite.

“The Mooney M20 is my favorite I’ve flown,” Hammerman said. “It’s in my flying club, and it has a glass cockpit, which makes it really cool to fly.”

Hammerman is a member of the Civil Air Patrol Cadets with the U.S Air Force Auxiliary, which he joined after meeting members at the 2014 Paine Field Aviation Day.

He ended up finding an instructor and a flying club, Caballeros LLC, and started his journey to getting his license.

“You start flying with your instructor and really just get the basic concept,” Hammerman said. “You learn how it feels to fly and land, you work on your radio talk with the control towers. Your first 10 to 15 hours are really just familiarizing yourself with the aircraft.”

After a while, Hammerman’s instructor signed off on allowing him to do his own solo flights.

“I could take the plane and fly it on my own,” he said. “It had to be within 50 nautical miles.”

Flying solo wasn’t the final step, however, as a lot more training was required.

“It’s all just a continuation of training,” Hammerman said. “You’re always learning new things every flight. You’re getting to be more exact and precise, and perfecting your decision-making.”

After more training, Hammerman did his first few extended flights, referred to as “cross country.”

“Most people would think that means flying to the East Coast,” Hammerman said. “But that’s not the case.”

For this leg of his training, Hammerman had to complete a flight greater than 50 nautical miles, roughly 57 miles, along with a few other guidelines.

“You have to draw out your plan and route, and get it approved by your instructor,” Hammerman said. “You do a few with your instructor and a few alone.”

As his training went on, he was also studying for his tests - both his written exam and his flying exam.

“You have to go through all possible maneuvers and scenarios such as engine stalling and things like that,” Hammerman said. “You either do what’s called ‘ground school’ or home study when preparing for the tests. I did the home study.”

There are a lot of specific hours needed to complete your training, Hammerman said.

“You need at least 40 total hours,” he said. “It’s a culmination of a lot of things like night flying, cross countries, solos, and things like that. There are a ton of specified hours, and I think the national average is roughly 70.”

Hammerman passed his final exam at Harvey Field in Snohomish on May 19, and finally earned his license after years of study and practice.

“With having my license, that’s it for now,” he said. “I’ll do some lunch flights with my friends and fly for practical use.”



Avery Hammerman giving a double “thumbs up” after finishing a flight in a Piper Archer II aircraft. (Courtesy of: Avery Hammerman)
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