Friday photo: Joan Manuel De La Cruz private pilot checkride


The moment: Private pilot checkride

The pilot: Joan Manuel De La Cruz

The place: North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport (F45), West Palm Beach, FL

The aircraft: C172S

The memory: I’ve been dreaming of becoming a pilot for at least 20 years, ever since my first flight inside a 737 cockpit when I was 8 years old on an international flight unaccompanied. This year I finally managed to save up the money I needed and dove right into training with the goal of finishing before the end of the year. With the support of my family, I successfully completed my checkride on September 27, 2019! It was a momentous achievement for me, and a memory I will never forget! Now on to more learning and enjoying this achievement!


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It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. "While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice." He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.