New pilot hits Harlan skies

Published 3:35 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

A new pilot is flying out of the Tucker-Guthrie Memorial Airport these days, adding to the growing number of licensed private pilots using the facility and flying the skies of Harlan County.

Adam Miracle, 21, of Baxter, recently completed the requirements for a private pilot’s license.

Miracle explained the process required for the license.

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“You have to have 40 hours minimum of flight training time,” Miracle said. “That consists of solo flights, flights with a flight instructor and ground school.”

According to Miracle, required training also included night flights and cross country flights.

Successfully completing the training usually takes approximately six months.

“I got it done pretty quick,” Miracle said. “After you have completed your minimum of 40 hours of flight training with a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), you have to take a written FAA exam, an oral exam with the DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) and then take the practical test.”

Miracle pointed out there are no Harlan-based flight instructors, so he trained with an instructor based in Tazewell, Tennessee.

“He flies to Harlan, and is actually teaching other students in the area,” Miracle said.

While not a commercial license, a private pilot license does qualify the holder for several things other than just solo flights.

“A private pilot can fly with passengers and night flights,” Miracle said. “Once you get your instrument rating you can fly in bad weather conditions.”

The license also specifies what types of airplanes the holder may fly.

“Right now, I can fly basically any little single-engine plane,” Miracle said.

Miracle plans to eventually obtain a commercial pilot license.

“Commercial airlines are hiring like crazy right now, it’s a good time to get a license,” Miracle said.

According to Harlan County Airport Board Chairman Mark Miracle said anybody interested in obtaining a private pilot license may call the Tucker-Guthrie Airport at 606-573-9140.

Currently, there are not a large number of licensed pilots in the Harlan area regularly using the facilities at the Tucker-Guthrie Memorial Airport.

“There are probably about a dozen licensed pilots in the county,” Mark Miracle said.