EARNING HIS WINGS
The sky is the limit for the 2017 Worthington Christian graduate.
When he was growing up, Kyle Sanders spent hours in airports. His father, Fred’s position with Chase Bank, required many flights to California. As a result, Sanders (WC ’17) spent time waving goodbye and welcoming home his dad at airports.
“We were always with my mom (Jenny) when we dropped him off at the airport,” Sanders said. “I remember finding airplanes interesting, and that interest stayed with me.”
Now Sanders watches the tearful farewells and return home hugs as part of his job as a pilot for Republic Airlines. Sanders recently completed his airline piloting license and spends his workday flying from airport to airport.
By the time he reached middle school, Sanders knew he belonged to the sky. In his first two years of high school, he began to plot out his future, researching what it would take to earn his wings.
As it turns out, it is a long journey down the runway.
“You have to get about five or six licenses to fly an airline,” he said. “You start with a private pilot’s license; then you get an instrument rating. Then you must earn a commercial pilot license. And then you need a minimum of 1,500 hours of experience flying.”
To rack up the hours, Sanders took a job as a flight instructor for those trying to get a private pilot license. That requires yet another license. To top it all off, one needs licensure and training to fly specific jets.
“One of the things that made getting all the licenses time-consuming was training in Ohio,” Sanders said during a particularly snowy week in January. “Look what the weather is like today. You might fly one day out of seven during weeks like this one.
“A lot of students do their training in Florida or Arizona because they know they can fly every day because there’s always good weather there.”
Most people may have never heard of Republic Airways or seen one of the airliners Sanders flies for.
“What we do is fly to some smaller market cities for Delta, American, and United,” he said. “All of our planes will have either one of those companies’ paint jobs on it. We fly the routes from smaller to big cities.”
One of the things the Worthington Christian graduate has learned is to embrace the chaotic schedule of being a pilot.
“Any job is as stressful or relaxing as you make it,” he said. “You are always on the go. You start your day at your house, but before you know it, you are in New York and off to Charlotte, N.C. And then you end up back at home in about seven hours.
“I still think being around airports is a fun environment. You walk down the hallway, and everyone is going all the around the world.”