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Open house at the Huntington airport

Jody Cox speaks to participants about a flight school.

Jody Cox, a certified flight instructor, held an open house at the airport to determine how many people in Emery County were interested in learning to fly an airplane. With the wind blowing from 40-60 miles per hour on the airport hill, more than 35 people braved the wind to came hear and learn what it takes to fly. The wind was so strong that it could almost blow you across the field. Inside the huge airport hangar the wind could be heard whistling around the doors and windows.

The open house was held in the large airplane hangar at the airfield. Airport Manager Leon Defriez and Commissioner Jeff Horrocks were on hand to welcome those interested in becoming pilots. Flight Instructor Jess Hall, Cox's first flight instructor came from the Price airport to support Cox at the open house. He gave encouragement to those interested in becoming a pilot.

Cox has been a flight instructor for several years, a member of two flying clubs and an aircraft dispatcher for an airline.

In Cox's presentation he covered briefly several topics related to flying that student pilots would be expected to learn, such as weather, safety, flight plans, aircraft performance, navigation, weight and balance, FAA regulations, what you can do with a private pilots license, flight training and ground training. To be a pilot you have to have a minimum of 40 hours of flight training. With today's modern aircraft there is a lot to learn in addition to flying the airplane. Part of the 40 hours of flight training will be flying 10 hours on your own before getting a pilots license. Some cross country flying will be required.

A person wanting to become a pilot will have to learn how to fly at night to avoid flying into a mountain or other hazards. Also how to read the instruments on the dash to get you from point "a" to point "b" without seeing anything outside the cockpit. Some training in emergency landing procedures will be given such as landing without the engine running.

After the flight training and the ground training the student pilot will be required to take a written test and a practical test. To become a pilot you also have to pass a physical examination by a doctor.

A student flying two to three times a week could get a pilot license in three months.

With a pilot license you can carry up to nine passengers if your plane can carry that many. You can go anywhere in the United States, Canada and Mexico night or day. This can be a lot of fun.

Flying a plane can get you from place to place much faster than going by car. In a small plane, you can fly from Salt Lake to Los Angeles in five hours or from Huntington to St George in 1 and ½ hours depending on the speed of the airplane.

Huntington airport is a great place for flight training because it does not have the congestion that exists around large airports like Salt Lake. Just think of all the things that can be seen from the air in and around Emery County.

Joel Gross, a Provo fireman trained by Cox, came down from Springville to tell how he was able to get his pilots license while working. He finished his license in 42 hours while working for the Provo Fire Department. That was completed in July last year.

The next part of Cox's presentation was about the differences in owning a plane and a club of aircraft enthusiasts owning a plane. Cox has lined up two aircraft mechanics to inspect and maintain any aircraft purchased by the group.

Flying with an instructor, including the rental of the aircraft, the fuel and maintenance will cost between $120-140 per hour depending upon the aircraft used or about $6,000-8,000 to get a pilots license. If a club owns the plane the cost per hour would be less for club members. The group was asked how many would be interested in joining a flying club and were given an application form to fill out.

Cox would like to start a ground school that would be held twice a week. He thanked everyone for coming to the open house.

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