New flying club takes off

| Scene Reporter

Being a first-semester freshman is unquestionably difficult. Meeting new friends, navigating academics and discovering the college scene are reasons enough not to start a club at the same time. Freshman Joey Berk, however, chose his passion for flying over the challenge. On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Berk held the first meeting of Wash. U. Students Learn to Fly, a club dedicated to aviation.

“I came down here and I have not been flying myself because the airport is hard to get out to and I’ve had classes,” Berk said. “I realized I was missing a true love of mine, and I wanted to be able to rediscover my love for aviation and hopefully share it with others.”

During the meeting, Berk taught the basics of flight, including Zulu time, the phonetic alphabet and cockpit instrumentation.

“In order to prepare for this, I really wanted to get a good range of topics to talk about [for the meeting],” Berk said. “I wanted to think about stuff that people would enjoy and take an interest in.”

People definitely took interest in Berk’s lesson.

“It was much more in depth than I thought it was going to be,” freshman Brian Fink said. “I thought it was going to be pretty basic, but it sounds like you could basically fly a plane. I saw [the event] on Facebook and thought it looked cool.”

Freshman Anna Roudebush had a similar reaction.

“I came into [the meeting] really intimidated,” Roudebush said. “After this, I think I’m going to be a lot more comfortable. [Flying would] be a really interesting and helpful skill to have. You want to tell people, ‘I fly planes.’”

Berk said he planned for the meeting to introduce just enough of the basics to get people excited for more.

“We focused more on covering a broad range of topics rather than getting super in depth in any one topic, and I think that was really exciting to people because they got to see a lot of what goes on in the aviation world,” Berk said. “Next week they’re going to get to see a little more, and in the coming weeks will get to see very specifically how these things work.”

These lessons require preplanning on Berk’s part, so that participants are able to learn in a logical order and to take full advantage of the sessions.

“I founded and planned this group myself without the help of others, which I take a lot of pride in,” Berk said. “I’ve been wanting to get involved in something aviation-related for a long time through a school, and there was not something that existed on the Wash. U. campus like an aviation group; so I took it in my hands, and I feel very accomplished that I was able to succeed.”

In the future Berk hopes to get the flight simulator up and running to allow people to participate in actually learning to fly.

“The Wash. U. Learn to Fly club is a club that is open to all students of all interest and skill levels,” Berk said. “[It’s meant for] kids who want to come to a new club, kids who want to come to a unique club and have a very relaxed, enjoyable experience. You can meet new people and learn a new hobby.”

The club currently meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. More information is available on Facebook.