Aiming for new heights

Senior Brock Weinstein flies planes and hopes to become a pilot in the Navy.


Ellen Bruce

Weinstein puts the plane back after a flight.

Aidan Knauth and Erin Reece

The plane zipping through the air at 150 horsepower is flown by senior private pilot Brock Weinstein, who flies a Cessna 172 at the Kansas City Aviation Center in Overland Park, Kan.

According to Weinstein, his interest in aviation started at a young age on family vacations when they traveled on planes.

“I just love the plane, and all of the aspects of the plane were just really cool,” Weinstein said. “I ended up really finding a passion for it and just looked more into it to be able to do it.”

During Weinstein’s freshman year, he got into Civil Air Patrol (CAP) at Air Associates of Kansas where he was introduced to flying, and as a result, the program further sparked his interest in becoming a pilot.

Weinstein’s father, David Weinstein, describes his son’s overall experience in becoming interested in flying planes.

“He wanted to look into it so he and I looked around and he got a trial to go up in the air and that was it,” David said. “He was hooked.”

Weinstein has recently earned his private pilot license, in part he said due to his hard work and countless hours of flying. He added that achieving a private pilot’s license requires taking a written test, a practical test, a flight exam and a minimum of 40 flight hours.

Getting a private pilot’s license is the first step in becoming a pilot in the Navy, Weinstein said. Weinstein said his second step is to go to a college that allows him to pursue his dream of flying.

“I’d like to go into a college that offers a naval ROTC so that I can come out as an officer, fly in the Navy and then see where that takes me,” Weinstein said.

The ROTC, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, is a college and university-based training program for students who will commission as military officers upon college graduation. After committing a certain number of years to the Navy, he can apply to be a Navy pilot. However, Weinstein said he still needs to pass all of his exams and flight tests.

Weinstein’s father is quite content with his son’s decision to go to the Navy, as he thinks it is well-suited for his son’s interests and passions.

“The Navy gives him everything that he is looking for,” David said. “He loves the water, the ocean and the sky.”

Weinstein’s instructor, Susan Legrand, has been Weinstein’s instructor from when he first started his Pilot Quickstart at Air Associates. She says she thinks Weinstein has a military mindset, which she said is beneficial for him in the long run. She said already having the experience of having a private pilot license will benefit him in becoming a naval pilot.

She says to become a pilot, there are many different degrees one can get in college.

“As a pilot you technically don’t have to have a degree that is fashioned toward piloting,” Legrand says.

She said there are a lot of different ways to become a pilot, but the basic training is the same.

“You can have a different degree even for the major airlines, but your training to become a pilot is the same,” Legrand said. “You have to go to a flight training school.”

Legrand said in order to become a pilot, one must be hard working and dedicated. She added she is amazed at Weinstein’s ability to handle his school work along with his flight training at the same time.

“He is able to do it all and that says a lot about his character. I think he is very very well-suited for this industry,” Legrand said. “I hope he keeps up with it because if he can continue with the determination he has, the sky is not the limit for him. He has a lot more for him coming.”