After 1st solo flight, Anthony preparing for career in aviation
Evan Anthony knew from the moment he rode on an airplane for the first time as a third grader that he wanted to be a pilot.
Now the 20-year-old from Darbun is well on his way to achieving that dream.
He completed his first solo flight on June 8 and has been accepted into the commercial aviation program at Delta State University, where he’ll start in the fall semester.
The 2017 Columbia Academy graduate loves soaring through the air.
“It’s just so peaceful. You’re in command. You’re up there. You’re away from everything. It’s just like a vacation,” he said. “I can’t compare it to anything else.”
Anthony completed his first solo on a clear day at the Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport south of Hattiesburg. It required three takeoffs and three landings with only himself in the plane to make the decisions and steer the aircraft, although his family, friends and instructors were on the ground for moral support.
He said everything was normal until he got to pattern altitude, which is 1,000 feet above actual ground level.
“And I looked back at the airport and I was like, ‘Oh, what am I into right now?’ But up until then, I wasn’t nervous. Really wasn’t nervous up there, but it definitely was a surreal moment. That’s the only word for it,” he said. “Three years ago I was graduating high school; three years later I’m flying a plane by myself. It’s unreal.”
Everything went flawlessly, he said.
He had delayed an earlier attempt at his first solo at Columbia-Marion County Airport because it was too windy. Anthony said your first solo flight is not the time to be taking risks. He has an app on his phone called ForeFlight, which allows him to keep track of how the weather is developing for flying.
Anthony is the son of Mike and Johnna Kay Anthony and said ironically that his dad hates flying. He’s jokingly told his son that he will have to have a lot of flight experience before he goes up in a plane with him.
Anthony said he’s appreciative of those who have helped him get to this point. That includes Pearl River Community College, where he went after doing one year at Southwest Mississippi Community College. He said he matured a lot at PRCC, making the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and graduating this past semester.
Also, he thanked his flight instructors, calling them a godsend. Rodney Brown, who lives in the Kokomo area, took Anthony up for the first time, and Glenn Pace, Logan Smith and Logan Stephens have taught him at Majestic Aviation in Hattiesburg.
Anthony is working on getting his private pilot’s license before beginning at Delta State in August. The program is the only one of its kind in Mississippi and has a national reputation for preparing pilots.
After college, Anthony is considering joining the U.S. Air Force or becoming a flight instructor. Either way, his sights are firmly set on eventually becoming a commercial pilot.
And to think it all started with a single flight.
Anthony vividly recalls details about that day: A DECA trip, where he was tagging along with his mom. Jackson with a stop in Memphis on the way to New York. Northwest Airlines.
“I remember almost everything except the flight number,” he said. “It was extremely bumpy, and I don’t even know why I got addicted so fast.”
Since then he’ll often go into the cockpit to talk with the pilots. He’d ask them how they got there and said he heard two things the most: 1. Delta State and 2. The Air Force.
Although the industry has changed because there’s an instructor and pilot shortage, he feels that will still be a clear path to success. “If I stay loving flying like I’m pretty sure I will, I’ll never have a job because it’s fun,” he said.
Pictured Above: Evan Anthony, seen here after his first solo with his parents, Mike and Johnna Kay, will be enrolling in the fall in the commercial aviation program at Delta State University. The 2017 Columbia Academy graduate said flying will never be working for him because he loves every aspect of it. | Photo Submitted