Deerfield teen flies parents over Navy Pier
Deerfield High School senior Josh Rosen is only 17, but he’s already a licensed pilot. | Photo courtesy Jill Rosen
Updated: October 1, 2012 1:50PM
DEERFIELD — Deerfield High School senior Josh Rosen is only 17, but he’s already licensed to operate two different means of transportation.
The first required the typical course work and a trip to the DMV, while the second involved more rigor and genuine interest.
In addition to his driver’s license, the 17-year-old now boasts a private pilot’s license.
“It’s fascinated me since I was little,” Rosen said of his interest in flying. “My grandpa would take me to the airport and I’d always ask question after question about how they were able to fly. Eventually I wanted to learn how to do it.”
Rosen received the pilot’s license about two weeks ago, on Sept. 11, after having dreamed of the feat for years. He was required to complete many hours of coursework and piloting time with Skill Aviation, a flight school that operates about 12 airplanes out of Waukegan and Wheeling’s Chicago Executive Airport.
A private pilot’s license is a certificate that is held by most active pilots, and allows them command of any aircraft for non-commercial purposes. The license also allows its holders to carry passengers.
“When you’re 17, you’re eligible for the private license, which is a big step forward because you aren’t restricted by what your instructor tells you to do,” Rosen said.
In order to qualify for the license, the student must be at least 17 years old; pass both an oral and flight test administered by an FAA inspector; pass an aeronautical knowledge test; accumulate at least 40 hours of piloting time; and obtain at least a third class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner.
Depending on the amount of time a student has to dedicate to the related coursework per week, a private pilot certificate can be obtained in months or years. Rosen’s coursework overlapped the summer and part of the beginning of this school year.
Rosen currently envisions his interest and involvement in aircraft as more of a hobby than a career choice, although he’s open to the idea that it could one day lead to a career as a flight instructor.
After accompanying his son on one of his first flights as a private pilot, father Darryl Rosen explained that it was both frightening and exciting to sit next to Josh as they flew over Navy Pier in Chicago.
“There’s no feeling that’s so amazing and scary as flying over the lake with your son flying the plane,” Darryl said.
Jill Rosen, Josh’s mom, said that she initially was resistant to the idea of her son flying planes, but later changed her feelings on the matter when she realized it would always be his dream to be a pilot.
“He started out with a flight simulator game when he was about five, where he would just play this game on the computer and keep updating to newer and better programs,” mom said, adding that he eventually moved up to a program that was typically used to train professional pilots.
Like her husband, Jill Rosen also was a passenger for one of their son’s first flights as a private pilot.
Josh admitted that it was strange to be sitting behind the wheel of something his parents wouldn’t know how to operate.
“It’s funny because if you’re driving with your parents and you’re about to drive into oncoming traffic, they know how to fix that — they’ll grab the steering wheel and push you back to where you need to be,” Josh said. “This time it’s a little bit different because no one knows how to fly.”