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Oxford Aviators take flight

Almost everyone who has received a special pin from the pilot on the way to vacation or grown up pretending to be superman has dreamed of learning how to fly, but for sophomore Jacob Havens, dreaming was not enough.

After saving up money for three years, Jacob began to put himself through training for his private pilot's license on his 17th birthday.

"I had been fascinated with flying ever since space camp and had asked for lessons for years," Jacob said. "On my 16th birthday I talked my dad into it after getting my drivers license. He told me that if I could go one year without causing an accident or getting a ticket then I could start flying."

However, Jacob soon found out that driving and flying had very little in common.

"Learning to fly is like drinking out of a fire hose," Havens said. "Everything is just in one ear and out the other."

Jacob has sense accumulated over 260 hours of flight under his belt and, in the hopes of sharing his passion, has created the Miami University Flying Club, known as the Oxford Aviators, this fall.

"I wanted to build a community of pilots and aviation at Miami," Jacob said.

To Jacob, a community does not necessarily mean only pilots, but flight technicians, mechanics and simply anyone who is interested in aviation.

"For every one pilot in the air there are dozens of people on the ground who make it happen," Jacob said. "My biggest goal for the club would be to start building an airplane together. That way I could bring in students from the engineering department and even fashion students to design and create upholstery."

Along with creating a ground school class that students can receive credit for, one of the club's goals is to facilitate training for students who do not already have their pilot's license.

Training would first be offered through Crystal Blue Aviation, a third party unaffiliated to Miami, which meets the university's requirements.

"Of the people who signed up for the club, only a handful were already trained pilots," Certified Flight Instructor for Crystal Blue Aviation Tom Besl said. "It is my understanding that I will facilitate flight training and start putting students through the ropes until Jacob becomes a certified flight instructor."

Flight training would be held at the Miami University airport, a nostalgic, Casablanca-esque airfield that houses one of Crystal Blue Aviation and Miami's own jet, infamously labeled as President Hodge's 'Red Hawk One.'

The Miami University Flying Club has gained plenty of interest, but for students who are unsure, they can go on a discovery flight to take control of the aircraft and decide if flying is for them.