2013-06-07 / Neighbors

Young pilot flying toward her dream

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Katie Makara, a junior at Scarborough High School, is working toward her pilots license. Makara, a staff sergeant with the Civil Air Patrol’s Maine Wing’s Portland Squadron, completed her first solo ride in a plane in mid-May. (Courtesy photo) Katie Makara, a junior at Scarborough High School, is working toward her pilots license. Makara, a staff sergeant with the Civil Air Patrol’s Maine Wing’s Portland Squadron, completed her first solo ride in a plane in mid-May. (Courtesy photo) Scarborough High School junior Katie Makara feels at home thousands of feet up in the air. After completing her first solo flight in a Cessna 172 Friday, May 17, Makara is working toward obtaining her pilot’s license.

“It was an amazing experience,” Makara said of the solo flight in a press release announcing the accomplishment. “I felt so free and in charge. Like I owned the world. Before I went up I was excited. I didn’t allow myself to get too excited though, because I didn’t want it to take control of my nerves. While I was up there I was just so happy.”

Makara said she got interested in flying a plane after experiencing airplane travel at a young age.

“I started flying by myself on an airplane at 8 years old to visit my aunt in Virginia,” Makara said. “It was exciting to do all the things by myself. It was exciting to experience flying by myself.”

Soon Makara dreamed of becoming a pilot herself. She started training to be a pilot a year and a half ago. She hopes to earn her pilot’s license and pursue a career in the military.

“Nobody in my family has flown, been interested in flying or been in the military, so it was sort of a surprise to them,” Makara said, recalling the time she told her family she wanted to fly.

Makara, who has a younger brother and two older brothers, is a cadet/staff sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

The group, according to its website, was started after World War II with a mission of aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services, including search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian services and other Air Force support roles.

In her role as a flight sergeant, Makara is in charge of overseeing eight to 10 other pilots between the ages of 12 and 17. Her Civil Air Patrol squadron is based out of the Portland International Jetport.

Makara, who got her license to drive a car two days before she took her first solo flight, said flying a plane is, in her opinion, easier than driving a vehicle.

“In a plane you have to pay attention to everything going on, but in a car there is more around you that could damage you. Flying is less nerve-wracking than driving because there is less around that could harm you,” she said.

The hardest part of flying, Makara said, is landing the plane.

“The hardest part is the last three feet of landing because there is so much you have to pay attention to. You need to have your wings level, perfect air speed, land the back wheel first and watch out for wind currents,” Makara said.

Makara’s first solo flight last month, she hopes, is her first step toward a career in either the Navy or the United States Coast Guard.

Last week Makara left for the Naval Academy Summer Seminar, a weeklong camp in Annapolis, Md., for high school juniors who are interested in a career in the military.

Her background in flying, she said, could come in handy whether she goes into the Navy or the Coast Guard.

Makara said one of her favorite places to fly is around the islands off Old Orchard Beach. The view from a plane, she said, is hard to put into words.

“I feel free. Looking down in the air and being able to see miles and miles is amazing. A mile in the sky feels a lot less than a mile on the ground,” Makara said, adding that the most important thing to do while flying is to remain confident.

To become a pilot, Makara will have to spend 40 hours in the air and pass a written test. So far she has spent 15 hours in the air. The rest of her pilot training will have to be done away from the Portland International Jetport. At the end of this school year, Makara and her family are moving to Rowlett, Texas, where she intends to join another Civil Air Patrol Squadron.

Want to comment on this story? Login to our website at leader.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

Return to top