The sky is literally the limit for Blackman High School student Patrick Jordan who plans to log at least 40 hours of flight time and pass a 60-question exam to earn his private pilot license by his 17th birthday on June 25.
Jordan took to the skies for the first time about seven years ago when his parents booked his first Discovery Flight through Murfreesboro Aviation as a reward for bringing home good grades. Jordan described the experience of soaring over the city with a trained flight instructor as “surreal.”
“Here I am, 10 years old, my hands are on the yoke of an airplane,” said Jordan. “It was probably the coolest feeling in the world. My parents, they tell me they’d never seen me so focused in my life.”
The Discovery Flight privileges remained in the picture throughout his time in elementary and middle school, according to Jordan. While his parents still expect him to hold his weight academically, flying is no longer used as an incentive now that he spends the majority of his time in or around planes.
“We are really happy to see Patrick work toward his passion and be committed to it for such a long time. He is going to be a great pilot,” Patrick’s dad, Greg, wrote in an email.
Jordan landed a job working weekends at Murfreesboro Aviation’s flight school in January of 2020. His duties there range from helping dispatch and check in a fleet of nine planes, checking that the hangar and shop are stocked with supplies and even mowing the grass.
“We do everything here that you can do in the general aviation world,” said Jordan.
When he’s not flying, he enjoys engaging in aviation photography, playing golf with friends and watching hockey.
The summer months have opened up his schedule to allow more time for flight school and ground lessons with his instructor Ran Powers to take a front-seat role on the weekdays. Jordan said he plans to log hours as often as possible.
Murfreesboro Aviation General Manager Blake Tumbleson described the mental multi-tasking that has to take place for a pilot to ensure safe travels in the aircraft. Engine management, flight instruments and communication are among but a few factors they must consider at all times.
“You’re always thinking way ahead,” said Tumbleson. “They always say, ‘If you’re thinking in the moment, you’re behind the airplane.’ ”
With all of these factors to consider in the air on top of his long list of responsibilities on the ground, Tumbleson praised Jordan for his can-do attitude and unwavering positive outlook.
“I’ve never seen him in anything but a good mood,” said Tumbleson. “Everybody loves him around here. That’s part of the reason why.”
Murfreesboro Aviation Owner Jim Gardner took notice of Jordan’s dedication to the flight school and offered to sponsor the costs associated with acquiring the PPL. The minimum cost, according to the flight school’s price list, would be about $8,200.
The cost can vary based on the number of hours it takes to complete training. Jordan and Tumbleson agreed that hitting the 40-hour goal is “extremely rare,” given that the national average typically involves at least 50 hours.
The number of hours it takes is mostly based on consistency with training, according to Tumbleson. The more hours spent training results in a heftier price tag.
This accelerated license-by-17 also marks the start of Jordan’s journey into solo flying without an instructor.
“I’ve been waiting on this since the day I was born,” said Jordan, who dreams to fly a 747 into Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii.
He eventually hopes to attend Middle Tennessee State University to study in the Airport Management program and continue flight school at Murfreesboro Aviation.