Chapter 36

Hagerstown, Maryland

Madison Richardson

2022 Chapter 36 Ray Scholar:

Madison Richardson

October 2023:

This month has had so many experiences and challenges that I’ve delt with to get through all my training! Starting this month I still needed all my solo XC time, night flying, IFR time, and my checkride prep hours. On October 3 I did my long solo cross country from Hagerstown to Shenandoah, Martinsburg, and back to Hagerstown. Then we finished up my night flying two Saturdays in a row. On October 12th and 13th I flew solo to Capital city to get my last few solo XC hours. Then we did my IFR time as well and the last two weeks before my checkride have been hammering out practicing maneuvers and landings! Wednesday, October 25th was my PPL checkride and my 17th birthday and I am pleased to announce that I passed!! I would like to thank chapter 36 for trusting to wait out until my birthday last year to award me this scholarship! It has been truly a blessing and such an amazing opportunity that not many people get to experience!



September 2023:

This past month has been a lot of prep-work for my check-ride. I started the month off with solo work and leaving the airport for the first time ever and flying over my home! Since then Joe, Willie, and I have been working hard to get my maneuvers and short field take offs and landings checkride ready! We are waiting for good weather to finish my night requirements, and then it’s just my solo XC time! I’ve also been working with Ray and Tobias to get my ground knowledge in tip top shape for my oral! I cannot wait to see what happens this next month!



August 2023:

This month was a big one for me!! I briefly mentioned at the meeting at the beginning of the month that my landings have been scaring me and I’ve been struggling to fly solo again. Well, this month, Joe and I were flying three times a week hammering out landings, whether that be in a 15-20 knot crosswinds or a beautiful calm day. Finally, on August 20th I faced my fear. On this particular day my mom and I woke up early and drove to the airport and I pulled the airplane out all by myself, preflighted, and got in. Then…I had a small breakdown, dried my tears and taxied away to the end of the t-hangar to call ground. I proceeded to top my goal of 3 landings and I ended up doing 6 that day!! I would’ve done more but someone had the plane booked after me! I have never felt so calm and comfortable in the pattern! Joe and I then flew to KMRB on the 23rd and did some touch and goes before coming back to KHGR. My checkride has been officially scheduled for October 25th, my 17th birthday!!


July 2023:

This past month has been a lot of review for me but I have had some cool opportunities as well! For most of my flights I have been working with Joe on my landings since they haven’t been the best lately. For those, we have done many patterns at both KMRB and KHGR. Then there was one day that Joe and I took a flight to Allentown and back to drop someone off and I got to do all the flying and radio calls myself. That was a super fun flight where I got to have a lot of time in the trimmed out airplane and talking to flight following. Allentown is also a class Charlie airport so I got my first ever experience flying into and out of a class Charlie airport! Overall, this month has been very eventful and fun!!



June 2023:

This month has been very busy with my personal schedule as I was at civil air patrol encampment for an entire week. Because of this I only flew once this month. I flew the 15th and we did some basic pattern work at both N68 (Franklin County) and KHGR! I also am trying to find new ways to improve my landings, so on this flight I tried sitting up higher and I think it was helpful!!


May 2023:

This past month has been a busy one for my flight training, even though I’ve only flown 4 times! My first flight on May 12th consisted of orientation to the new Garmin 355 that was put in the plane and touch and goes at KHGR and KMRB. It wasn’t my best flight but it was a learning experience. My next flight on May 19th was crosswind touch and goes and traffic pattern work. On May 23rd we did about 4 loops around the pattern and then Joe kicked himself out so that I could go up and do a few loops around the pattern solo. This was a bit nerve racking as this was the first time since my first solo back in December that I’ve been up by myself. It wasn’t perfect but I am still alive and the plane still flies! Then, my last flight of the month was May 26th. We did touch and goes and traffic patterns at KMRB. This is my last flight with Joe until he gets back from Europe in June! Overall, this month of flying has had its ups and downs but it’s been great learning experience!


April 2023:

Just like last month, this month we didn’t get much flying done either, due to weather and other obligations. However, I did fly on 4/21 and we went from KHGR to KMRB and did some pattern work. However, this wasn’t just any normal pattern work, we were doing landings in 15 gusting 22 knot direct crosswinds. So that was a very fun learning experience!! I got to really work the rudder and the controls!! I sadly only got one picture because i was so focused on flying, but i will get some more next month!!


March 2023:

Just like the past few months I didn’t fly much due to weather, but I did get lucky enough to fly twice this month. Our first flight of the month was on March 17th and we flew from KHGR to the Saint Thomas VOR before doing some PPL maneuvers and heading back home. It was geared to be like a check ride, back to back stuff. Then I flew on March 21st and we did my long cross country dual since I'm not comfortable flying it solo just yet. Let’s hope for more flying in April!!


February 2023:

This month has been another month of only 1 flight day. However, on the one flight day we traveled from Hagerstown to Front Royal to Culpepper, and then back to Hagerstown. Winds were a little sporty but nothing we couldn’t handle. It gave me a lot of experience with calling to get flight following, dealing with traffic, and landings. However, that is not all! Due to the decrease in hours I’ve been flying lately, I decided to dedicate my time to getting my written knocked out of the park, and that’s exactly what I did. Towards the end of January my mom sat me down and we picked a date. No if, ands, or buts. Come February 20th, and many many hours of studying and practice tests later, I went and took my written. I passed with an 87% and I have never been more happy to get something out of the way than that test! To more flying in March!!


January 2022:

Throughout the month of January I wasn’t able to fly much as weather and schedules weren’t lining up. However, we did do one flight on a day it was particularly windy to KMRB where we tackled landings and pattern work in 20 knot crosswinds. That opened my eyes on how much you truly have to play with the rudders and yoke when landing and keep control of the aircraft no matter what.



December 2022:

Hello, my name is Madison Richardson and I am the Ray Aviation Scholar for 2022. After applying in late June for this scholarship I was pleased to hear back in late august that I was the recipient. It felt so surreal to be given this large sum of money at such a young age to chase a huge dream of mine. My dream is to become a fighter pilot, I hope to be selected to attend the United States Air Force Academy and feel that this scholarship will help to increase my chances.  I know that the selection process is very strict to get into the USAFA so my backup plan is to attend an aviation college and enlist in the Guard to continue to pursue my dream to fly as a career.

I turned 16 on October 25, so we were able to officially submit my application to the EAA for their final approval. Once I knew I was officially approved I took my first lesson at our lovey home airport of KHGR on November 14, 2022. It was the best experience ever, I got to do basic maneuvers and get the feel for the plane I am flying, which is a 1974 Cessna 172N. My flight instructor Joe Baginski, who has logged over 12,000 flight hours, was very supportive and helped me make sure I knew what everything that the aircraft did and how it worked during stalls, slow flight, turns, landings, etc.

I continued to fly weekly, if not multiple times a week, all through November and December. During my lessons we did many, many landings, and loops around the pattern. We also took a lot of scenic trips to Franklin County Regional, and we even flew to Martinsburg once. I was able to log some real IFR time and experience shooting an ILS approach into KHGR. I can say that this was a very eye opening and exhilarating experience and really showed me the importance of earning my instrument rating.

On December 14, 2022, after my third loop around the pattern with Joe I was told to “make this next one a full stop and taxi me back to your mom.” Now, for all the fellow pilots reading this newsletter you can probably guess what was next. At 11 flight hours and exactly 1 month after I began flight training, I heard “that sentence”. I taxied back to the fuel pump and Joe said, “Go solo, you got this.”

With my stomach flipping upside down with joy and nervousness I taxied to the runway, made my call to the tower announcing that I was a student solo and took off on my first SOLO flight. It was the most exciting and nerve-racking experience I think I have ever experienced, and at the same time it was a life changing moment that I will remember forever! I am so thankful for everything this chapter has done for me so far and I am looking forward to all my flying adventures in the future! Safe Skies!


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