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For the love of flying

Hometown aviator helps others fulfill their dreams of taking flight

Courtesy of Brycen Pedrick
Brycen Pedrick’s love of flying began at a young age. He is now an instructor at Crosswinds Flight School in Williamstown.

Brycen Pedrick’s love of flying has come full circle.

He teaches others to fly as an instructor at the Crosswinds Flight School at Crosskeys Airport in Williamstown, the airport from which he made his first general aviation flight in 2010 and his first instructional flight with the Civil Air Patrol.

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“I do enjoy seeing my students become more proficient as time goes on and rely on me less and less while flying,” he said. “Whether it’s a student making their own radio calls or they land the plane themselves without my assistance, it’s nice to see their growth and progress of becoming a pilot.”

Pedrick’s duties as a flight instructor include promoting general aviation and teaching ground knowledge that includes federal aviation regulations, aerodynamics and weather theory.

“About half of my day as a flight instructor consists of teaching students the required ground knowledge …” he explained. “The other half is spent flying, which ranges from discovery flights, to share the excitement of aviation with prospective students, lessons on maneuvers helping a student perfect control of the aircraft, or cross-country flights to other airports to teach navigation skills and enhance the students’ ability to work inside the national airspace system.

“Additionally, I act as a guide and mentor for students throughout their training to guide them to become competent and safe aviators.”

Pedrick was eager to earn his pilot’s license from the time he was a young boy. He graduated from Williamstown High School in 2019, when he was awarded the Brigadier General Billy Mitchell Award and the Amelia Earhart Award from the Civil Air Patrol. The recognition secured his interest in flying.

“My spark for aviation started when I was able to fly in my uncle’s Beechcraft Baron on a trip that he took my brother and I on,” Pedrick told The Sun in 2021. “Later on in life, I joined the Civil Air Patrol, which further amplified my desire to fly. In my junior year of high school, I learned about the aviation program at SIUC (Southern Illinois University) and decided to look further into it.”

Pedrick graduated from the university earlier this year with a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation management after getting an associate’s degree in aviation flight. After completing the four-year program, Pedrick completed training to become a certificated flight instructor.

His flying plans did not stop there. In the short term, Pedrick plans on working toward a CFII (Certificated Flight Instructor Instrument) certificate so he can prepare students for an instrument rating to fly in low-visibility conditions and clouds.

“Later, if possible, I plan on diversifying my flight experience, so I wouldn’t mind flying skydivers,” he explained.

Pedrick plans to earn a master’s degree and has enrolled in two online courses at SIUC. For the long term, he wants to fly either corporate or business flights, but is not interested in working for a particular airline.

Meanwhile, Pedrick’s father Ed is proud of his son’s achievements.

“I was so happy to hear Brycen inform my wife and I that he wanted to utilize his aviation skills that he learned at Southern Illinois University to teach hometown aviation students to fly safely,” he remarked. “… Not only is Brycen an excellent pilot, his teaching method is equally impressive.

“Brycen has a special way of relating to his students,” Ed Pedrick added. “His calm demeanor and love for flying is contagious, which motivates his students to excel. Learning to fly can be very stressful, and a skilled CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) can make all the difference between a student succeeding or not.”

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