17-year-old Altus teen earns pilot’s license

August 7, 2013

Chris Crismon of Altus accomplished quit a feat this past week by earning his pilot’s license. He is just 17 years-old. Crismon started training for this week’s accomplishment at the age of 14. He was able to maintain high grades, work many hours a week helping his mother at her doughnut shop, and still found time to take flying lessons. According to the FAA statistics, at the end of 2012 there were only 3,402 licensed private pilots between the ages of 16 and 19.

Crismon is also a cadet with Civil Air Patrol, a non-profit organization that is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The program’s mission is to provide emergency services, promote aerospace education and support youth interested in aviation. His participation in Civil Air Patrol earned him a scholarship that helped with the final push to finish his license.

The scholarship donor, Elizabeth Hawley of Wichitas Falls, Texas, was there this past week to see Crismon make his final landing. She sponsored the CAP scholarship because she loves to fly herself and wanted to give teens like Crismon an opportunity to pursue their goals in aviation.

Lawrence Latimer of Vernon, Texas, was Crismon’s flight instructor, and volunteered many hours to help this worthy young man. Mary Latimer was his pilot examiner and waived her examiner fee. Latimer was extremely pleased with his piloting skills during the examination and was proud to pin pilot wings on his uniform at the completion of the flight test.

Crismon can now fly on his own and says he hopes to own his own plane someday so he can fly his family around. He also wants to some day become an air trafic controller.

Chris is the son of Sophea Crismon and John Crismon of Altus.

Becoming a private pilot requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time which includes solo flights, cross-country flights, instrument work and performance maneuvers. The student must learn regulations, navigation, air space, weather and aerodynamics to prepare for the written test as well as the oral and flight tests. Emergencies rarely occur in flight, but the pilot must always be prepared to handle them if they occur. Proper preparation and decision making can prevent the majority of accidents and students spend many hours developing these skills as part of their training.