NEW PILOT EARNS PRIVATE TICKET IN HOMEBUILT
LIKE MANY ASPIRING PRIVATE PILOTS, Blake Crawford, EAA
1047792, took and passed his checkride as soon as he possibly
could—on his 17th birthday. What made Blake’s private
certificate less than ordinary, however, was the fact that he
flew it in a homebuilt RV-7A, which he also had a hand in
building with his father at their home on the Polly Ranch
Airport near Houston, Texas.
Not only that, said Blake’s flight instructor Valerie Vaughn,
but one of Blake’s instructors was “time-to-climb” world
record holder Bruce Bohannon, and the person who signed off
on his checkride was aerobatic champion pilot and DPE Debby
Blake and his father, Russell, built the RV-7A. “Blake
bucked a lot of rivets and did other things,” said Valerie, who
instructs at Houston Southwest Airport’s Dutch Wings Flight
School. He did most of his dual and solo work in the RV with
Valerie, including his first solo and his cross-country. Valerie
called him a natural pilot who was a joy to have as a student,
but that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily make aviation his
career. “Blake is planning to pursue engineering as a career,”
He had a total of 43 hours in his logbook when he got his
ticket, but probably more than 100 flying with his dad and
Blake Crawford and Debby Rihn-Harvey talk inside the RV-7A.
Blake Crawford and examiner Debby Rihn-Harvey stand on the wings of the RV-7A Blake flew in to pass his checkride.