This Saturday, we had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Frankie Fremont where the members in our Workshop got a chance to ask him questions.
He completed his first fixed wing solo, first helicopter solo, and earned his private pilot glider license, within 24 hours of turning 16 years of age. After extensive searching, no other records of another person accomplishing this goal were found.
Simple question: How?
Basically just lots of persistence. It took about 6 months of living around a very tight training schedule.
Do you like hockey?
I find it fun to watch, but I’ve never gotten the chance to play.
What’s your goal in life?
My goal in life is to hopefully attend Embry-Riddle to major in aeronautical sciences, which I’ve already began some online courses with, and then go into the airlines.
How much planning went in before that day of flying?
The idea for this goal started almost a year ahead of my 16th birthday. The actual chasing of that dream went on for over six months. There were certain minimum requirements such as Robinson helicopters requires 20 hours of flight time before solo. Then there was also the study time that probably took more time than actually flying. For each aircraft I had to complete a pre solo quiz and preparing for the glider check ride was intense since there was a two hour oral exam before we even went to fly.
Why did you decide to do all three things and not just one?
We couldn’t find any evidence that they had been done together, so the typical aviation pioneer spirit took over. I really enjoy a challenge. There’s no bigger thrill than completing a long term goal.
Follow up. Do you have anything upcoming that you are looking forward to doing since you finally conquered this one?
Having succeeded in this first goal, I’d have to admit, there’s this desire to follow up with something similar, but we’re still kicking those ideas around. I’ve started studying for the fixed wing written, and I’m considering taking the AGI (advanced ground instructor rating). Then I can get serious about preparing for my checkrides in both the fixed wing and helicopter. One thought, is it might be cool to do both of those check rides on my 17th birthday.
I started flying gliders at 14, but it was a 4 hour drive each way to get to the glider port. Considering that didn’t deter me, I had earned the support of my parents, and when I showed some aptitude in the powered flight, the ideas for the goal started to come into shape.
Having been invited twice to play in USA baseball events, I truly thought it was going to be part of my life long term, but I think it’s pretty cool the way things turned out.
Out of the three which do you enjoy the most, and which one did you find the hardest?
Honestly, I enjoy all of them for different reasons. The glider has such a feeling of soaring like a bird, peace, and silence while all up there alone. The helicopter provides a different form of flying that can get us to places a fixed wing couldn’t, allowing you to land out in some pretty cool places. (You also feel like a badass in it). The fixed wing powered aircraft provides the closest experience to real airport operations that you’d experience in an airline industry, which is what I want to go into, so I naturally enjoy that. So I like them all equally as well, and hope I never have to totally give up any of them. In terms of which I found the hardest, I found when actually flying, the helicopter is the hardest because it constantly requires your full attention and nonstop control inputs due to being inherently unstable. But in terms of preparing for the events, preparing for the glider check ride was the hardest.
What is the hardest part of switching between fixed wing, rotor, and gliders? Is it mentally difficult?
Personally, I found the hardest part to be the different rudder inputs. Each aircraft requires a different amount of force on the rudders to keep a turn coordinated. My powered fixed wing instructor constantly tells me “always more right rudder”.