Only a handful of New Jersey teens have pilot licenses, and Billy Payne now is one of them.
The 17-year-old from Madison started taking lessons at Certified Flyers of Morristown Municipal Airport in August 2009. Last week, the lessons paid off with his certification to fly.
To qualify for a private pilot’s license under International Civil Aviation Authority regulations, Billy had to spend at least 40 hours in flight, pass seven written exams, complete a solo cross-country flight, and pass a flight test with an examiner.
Recently, the U.K. native piloted a flight to New York’s Sullivan Airfield.
Billy wants to become a military pilot, and has set his sights on Embrey Riddle University in Daytona Beach Florida, where he intends to study Aeronautical Engineering.
But first, there is the little matter of his senior year at Madison High. Billy played junior varsity soccer last season and aspires to make the varsity squad this year.