Avionics News December 2020 - 60

THE MAKING OF A THIRD-GENERATION PILOT
Continued from page 59

For Mac Copeland, Thursday, July 2 started earlier
than most days.
It was 4 a.m. when his alarm awakened him. He began
his solo-flight preparations with a cup of pilot fuel -
coffee to other humans - before pulling up the K31
Automated Surface Observation System weather briefing
on his phone in hopes that the forecast low-level clouds
and rain hovering over the northeast of the Wichita metro
area would continue to move in a northeasterly direction.
Mother Nature smiled on Mac Copeland and his
family, moving the weather out of the way so Mac
could continue his plan to be the third generation of the
Copeland family to solo from what today we know as
Beech Field - which overlays the footprint of the original
Copeland Airport.
The day would follow in the track Mac started months
earlier.
While attending the University of Kansas and playing
football, Mac found time and earned his way to pay for
flying lessons. He was following a family tradition.
Mac did not fly with Lindbergh or Earhart or his
grandmother. But growing up, he always occupied the
right seat as the family flew to their favorite weekend
getaway at Grand Lake - and he attended AirVenture
Oshkosh 12 consecutive years, spending time as a
volunteer escorting guests and VIPs around ground as
familiar to him as his backyard.
After growing up in a flying family and flying with not
only his dad but Sean Tucker in his Extra 300, Mac was
further influenced to focus on a self-taught ground school
- and, of course, his flying.

A few trips around the pattern in N5087K
Mac's plane for his solo flight was a 1980 Cessna 172,
owned by the Air Capital Aviators Club and hangared at K31.
While the low clouds moved off to the northeast, just as needed,
the sky didn't completely clear and a thin haze hovered over
the Wichita area. But the weather was comfortably visual
meteorological conditions when Mac, preflight and planning all
completed, turned the key on the Skyhawk.
Engine warmed, oil temp in the green arc, and winds out of
the south, Mac taxied to the departure end of Runway 19 at
Beech Field, completed his run-up checks, and cleared for the
departure accelerated to his first takeoff, flew the pattern and
made a picture-perfect first landing and full stop.
One down, two to go.
The second takeoff mirrored the first, as did Mac's smooth
three-point touchdown.
Two down, one to go.
For some pilots flying their first solo, it's the third circuit
when things get a little sloppy. For some, it's due to a
variable combination of nerves and feeling more relaxed after
two successful circuits. But Mac held his sharp focus and
disciplined flying skills to the point that it would be hard to
discern landing number three from the first two.
Mac flew smoothly and consistently, as seen in the video
captured by his father, David.
Now, with that milepost behind him, Mac turned his
attention to his coming return to college, his return to the
gridiron and completing his pilot training with an eye toward
a check ride later this year.
Since his solo, Mac continues his football career at KU,
studying, and is working toward his private pilot's certificate.
Judging by the video of his solo performance, expect to see
Mac Copeland become the third generation of Copelands to
join the ranks of aviators. q

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Avionics News December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News December 2020

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Avionics News December 2020 - Intro
Avionics News December 2020 - No label
Avionics News December 2020 - Cover2
Avionics News December 2020 - 1
Avionics News December 2020 - 2
Avionics News December 2020 - 3
Avionics News December 2020 - 4
Avionics News December 2020 - 5
Avionics News December 2020 - 6
Avionics News December 2020 - 7
Avionics News December 2020 - 8
Avionics News December 2020 - 9
Avionics News December 2020 - 10
Avionics News December 2020 - 11
Avionics News December 2020 - 12
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Avionics News December 2020 - 15
Avionics News December 2020 - 16
Avionics News December 2020 - 17
Avionics News December 2020 - 18
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Avionics News December 2020 - 20
Avionics News December 2020 - 21
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Avionics News December 2020 - 28
Avionics News December 2020 - 29
Avionics News December 2020 - 30
Avionics News December 2020 - 31
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Avionics News December 2020 - 70
Avionics News December 2020 - 71
Avionics News December 2020 - 72
Avionics News December 2020 - Cover3
Avionics News December 2020 - Cover4
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