This past year, Breeana Kovelman ’14 decided to get her license to fly helicopters. At age 16, she is the youngest female to train at the Elite Helicopter Flight School, in Van Nuys. Instructors are amazed at Breeana’s ability to handle the fine motor control of both hands and feet that go into flying a helicopter. They believe that much of this coordination can be accredited to her musical training.
Breeana has been playing both the harp and piano from a very young age. Most do not realize that playing a harp also requires fancy foot work on pedals. In the spring, after playing harp at Chaminade’s gala the night before, Breeana took her first solo flight. With her instructor on the ground, Breeana performed flight maneuvers at low hovering heights such as pick-ups and set-downs, prolonged hovering at low ground, turns and taxiing. Her total flight time was about 15 minutes, although it felt more like an hour. Breeana came back to the hangar with the biggest smile on her face. “It was such a sense of accomplishment – what an awesome feeling!”
On May 11, Breeana took her first high altitude solo flight from Van Nuys Airport to Whiteman Airport performing pattern work involving multiple low approaches to the runway. She captured this moment on video using a Drift camera mounted to the ceiling window of the fuselage. Click here to view a video of Breeana’s first high altitude solo flight.
Breeana will continue to take lessons until she reaches the FAA minimum of 40 hours of flight time – 10 of which must be solo and three must be flown at night – and earns her private pilot’s license for helicopters. Currently at 36 hours, she hopes to complete her license by this summer. Breeana’s next goal is to obtain an instrument rating which qualifies her to fly under instrument flight rules giving her the skill to fly in low visibility weather conditions. Ultimately, Breeana wants to attain her commercial pilot’s license which will permit her to give helicopter tours. Breeana says, “Initially I thought it would be cool to just take out my family and friends, but now I want to give tours to people and eventually become a certified flight instructor. I would love to share my passion of flying with others!”