Junior Sam Woodley plans on getting his pilots’ license


Woodley flying over Stephen Decatur High School in a recent excursion.

As the spring semester of the school year is approaching, many Juniors at Stephen Decatur High School are jamming in as many extracurricular activities as they can. Junior Sam Woodley has continued to pursue many interests both in and out of school, the most distinctive one being obtaining his pilots’ license.

In April 2019, Woodley was exposed to the endeavor through his father’s client who offered him a free ride in a plane, further sparking his interest to become a pilot. However, it is not an easy task, three separate tests are required to obtain a pilots license. A written test, an oral test and a practical test are included, each lasting for several hours.

After studying for nearly two hours a day for one month, Woodley has successfully completed the written exam allowing him to take flight all solo. “I was not nervous about not passing the test. I knew if I didn’t pass at the end of the day it would not matter and I would just have to take it again” he stated.

Woodley, as well as several other students are going through the process of getting their license at KOXB Ocean City Municipal Airport. Former aircraft carrier jet pilot, Marty Mckown, now enjoys being their flight instructor. His passion for flying started in fourth grade, with support from those around him he lived his dream of being a Navy jet pilot.

“Being able to do something I personally love while helping others achieve their goal of becoming a pilot is very rewarding, especially in the sky over Delmarva,” Mckown stated.

To obtain a certain amount of flight hours Woodley has appreciated going to numerous places including Easton, Georgetown, Millville, Salisbury and Accomack, Va. He comments on the topic stating, “I love flying because there is so much more freedom I get from being able to do it. I can fly wherever I want almost whenever I want.” He also shares how local landmarks are often visible such as the Ocean City ferris wheel and pier.

Though he wants to continue the process of becoming a pilot, Woodley does not want to take this on as a career. His goal is to attend California Polytechnic State University (Cal-Poly), a university known for their engineering program. According to the school’s website, calpoly.edu, their motto is “Learn by Doing.” Woodley abides by this motto and claims he’s always learned best by participating hands-on. He states, “I think that this way of doing things will really help me succeed.” He is considering taking on a career in aerospace engineering and appreciates how much flying has taught him about related topics such as engines, weather, and aerodynamics.

He also hopes to continue his passion of surfing while in California in his free time. In addition to flying Woodley is also apart of several school clubs that will help him to reach his dream of attending college next year at Cal-Poly.