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Learning to fly: Furuta soars through flight training program
Blake Beideck
Antelope Staff
Photo by Blake Beideck
Yusuke Furuta, a junior majoring in aviation, prepares to go through his pre-flight checklist. Making sure the engine is running correctly and the radio is working properly is one of the most important parts of flight preparation Furuta said.
Info graphic by Blake Beideck

He imagines sitting in the captain’s chair, with the steering wheel in hand and radar beeping, traveling upward through the puffy, white clouds.  

Okay, so he can't fly through clouds just yet, but eventually, he will fly anywhere in the world.  Yusuke Furuta, a junior from Hiroshima, Japan, is in the process of becoming a pilot through UNK's flight training program. Flying was always his dream.  “I was always fascinated with planes as a boy, and I love the sky,” Furuta said.

He decided to pursue his passion of flying and journeyed to the United States in the summer of 2008, starting flight training the following winter.  

Soon after training began, he faced a bit of a scare.  “The airplane stalled and descended more than 500 feet in seconds. It was scary but also fun,” Furuta said. He said it takes mental toughness, courage, and the ability to handle a 500-foot-drop without flinching, to be a pilot.

Furuta has encountered his greatest difficulty in understanding English, a problem most international students face.  “Because everything is taught in English, I have to study extra hard to understand what’s being said in English and the content," he said.  

Whether it is learning a language or avoiding a plane crash, Furuta always maintains a positive outlook.

He currently has logged 130 of 250 hours in the single engine Cessna 174 with Captain Jim Dweyer, and will then start training with a new instructor in the multiple engine aircraft.  After he completes the multiple engine crafts, he will have a license to fly a commercial airliner.

Furuta says he begins each flight like every pilot: check the plane for damages, start the engine and take off. “I normally fly at 5,000 or 6,000 feet at which point I turn off unnecessary equipment, adjust the lean mixture and pay attention to the radio,” he said.

“When I land, I simply turn on the equipment I turned off, readjust the lean mixture and wait for the tower to clear me for landing. I can’t imagine living a life without flying,” Furuta said.

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