Rhyne Jones '13 Flying Solo
Former Greenie golf star training to become a pilot
Self-reliance came naturally to Rhyne Jones '13 on the golf course. Which helps now when he is the only one in the cockpit, thousands of feet in the air. Jones, who is pursuing a commercial pilot's license in Vero Beach, Florida, completed his first solo flight last week. Eventually he would like to fly for a major airline. Jones was doing what else, sitting around an airport, when he gave this update by phone.
Question: Obviously, the big question is what made you want to be a pilot?
Answer: Growing up, my dad (Jonathan) had a small company in Florida. Dad had his pilot's license and I always enjoyed flying. I never thought of it as a profession. But my senior year of college came around and I needed to find something to do. I was lucky enough to play golf at LSU with some of the best players in the country. It helped me realize I didn't have what it took to be a professional. I have a cousin who has been flying for Delta for the last 30 years or so. He told me there is a pilot shortage. A lot of the older guys are retiring and they need younger people to fill their spots. I saw it as a good opportunity.
Question: What has the training entailed so far?
Answer: I started about two months ago. It's been good, busy but good. I have about 26 total hours in the air so far. My first solo flight was last Friday, and I've gone up on another solo flight since then. So I have about an hour and a half to two hours on my own. The other 24 have been with an instructor. I'll have another seven months or so of training. Once I get my commercial license, I'll be able to become a flight instructor if I want. I need to get to the 1,500-hour mark to fly for an airline company.
Question: You were part of two-state championship golf teams at Christ School before going on to play collegiately at the University of Nevada and LSU. I assume you still get in a round every now and then?
Answer: I haven't been playing a whole lot. One of my old teammates lives not too far away, and we play whenever I get a chance. I still try to work on my golf game.
Question: What comes to mind when you look back on your time at Christ School?
Answer: I think about that place every day. I made so many memories and Christ School put me in such a good position. The state championships definitely stand out, not only for golf but the ones the basketball team won, too. Some of the friendships I made. My best friend, Will Wynn, went to Christ School. The whole experience was very special for me.