Head in the Clouds: Two Students Share Unique Hobby

Passion for aerospace, family connections inspire Piper Crow ‘24, Sawyer Guider ‘25 to take to the air

More stories from Claire Cao

January 29, 2023

Submitted by Piper Crow

Crow receives guidance from her instructor (not pictured) as she did a bank turn to the right. “Usually, it’s just me and another flight instructor. Sometimes, I bring my mom, dad or boyfriend along. Most of the time I fly [Cessna] 172N which has two front seats and then two back seats,” she says.

Most high school students take up sports or clubs as extracurriculars, but Piper Crow ‘24 and Sawyer Guider ‘25 both enjoy flying planes as a hobby.

Crow, a leader of the Aviation and Aeronautic Club, has been flying since November, and Guider has been flying for nearly his whole life. 

Guider explains, “[It’s] kind’ve been a lifelong passion. My dad has been a pilot since he was my age and he’s kind’ve taught me how to fly through my life.” He continues, “The first time my dad let me take the controls, I was like four or five and my grandpa was in the back of our plane. I pulled back the stick and [the] plane immediately shot upwards and everyone was screaming at me to let go.”

Crow has been passionate about aviation for a long time. “I’ve always loved traveling,” she says. “I just [became] interested in space a few years back, so that really got me into aeronautics and kind of engineering. I wanted to become an astronaut, but that’s pretty hard to do, so I started to figure out flying and my love for planes and everything aerospace.”

Both Crow and Guider are working on getting their pilot’s licenses. “You start by getting in contact with a flight school and then you have to go through ground school,” Crow explains. “Through the flight school I’m in, they have you do a survey about your personality and they match you with one of their flight instructors. The [instructor] and student relationship is pretty important; they’re basically like a mentor and then you have to match learning styles.” 

Guider adds that after you start working on the basics of flying, “you’ll start to get into more bookwork, which is just like aeronautical information and what the laws and regulations are.”

The required amount of hours prior to getting a private pilot’s license is 40, but Crow explains “most people go up to 60 to get extra practice.”

I like motor sports, so I explain [flying] as kind of like driving a boat in three directions.

— Piper Crow '24

Unfortunately, finding time to get hours in is often a struggle. Guider says, “[It is hard] finding time. For me, that’s my hardest thing, trying to balance school with being able to get into the air.” Crow says she’s able to find some time despite schoolwork, “Now I’m flying around twice a week. I think I have around 25 hours.”

Guider wants to continue flying in the future, he says, “I could follow my dad’s footsteps and become a contract pilot,” in which he’d “fly little jets or fly for Delta and commercial airlines.” He continues, “Or I could keep it as a hobby. There’s a lot of options for me which is nice.”

Crow plans on signing internships with flight lines as well as becoming a professional pilot. “Through the college I want to go to, they have a lot of connections with the airlines,” she says. “I really hope to become a Delta pilot. There’s also a big shortage of commercial pilots right now, so I think I would just fit well, especially just being able to serve people and being able to fly around.”