For years Mark & I have talked about him getting his private pilot’s license, yet I never completely grasped exactly what it would take for him to earn that title. In the most simplified terms, you basically need to put in enough time in the air and in the books to pass a verbal test on the ground and an in-flight test with an examiner. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 flight hours before you can take the test or “check-ride” as it’s commonly known however the national average is 60 hours and for some people it can take up to 80 hours of flight training before feeling ready for their check-ride. (This made it very hard to budget for flight training) Well, two weeks ago, after 47 hours of training, Mark took his check-ride. Unlike the perfect weather the day he soloed, the weather was challenging, including wind and rain, just adding to the already nerve-racking process. As I and many others predicted, he sailed through it without a hitch. The FAA deputy flight examiner that performed his check-ride even referred to Mark as one of the best applicants he’d ever seen. Mark would never tell you this but I’m pretty freaking proud and am going to go ahead and gloat for him. It’s been a long process and I could not be more excited for it to be over because it’s really just the beginning of many years of great adventures.During the training process certain flights included an instructor and others Mark did on his own. I was only able to tag along when the instructor was on the flight but now that Mark has his license he’s free to carry passengers! So the very next day after passing his check-ride we took a celebratory flight. Seeing the dedication and time it took for Mark to get to this point made it one of the best days of my life and one I won’t soon forget. With three cameras in my lap I began embracing my new role as aerial photographer. Here are a few scenic photos from our flight that afternoon around the Arizona & California desert.