Ariel Tweto is struggling to get her pilot’s license on the Discovery Channel’s reality television show, Flying Wild Alaska.
Would you fly with her?
Last night, as the show began, she needed nine hours of solo flying time to be eligible for her private pilot’s license. But, the Alaska weather has been too bad for her to go up in the air.
“I haven’t gotten to fly and it’s really frustrating, just sitting around watching other people fly.”
Of course, as the narrator said, her challenges in the past have been, to put it nicely, “self-inflicted.” And, as she has been training with people she knows, they have probably been a little soft on her regarding feedback—probably not the best situation to be holding back in fear of hurting someone’s feelings, but it seems to have been the case until now.
Ariel’s father, Jim Tweto, brought in an outside flight instructor, Chelsea “Juice” Welch, to work with Ariel, who has a lot of work to do before she can take her check ride.
“She needs to work on flight planning, weather systems, radio work; there’s still a lot of work to do,” Juice observed.
And, that was all before she had actually flown with her new student.
Ariel's First Flight with Juice
Juice may have expected her new student’s skills to be a bit further along. Practicing “landing stalls,” Ariel’s first attempt seemed to actually unnerve her instructor.
“I totally botched it,” Ariel said later in a camera cameo. “I didn’t have enough power, I just screwed up on everything, so Juice had to help me. When she reacted like that, I was like, wow, this is actually pretty serious, and it is my life in my hands, so I need to step on it.”
Actually pretty serious?
Maybe she’s finally getting it.
“She remembered all the knowledge, but actually fine-tuning the airplane to a precision, was pretty shoddy at best,” Juice said after getting back on solid ground. “So, that’s just something she’s going to have to keep on practicing.”
Calling in an outside instructor was probably the best thing Jim Tweto could have done for his daughter. It’s not, of course, that previous instructors, like John Ponts, were unqualified—far from it, one would imagine. But, he and Ariel are friends, and sometimes friends don’t make the best teachers, because, frankly, they don’t want to hurt their friend-student’s feelings.
Keep on flyin’, Ariel, and remember: It’s actually pretty serious.
Flying Wild Alaska airs on the Discovery Channel on Friday nights at 10 p.m. E/P.
Image: Discovery Channel