Marne Faces,Places: Signal Soldier earns private pilot license
July 28, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - All is peaceful at 1,200 feet.
Below, the cars, homes and office buildings in Hinesville appear as if they’re part of a model railroad scene. Beyond the endless blue sky and cottony clouds, beckon the viewer to discover what new possibilities lie ahead.
Staff Sergeant Vincent C. Floyd II tilts the flight yoke in the cockpit of the sunflower yellow two-seater plane he is piloting to affect a left turn. The plane tilts to its side and the journey continues on a new azimuth.
For Staff Sgt. Floyd, a signal support systems specialist assigned to Company B, 1/3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, the sky has been the limit since he earned his private pilot license in late June.
The Soldier said his journey to becoming a pilot really began when he was a boy. Staff Sergeant Floyd said he developed a childhood passion for flying after being exposed to the wonders of the space industry while growing up in Florida, and from his experiences flying in airplanes with his Family to Costa Rica every year.
Staff Sergeant Floyd said the desire to fly has always hovered in the periphery, but it wasn’t until he experienced his first helicopter ride in Iraq"and until he received some encouragement from a battle buddy"that he decided to commit to becoming a pilot.
Upon redeployment in December of 2010, Staff Sgt. Floyd bit the bullet and signed up to take flying lessons from Trey Burruss, an instructor for a flight training company that operated out of the MidCoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield on Fort Stewart.
And the rest is aeronautical history. Staff Sergeant Floyd said that learning how to fly was easy because he studied hard, and because of the technical training he has received as a Soldier in the Signal Corps.
The pilot said he completed his first solo flight with only 11 hours of flight time under his wings " the average pilot-in-training time before attempting a solo flight is 13-15 hours"and that he has racked up more than 70 hours of flight, which have been accomplished through flying various models of aircraft.
“It’s one of my most peaceful moments,” said Staff Sgt. Floyd of his aerial pastime. “It’s actually turned out to be a strong reliever of stress. It lets me clear my thoughts and only think about flying the aircraft.”
Burruss said Staff Sgt. Floyd was a model student who caught on fast. He said Staff Sgt. Floyd’s passion for aviation has been refreshing. “It’s a passion that carries on to every aspect of his life,” Burruss said. “That’s great to see in a world today when aviation is a scary thing for everyone. You need to have your advocates, like Vincent, who let people know it’s a great way to travel [and] it’s a great way to share experiences with people.”
Staff Sergeant Floyd agreed, and said that learning how to fly has not only benefited him personally, but it has allowed him to share more of himself and his time with his wife and three young daughters.
Weekend Family trips to Georgia’s coastal islands are now completed via airplanes, Staff Sgt. Floyd said.
The Soldier said his Family has become as passionate about flying as he is. Staff Sergeant Floyd said his daughters are “hooked” on flying and that his 5-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, in particular, often requests to sit in the copilot chair to “help” him fly.
“It kind of sets goals for my children,” Staff Sgt. Floyd said. “They have fun and it inspires them to seek more than being a kid and playing all the time.”
Staff Sergeant Floyd said his next goal is to submit an Army flight warrant officer packet so he can continue his military career as a pilot.
“You set a goal, but [on the] pursuit to your goal you have to have smaller goals to achieve along the way,” Staff Sgt. Floyd said. “Nothing comes without effort.”