Post Falls teen flies first solo flight on 16th birthday

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves as kids when we’re young enough to believe the sky’s the limit.

In Kassy Feeney’s case, the sky is where she wants to be. She’s known that since she was little.

Growing up, Kassy said her parents were always commuting; her mom flew a lot. Whenever her dad would take her to pick up her mom, she’d be intrigued by the planes taking off and landing.

Three years ago, she made a commitment. She started practicing for her pilot’s license.

On Tuesday morning, Kassy flew her first solo flight at Felts Field. It was also her 16th birthday, which at that age, the Federal Aviation Administration allows people to fly alone.

“Intimidating, scary, but it was fun,” Kassy said of her first flight. ” I had fun.”

Kassy has 100 hours of flight time under her belt. She actually didn’t need that much, but she had to keep waiting and doing something until she turned 16.

“I told her six months ago, ‘Kassy if this was your 16th birthday, I would’ve soloed you today,'” said Kevin Kovacich, her flight instructor at Northwest Flight Service.

Kovacich says it’s not unheard of for someone to fly alone at 16, but it doesn’t happen often.

“It’s very significant because most of us would do this at a later age. For her to do it on her 16th birthday is pretty significant,” she said.

As a teenager, Kassy has a lot going on. She goes to school, plays sports and is studying for her pilot’s license.

Though she is now able to fly alone, she can’t get her pilot’s license until 17. Then, she’ll be able to have passengers other than her flight instructor.

“The commitment and dedication, staying focused, Kassy has a perseverance and the will and desire to want to fly,” said Lori Rousseau, Kassy’s mom. “She knows what’s important for her. That’s her dream.”

Her dream of flying solo is now checked off, but now she has another goal in sight: becoming a commercial airline pilot for Delta or United.

“Fly international is my main goal and see the world and fly big planes,” she said.

As she’s working towards these goals, Kassy hopes that more women will pursue aviation, saying that there needs to be more pilots out there. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Aeronautical Center says of it’s more than 690,000 licensed pilots, only a little more than 8 percent are women.