Few people are lucky enough truly to love what they do for a living. Perry Sloan is one of those people.
Perry’s curiosity led him to an introductory airplane flight when he was 19 years old. He had no plans to pursue a career in aviation, but after that flight he was hooked. “It was wonderful, just the feeling,” he says. “Before I got out of the plane I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Perry is currently the airport manager and flying instructor at the Morehead-Rowan County Airport. He also works on airplanes as an FAA-certified airframe and power plant mechanic. He is responsible for checking fuel quality on the airport's fuel farm, completing and filing FAA-mandated paperwork, and performing 100-hour maintenance checks on the airport's planes. With all these hats his days are full, and since starting at the airport nine months ago, he hasn't had a full day off. The heart of Perry’s work, however, is sharing his love of aviation with his students.
In the right seat of the cockpit of the airport's Cessna 172, Perry rests his left around the student's back. The student is practicing "touch-and-goes," repeatedly taking off, circling in the airport's landing pattern, landing, and motoring back up. It's bedrock practicing, and the student is intensely focused. Perry quizzes the student as they circle, and his eyes light up as the student understands a point he’s making. Perry says oftentimes he gets more excited about his students’ incremental successes than the students do themselves.
“I can’t put it into words," Perry says. "It’s wonderful. It’s a really good feeling. You’re helping them achieve something that most of them have always wanted to do and you’re right there with them. I think that’s wonderful.”