Desio takes flight towards future


Submitted Michael Desio

Senior Michael Desio loves flying airplanes and will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida in the fall of 2023.

Jack Stiles, Staff Writer

Senior Michael Desio loves to get behind the yoke of an airplane and soar through the air, a passion he plans to turn into a career.

From a young age, Desio was fascinated with flying. While most others waiting at an airport kept busy on their phones, he loved looking at the planes and watching them take off and land. He dreamed of being a pilot himself.

Desio’s parents gave him the opportunity to learn more about flight when he went to Centennial Aviation Academy at Peachtree Dekalb Airport in Atlanta, GA for three days.

“I feel like the big spark was when I went down to Atlanta,” Desio said. 

At the camp, Desio was introduced to the world of aviation. Desio was taken behind the scenes of an airport, and given a plane ride with other campers. 

Desio then turned his dreams of flying into reality at the age of 14, at AeroVenture Flight School

“You start out in the classroom,” Desio said, “then your first couple lessons in the plane you are just getting used to having the controls at your hands.”

Desio continues to practice at AeroVenture, where he does all of his flying and classroom lessons. He travels over 40 minutes each way weekly to the airfield in Mansfield as part of his training. 

“My dad used to work with the owner, so that is how we got to know them,” Desio said. “It is a small business but they do a very good job.” 

In 2020, Desio was given the opportunity to conquer his first solo flight. This would not only give him confidence for future flights, but also grant him his basic flying license. 

“Legally, you have to [wait to] take [first solo flight] when you are sixteen, so I did it right on my sixteenth birthday,” Desio said. “Right before the solo [flight] they will have you do three takeoffs and landings by yourself without them touching the controls or saying anything.” 

The solo flight lasted about an hour, and the plane climbed to an altitude of 1,200 feet.

“At first I was nervous, but as soon as I did my first takeoff solo I had total confidence in myself and was enjoying every second of it,” Desio said.

Since receiving his basic flying license, Desio has flown only one passenger, his father, Steve Desio.

“I didn’t know, when he asked me to go [on the plane], whether to be excited or petrified, and it was a little bit of both,” Steve Desio said. “I have a fear of heights to begin with, so it was a little extra intimidating for me, but he put me at ease.”

Regardless of his fear of heights and small planes, Steve Desio knew he was in good hands.

“I thought I would be more nervous, but once we got in the plane I was perfectly at ease the whole time,” Steve Desio said. “The hardest part was sitting there as he does the whole [pre-flight] prep. Once you’re flying, it’s easy.”

Steve Desio is proud of his son and the sacrifices he’s made to get to where he is today.

“As a parent it is really cool to see what your kid has done in terms of accomplishments, so it is pretty cool,” Steve Desio said. “I knew the training he put in so I knew he would be safe.”

Desio will begin attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida in the fall of 2023, and hopes to become a commercial pilot.

“Once I attend college it is going to be a lot more intense training, so right now I am just trying to stay proficient,” Desio said.

While studying at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Desio must log 1000 flight hours throughout his four years. In order to do this he will be spending his summers as a flight instructor for future pilots. Desio will also need ratings from his instructors in order to obtain his Instrument license, Commercial license and Multi-engine license so he can achieve his dreams of being a commercial pilot.

Desio currently has family ties to the aviation industry.

“I have two uncles [who work in aviation], one currently flies for Delta, and the other flies a corporate jet,” Desio said. 

Desio hopes to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and become a commercial pilot for Delta Air Lines.

“They have a very good fleet of aircraft, and they fly to a lot of destinations,” Desio said.