Taking Capstone to New Heights


With the completion of the second successful flight of capstone this year, many juniors are creatively exploring their own passions and taking action in the community. Capstone projects have evolved since their debut last year, with a greater emphasis on passion-driven projects this time around. Junior Louis Dhervilly used this initiative to pursue his passions and work toward his goal of becoming a private pilot, in an effort to take the project to new heights.

When it came to choosing a project from his list of possibilities, his future was the deciding factor. Dhervilly ultimately decided on the project because he is passionate about flying and hopes to pursue a career in aviation. Dhervilly wrote his paper about the costs of obtaining a pilot’s license and the various ways to go about financing your lessons, whilst also taking steps to obtain his license. Dhervilly devoted his hours and weekends to flying with his instructor resulting in over 57 hours being completed for his project. Dhervilly saw the new graduation requirement as an opportunity to incorporate one of his childhood dreams and future goals into his weekly schedule, rather than an obstacle: “I always wanted to incorporate flying with my capstone project itself. To me, flying is the number one thing that I enjoy doing and I wanted to mix that aspect along with the motivation to share and maybe teach about the interest, and maybe even persuade a few individuals to consider flying.” Dhervilly aimed to please during his presentation capturing the student audience and faculty with his aviation skills. “Capstone helped me stay on track by encouraging me to keep on persevering through training to get my license. There were some rough mornings where I was not motivated to train and fly but having it be my project helped motivate me to really persevere and stay on track of my initial plan.”

Dhervilly has been flying for over two years, since September of 2020. Isolated and bored, D’hervilly saw the pandemic as an opportunity to take on a lifetime interest of his. “I knew it was the perfect time to start flying, because I could have a consistent instructor, and I had a lot of spare time”. Dhervilly spent his weekends flying out of the Groton airport with his instructor and brother freshman, Arthur Dhervilly, taking small coastal trips, navigating the Long Island Sound. Although the pandemic allowed him to start flying it also posed some difficult obstacles during flight. “Luckily for me,  I was able to fly with a mask alongside my instructor; however, at some points the mask made it hard to hear me over the comms/radio with it on.” Since his first official flight that September, Dhervilly has flown, flying as far as Newport, Rhode Island this past summer. 

Obtaining a private private license takes a lot of time, several months along with specialty instructors who train pilots in both test preparation and one on one flights. Pilots are expected to complete 60-80 hours of training as a prerequisite to obtaining their license, as well as being expected to be able to fly solo. These lessons are also costly, averaging around $160 for an hour of flight time for advanced pilots like Dhervilly, but the prices drop to $99 an hour for introductory flight training. Dhervilly believes the experience and license is well worth the price. The license gives opportunities to begin working in aviation after high school as a private pilot and serves as the first step in obtaining a commercial pilots license. Dhervilly states to anyone who is considering flying, “If you are remotely interested in the subject, you should go just for it.”