Young Pilot Takes Off in Future Career

By Kiersten Shunk ’20

Clouds surround the plane and the engine roars as she soars through the air. She adjusts the wheel to turn around and climb higher. Lily Horst flies solo on her plane, conducting its every move.

Horst, a 16-year-old high school junior, has often thought about going to college to be an athletic trainer or a physical therapist; however, she also has another idea in mind.

“I really want to be a pilot,” Horst explained.

She has been surrounded by planes and the airport for as long as she can remember. It is a family tradition and has been a hobby for years.

“I grew up in the Smoketown Airport,” Horst pronounced. “My grandpa owns the airport and my dad owns the company on the airport. I come from a family of pilots and I basically grew up in the cockpit.”

She likes to fly in her free time and would be interested in making it a side job. With sports medicine and piloting, she would be doing the two interests she enjoys the most, helping people and flying her plane.

“When I was 13-years-old, one day out of the blue, I was like ‘Dad, I’m going to solo on my 16th birthday,’ which means fly the plane alone, and I did it, and now I’m just going from there,” Horst stated.

Flying her first solo was one of the proudest moments she has accomplished.

“When I first soloed, it was – I can’t describe it accurately,” Horst expressed. “We mounted my go-pro and you can kind of see the moment I realized the plane took off and I’m like ‘Holy crap, this is for real. I’m alone now.’”

 “It was, for a second, a fear kind of and then it was also this pride moment like, ‘I did this, I accomplished this’ and I’m very confident in it,” she remembered.

Almost everyone in her family has their license to fly a plane.

“My uncle has his pilot license, my grandparents have their pilot license, my other uncle has his license, aunt has her license, and my dad has his pilot license.”

Horst is still working on getting her license, getting a pilot’s license is not as easy as getting a driver’s license. It is a long process and it requires more practice to move through the licensing system from student private to private to actual license.

“I started actual flight lessons with an actual instructor back in November of last year,” Horst stated. “Her name’s Abby from Aerotek, Lancaster Airport and she would come over to Smoketown. We would meet and fly together, and we started out flying in Aerotek’s planes and then switched to our plane once we finished.”

Horst and her family take frequent trips with their plane to different parts of the East coast and other states nearby.

“We flew out as a family to Wisconsin for the biggest air show in the world,” Horst replied. “We went out to Oshkosh and that was in 2014. We fly to the beach, to the mountains, to different parts of New jersey, different parts of Maryland, different parts of Delaware. We also go down to Chesapeake Bay for dinner sometimes.”

Horst wishes to be able to go to Europe or Iceland in her life. Her aunt and uncle inspired her to visit those places.

“I think I would really like Europe,” Horst claimed. “Or Iceland. My uncle goes to Iceland every year for work. He does video shoots and it’s so pretty.”

Horst hopes to keep succeeding in her passion for flying for as long as she can.

“As long as the FAA allows me to fly, I want to keep doing it.”

She has been able to fly to different states and experience different adventures. Where else will she soar to?

2 thoughts on “Young Pilot Takes Off in Future Career

  1. Great article! What an exciting experience for her, especially since flying is such a huge part of her family.

  2. I love this article!! It is so amazing how someone our age is able to fly a plane by themselves! It goes to show how if you truly put your mind to something you can achieve anything.

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