Fairfield County twins become area’s youngest pilots

Logan Steed

GREENBRIER – The Fairfield County twins who celebrated their 16th birthday last year with their first solo flight as student pilots just hit a bigger milestone on their 17th: both teens earned their license to fly.

“I definitely prefer flying over driving,” says Logan Steed, who received his pilot’s license on April 25, as did his sister, Emma.

“It’s a lot safer,” he says, “and driving terrifies me.”

Their father, Brian Steed, shares his opinion about the statistical safety of flying: He says a pilot is far less likely to crash a plane than a driver is to crash a car.

“It’s the safest form of transportation by far,” he says. “There’s millions of idiots on the highway; there are only a few of them up in the air.”

This week, Emma flew to Ohio to do a favor for a friend of her dad’s – and he says he was a lot less anxious about her flying there than he would’ve been about her driving the same distance.

On the day the teens earned their pilot’s license, the process involved an oral question-and-answer session followed by a practical demonstration of flying skills.

Since successfully attaining their license, each has since taken several people up in the air for plane rides. At some point, they also had some birthday cake.

The license they’ve earned allows them to fly using “visual flight rules” (VFR), or in conditions with good visibility. Their next milestone, they say, will be to earn the rating to fly with “instrument flight rules” (IFR), or in conditions with a lack of visibility where they must rely on instruments to guide them.

Their older brother, an engineer for Boeing, is also a pilot – and is studying for that instrument rating alongside his younger siblings.

Their next adventure in flight is a family trip that will involve flying in all 50 states – about 100 flight hours over 41 days. Emma, Logan, and their dad will be flying all together, each in their own plane, with a friend driving a pickup truck full of maintenance gear and parts as a support vehicle.

“So, my dad just bought two RVs [small planes]. One is an RV-6 – that’s what Logan will be flying – and mine is an RV-8A,” Emma says. “His (Steed’s) is an RV-8, so together we will have essentially a fleet of RVs to take around the country, and we’ll be flying in kind of a formation together, and there will be plenty of stops along the way.”

Among the celebrated natural sights they plan to view: the Grand Canyon and Alaskan fjords.

They’ll also be flying to Hawaii, but not in their own planes.

“It’s so far,” Steed says, “that they’ll be taking an airliner and renting planes to fly around the islands once they arrive. But they’ll travel to the other 49 states in their own planes.”

“It’s not as intimidating because, before I was even born, I was doing long cross-countries in a small aircraft,” Enma says of the upcoming trip. “That’s what I’ve been raised around my entire life, so a several-hour trip in a smaller aircraft is nothing new to me.”

Both she and her brother have also flown as student pilots to Atlanta to pick up airplane parts for their dad’s business and between home and New Orleans for a conference they all attended. The difference now is that they’re allowed to fly unlimited distances on their own and can transport passengers.

Looking ahead to the future, Logan says he wants to be a naval aviator – and hopes to experience the adrenaline rush of landing on an aircraft carrier, whether it’s in a fighter jet or a military cargo plane.

Steed, who owns a flight school and avionics shop at the Winnsboro airport, says that despite growing up around planes, the teens’ accomplishments are their own – and a result of their personal motivation to fly.

“I’m extremely proud of my children,” he says. “And,” he adds, “their knowledge of planes goes beyond just the fun part.

“Both of my [teen] kids are very accomplished in aircraft maintenance at this point. Both of them help around the airport, both of them work their tails off and help out with the business, and they can both install aircraft radios very well,” he says. “They don’t just hang out and fly; they work, too.”

Emma Steed

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