SMS student to fly in this weekend’s OC Air Show


At 14, Tony Woody cannot legally drive a car. So he sticks to flying planes.

Coastal Point • Submitted: Tony Woody, 14, will be flying in this weekend’s OC Air Show.Coastal Point • Submitted

Tony Woody, 14, will be flying in this weekend’s OC Air Show.

Woody will be the youngest pilot appearing in the 2011 OC Air Show on Saturday, June 11. The Selbyville Middle School student will maneuver a red-and-white, four-seat Cessna Skyhawk 172 over the heads of thousands of beachgoers.

Woody has taken lessons at Ocean Aviation Flight Academy in Berlin, Md., for one year, according to Chief Flight Instructor Mike Freed.

“He’s just had a love for aviation, I guess, for quite a while,” said Freed. “So his grandmother started to bring him out to the airport.”

Woody was enthralled by aviation for a long time, so his grandmother, Betty Russo, registered him for aviation lessons. She drove him to the airport every Saturday for the past year. She said his parents are also very excited.

There is no age restriction for student pilots, Freed said. They can fly solo at 16 and get their pilot’s license at 17.

“Tony’s going to be a good pilot. He already is,” Freed said, recounting an impressive landing Woody recently executed.

Four Ocean Aviation students will fly in the show. Woody will fly at around 3:15 p.m., accompanied by instructor Richard Bartlett.

From high-tech military planes to stunt pilots and parachutists, the students will be in good company at the OC Air Show. An announcer will also call the pilots’ names as they fly, and the show will be broadcast live on radio station Q101, WQMR, 101.1-FM. This year’s air show theme is “Year of Extreme Flight.”

Selbyville Middle School also commended Woody at June 6’s Eighth Grade Recognition Ceremony.

“It’s a great accomplishment for a kid, but this is his love and his passion,” said Russo, who noted that Woody aspires to be a jet pilot.

The OC Air Show flights will take place Friday through Sunday, June 10 to 12. The show is free for anyone to watch along the boardwalk. Access to a special drop-zone area and VIP accommodations are also available for purchase. Aircraft will fly north along the beach from the Ocean City Inlet, with prime viewing between 14th and 17th Streets. More information and tickets to the reserved areas are available at OCAirshow.com.

Ocean Aviation Flight Academy is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved school located within Ocean City Municipal Airport. For additional information, call (410) 213-8400 or visit FlyOceanAviation.com.