Air Force

May 3, 2013

Thunderbirds crew chief’s passion for aviation takes him to new heights

Tags:
Tech. Sgt. Alice Diddle
U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ayivorh, Thunderbird 7 dedicated crew chief, stands in front of his DA-40 aircraft at Jean Airport, Nev., April 22. Ayivorh’s father inspired him to earn a private pilot’s license.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Growing up around small planes, it’s no surprise that 23-year-old Staff Sgt. Ben Ayivorh, a dedicated crew chief assigned to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, developed an interest in aviation at an early age.

However, aside from his day-to-day job of maintaining aircraft, this Burke, Va., native spends his spare time as a pilot.

“I have been flying as long as I can remember. My dad used to put a child seat in the airplane to take us flying,” Ayivorh said.

Ayivorh said his father, born in Ghana, Africa, immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1970s and had a dream of becoming a pilot.

“He made his dreams his goal and succeeded,” Ayivorh said. “Knowing what he went through to make his dreams a reality, I think my father made it a point to share what it was like to fly with me.”

After graduating high school, Ayivorh attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., where he majored in mechanical engineering. After realizing that he wanted to take a break from school, Ayivorh left ODU in good academic standing and enlisted in the Air Force. His first assignment as a crew chief led him to Nellis where he started to pursue his private pilot’s license.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ayivorh, Thunderbird 7 dedicated crew chief, flies over Las Vegas, April 22. Ayivorh developed a love for aviation at a young age.

“Growing up around flying, I assumed I would eventually obtain my pilot’s license,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got to my first duty station when I realized I couldn’t fly with my dad anymore. So, nine months after getting to Nellis, I obtained my pilot’s license when I was 20 years old.”

According to Ayivorh, he had to meet a requirement of obtaining a minimum of 40 hours of flight time. He spent 74 days of spare time flying, until he became a qualified pilot.

“You have to fly at least 10 solo hours and 20 hours with an instructor. There is a written exam you have to pass before you can fly on your own,” Ayivorh said. “Once my instructor believed I was ready, I had to fly a check ride with a [Federal Aviation Administration] examiner. I finished and qualified for my pilot’s license within the minimum 40 hours required.”

Since the cost to obtain a private pilot’s license can get expensive, Ayivorh said he was motivated to finish as quickly as possible.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ayivorh, Thunderbird 7 dedicated crew chief, walks to his F-16 jet to prepare it for engine runs April 23, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Ayivorh said he joined the Thunderbirds team for a chance to represent the U.S. Air Force.

“You have to rent the plane and pay your instructor hourly for the flight time. Needless to say, the cost was great motivation for me to finish as quickly as possible.”

Since obtaining his pilot’s license, Ayivorh flies at least twice a month. He has flown four different air frames, including a Cirrus SR22. Within the past month, he earned a high performance rating, which allows him to fly aircraft with engines bigger than 200 horsepower.

Although he’s been in the Air Force for less than four years and has only been assigned to Nellis, Ayivorh has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also managed to travel to 12 different states and Canada, performing his official duties as a crew chief.

Maj. Tyler Ellison, Thunderbird 7, flies one of the jets that Ayivorh maintains. He said Ayivorh’s experience as a civilian pilot brings a unique perspective to the squadron.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ayivorh, Thunderbird 7 dedicated crew chief, prepares a DA-40 aircraft for an afternoon flight at North Las Vegas Airport, April 22. Ayivorh earned his private pilot’s license in 2010 and has more than 80 hours of flight time.

“As a civilian pilot, Ben is able to bridge the gap of maintenance procedures and flying operations. If there is an issue with a jet, I can use pilot vernacular to describe the problem, and Ben knows exactly what I’m talking about,” Ellison said. “He understands the constraints under which pilots operate and can relate to the amount of work it takes to fly a mission.”

In addition to being a civilian pilot in his spare time, Ayivorh recently was awarded his Community College of the Air Force degree in Maintenance Aviation Technology, and he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics.

“I do feel that I am a little more prepared for college than I was the first time,” he said. “Slowly, but surely, I will get there, even if I have to take one class at a time.”

Ayivorh said that he wants to continue expanding his interest in flying, hoping someday to pilot a plane of his own.

“I fly for pure enjoyment. I don’t want to be an airline pilot or fly as a job,” Ayivorh said. “For me, there isn’t anything else like flying.

Flying demands discipline, focus, commitment, responsibility, awareness and respect. I honestly believe the skill sets that are required to fly can also be applied to everyday life, and I think as a person it has shaped me a lot.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

LRS fuels Nellis’ mission success

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Staff Sgt. Mike Radcliff, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron crew chief, and Airman 1st Class Patrick Fields, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels mobile distribu...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adarius Petty

Creech heats up

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adarius Petty The Nellis-Creech Fire Emergency Services Flight’s Fire Station 6 personnel applaud the speaker during the Fire Station 6 ribbon cutting ceremony at Creech Air Force Base, N...
 
 

Aviation pioneer in Las Vegas

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — During World War II, aviation opportunities literally exploded as the military trained hundreds of thousands of individuals to fly, opening the door to many who might never have had the chance before. Among this group were women pilots, many of whom trained and flew as civil service pilots with...
 

 

Rosie the Riveter and me

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. — As we recognize Women’s History Month this March, I am struck by the thought that heroes and role models do not have to be one single person but, in fact, can be several people. For me, this truth is especially relevant. During World War II, many women opted to...
 
 
DT1-(10)

Ground broken for new solar array at Nellis Air Force Base

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler Col. Richard Boutwell, 99th Air Base Wing commander, speaks at a ground breaking ceremony for a new solar array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., March 24. The new array will ...
 
 
Photo courtesy of retired Master Sgt. Phillip Sisneros

Darkest before dawn: Retired master sergeant, active duty wife share struggle of overcoming TBI

Photo courtesy of retired Master Sgt. Phillip Sisneros Then Master Sgt. Phillip Sisneros, 99th Communications Squadron comm focal point chief, lays in a coma following a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas on Aug. 13, 2011. Sisner...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin