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.


 
 

 

October is Energy Action Month: ‘I am Air Force Energy’

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Summer has come to a close, and we’re all looking forward to more tolerable temperatures in the coming weeks. Even better news — this means your power bill is likely to go down. But if you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine paying Nellis’ bill of approximately $1 million...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

ADC: An undue influence to justice

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis In the event trouble attaches itself to an Airman; the Area Defense Counsel is available for confidential help. The ADC is a free legal service on base available to assist ...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

AF releases criteria for new service medal

Courtesy graphic Graphic of the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal. WASHINGTON — Air Force officials released nomination criteria for the new Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, following Secretary of the A...
 

 

2015 Vanguard award nominations due Jan. 28

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Nominations for the 2015 Noncommissioned Officers Association Vanguard award are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by Jan. 28, Air Force officials said. The award annually recognizes one enlisted member from each of the uniformed services for an act of heroism that results in saving someone’s life or...
 
 

Undergrad flying training applications due in December

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The 2015 undergraduate flying training selection board originally scheduled for Jan. 20-23 will now convene Feb. 17-20 and associated application suspenses have shifted by approximately a month, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Oct. 10. Eligible active duty officers interested in undergraduate flying training must apply by Dec. 19...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal Jeffers

BMT trainees complete last run on closing obstacle course

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal Jeffers Basic military trainees swing around a bar as part of the basic military training obstacle course Sept. 24 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The obstacle course was...
 




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