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So I'm doing my bit for the next generation last night watching One Six Right with my kids. I decided to watch the credits because I thought it'd be nice to see whether Will Hawkins' grandfather was credited. I noted that the producers had included a "Featured Talent" section to the credits. First, I thought it was cool that the credited these folks. Second, I thought that it was very cool that the guy who played the role of the student pilot was, in fact, a student pilot. Third, I thought that it was great that he's now a private pilot. There's class and genuineness at every turn in this film!
So there's Kevin doing his preflight. I also noticed that there's a Kevin Larosa credited as the aviation director of the film and as a pilot. On the assumption that it's not coincidental, I'm guessing that our student pilot here is the aviation director's son. Okay, a minor deduction for nepotism, but points the other way for including your son in the movie. The generational story appeals to me.
I'm the first guy to get all misty-eyed at the Pitts aerobatics and I get butterflies watching the DC-3 sequences. (I'm going to get rated in one of those this babies this summer! Can't wait!) But the thing of which I'm most proud is that I can give my daughter a squeeze there on the couch and point and say, "That's the kind of airplane Daddy flies. This movie is about a very special kind of flying. Other people point at other airplanes and say different things, but daddy is one of thousands of people that point at that kind of airplane and tell their kids, 'That's what I fly.' This movie gives us a chance to be proud in front of the people they love about something that not everybody understands."
All general aviation pilots identify with someone or something in One Six Right. Larosa the Younger is my proxy. I've only been flying since 2001 and only been a private pilot since 2004. The student element appeals to me. The fact that Larosa the Younger flies a C-172 as I do adds to the appeal. And even if I was a PA-28 jockey, I'd still point to the C-172 with almost equal pride as the aircraft that represents me and what I do.
Additionally, they did a great job with the air-to-air footage. I think that the C-172 and the student pilot message got its fair shake and then some. It's gorgeous stuff, whether over the houses or out over the mountains. And I really liked the portrayal of Larosa as performing a diligent preflight, getting into the left seat next to a wizened CFI, donning his headset, taxiing, and flying competently. It's a great visual statement of what students do and can achieve.
Larosa has some other credits as helicopter wrangler for The Guardian and miscellaneous stunts in Mr. and Mrs. Smith according to the Internet Movie Database. But for me, he's a proxy in a film that captures the soul of what drives many of us as pilots.
Good on you, Mr. Larosa! And on your dad!
Every time I peel the onion of One Six Right a little further, there's more amazing stuff. What a great touchpoint for GA and people like me and my listeners!