Cape Elizabeth High School graduate Will Fibich is pursuing a career in aviation. Contributed / Will Fibich

Will Fibich has wanted to fly since he first set foot on an airplane.

“I just caught the bug randomly; nobody in my family is a pilot, not even extended family,” the recent Cape Elizabeth graduate told The Forecaster.

But his early memories of flying on his family’s moves from Michigan to Florida, and then to Maine when he was 4, was where it all took off for Fibich.

“I had toys that were all related to flying, watched videos, and then, as the years went on, I just got progressively more into it until it was time to pursue it,” he said. “Ever since then, I have always been super into it.”

He began flying when he was 14 and is closing in on his pilot’s license.

Fibich, one of 125 seniors who graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School this year, is headed to UMaine Augusta to pursue a degree in aviation science this fall.


“I have been so impressed by Will’s ambition, drive and determination throughout high school,” said Elizabeth Thomas, a college counselor at the high school. “His passion and enthusiasm for aviation is palpable and I have no doubt that he will continue to be highly successful as he takes this next step in his life.”

A pilot’s license requires 40 hours of flying, a written exam and a practical test. Fibich said he is looking forward to completing his last required solo flight, during which he will fly between three different airports in one flight. After that, he will prepare for the exam.

Initially, Fibich wanted to become a commercial pilot, but his job as ground support for a company that provides private flights out of Portland International Jetport altered his career plans.

“That really opened my eyes to the vast world of airline jobs,” he said. “I really want to pursue a career in corporate aviation … making a decision now is kind of tough, things can change, but since I got that job I’ve always really enjoyed the corporate pilot scene.”

All of Fibich’s flying has been done in a Cessna 172 and, while he said it’s too early in his flying career to have anything “too crazy” happen, he has already faced some challenges in the air and had some fun experiences.

“I’ve had instruments fail on me a bunch of times, almost nailed birds – came within about 5 feet a couple of times,” he said. “Flying with friends is always a super fun time. Just going up and having fun flying the plane.”


While flying has always been his passion, Fibich also had to navigate the ups and downs of high school.

All was going pretty smoothly during his freshman year until COVID-19 struck and forced classes online for the last half of his second semester. A hybrid style of learning was implemented ahead of his sophomore year.

“We were in school for some days, out of school for others,” Fibich said, and he was separated from many of his friends. “Being online and then in-person, just the ways some classes were taught … Sophomore year was really just the most mentally challenging year to get through.”

A class that had a significant impact on Fibich, especially during the pandemic, was an advisory class taught by Melissa Oliver. Fibich, Oliver and about a dozen other students stuck together for all four years of high school. The course includes periods dedicated to academics, team-building exercises, volunteerism and “just to be a sounding board” for students when they need support.

“He was certainly an engaged student and exhibited constant kindness in the classroom and beyond, but it was during our discussions about flying that Will came alive,” Oliver told The Forecaster. “I am awed by his combination of passion for flight with a rigorous tenacity to pursue his goal and obtain his private pilot’s license.”

Fibich said he made lasting connections with both Oliver and the other students and is grateful for the support he received during the pandemic.


“She was always looking out for us. It was kind of like a glimmer of hope with everything going on,” he said. “She stuck with us through the pandemic really well; just made sure that we did our best and if we needed help we could get it. I had other classes with her, too … One of the hardest things was saying goodbye to her at graduation because she is just such an awesome person.”

When asked what advice he’d give his freshman self, Fibich said it would be to not procrastinate – both in school and flying.

“Do your best to get everything done as early as you can,” he said. “Don’t get yourself into a situation where you’re rushing to get all this work done.

“Do what you can now and set yourself up for later.”

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