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Though a student has to be 17 years old to get his or her pilot's license, the instructors at Crosswinds Flight School start flyers as young as 12 on the path toward becoming new pilots. On the runways of Cross Keys Airport in Williamstown, New Jersey, they train students in the basic operations, takeoff, and steering procedures of compact Cessna and Piper Cherokee aircraft. As instructors guide their students toward a private pilot's license or instrument rating, they field questions about specific cockpit controls, techniques of flight, and types of clouds that make the best cotton candy. They progressively fine-tune the skill sets of participants in each course through short solo flights and up to 150-mile cross-country voyages.