OTTAWA — An Ottawa teen has set a record for her local aviation club by being the first female to fly solo.

On Sept. 13, 17-year-old Ragan Rein, secretary for the Ottawa Aviation Explorers Post 8000 club, completed her first solo flight at the Ottawa Municipal Airport.

Rein, the daughter of Clark and Louise Rein, is the first female Post 8000 member to pilot solo.

Ragan first joined the club in October 2018 after attending Airport Fun Day in 2017. This event sparked Ragan’s passion for flying after participating in a Young Eagle’s flight with Jeff Kintzle.

Up until October 2018, Ragan had been a full-time gymnastics athlete and coach, which kept her from being as active in the aviation community as she would have liked. However, after suffering from a severe back injury in spring 2018, Ragan was forced to retire from competitive trampoline gymnastics, thus giving her the time to pursue her passion to learn how to fly.

From that point on her love of aviation has continually grown, not just for flight, but in aviation mechanics as well.

When asked what she was feeling during her solo flight she said, “I was only a little nervous, but it felt very natural” and added, “I had a blast.”

Ragan said she is appreciative of every aspect of what the club has to offer and is grateful to the club’s advisers: Robert Bowers, Milton Scott, Jen Sharp and Chad Caylor; her flight instructor Kevin McCurdy; and the aviation community, in general, for being supportive.

Ragan is home-schooled, where she has entered her senior year of high school. She enjoys studying geology and literature and adores her job coaching gymnastics at Skywalker’s Gymnastics in Ottawa.

Her current plan is to pursue a degree in geology along with becoming a pilot for the military.