“CLEAR PROP!” yelled my instructor from the window of Kent 8. With our hands at the controls and our feet planted on the brakes, I turned the key and the Cessna 152 fired to life.
After takeoff and climb, I looked down and admired the view below. The labyrinth of connected roads and railway tracks, the patches of white snow that complimented the winter landscape, and the warm glow of Kent State University’s lights. It was stunning to have a — apologies for the cliche saying — “birds eye view” of the world.
Having class at 3,000ft in the air offered an entirely new perspective on life.
I entered Kent’s Aeronautics – Professional Pilot program after changing my major from business. Knowing absolutely nothing about aerodynamics, the history of flight, or what the FAA was, it was quite the change from my prior major. I didn’t even know what the pedals did! However, I did know that I wanted to fly. In a world full of acronyms, technical training and no shortage of information, it seemed daunting at first.
However, I had the great fortune of being paired with an excellent instructor who was as dedicated to teach as I was to learn. He had been through Kent’s program and was extremely knowledgeable on any question I could think of. We diligently worked through ground schools, emergency procedures, and checklists. I took my first flight on January 21st, 2022 and just a few short months later I am well on my way to earning my Private Pilots License.
After my first flight, the benchmarks only kept coming. My first solo gave way to checkrides, specialty landings, cross countries and everything in between. With each step I felt confident in my training, knowing that I had worked hard to have the opportunity to be there. Even during my solo flights, it never felt like I was alone in my training endeavors. I knew that I had a strong community of aviators that had my best interest in mind.
The unique approach to teaching inspires curiosity and drive. It felt like I finally found what I was looking for.
Whether it was instructors eyeing my progress, studying with peers or just chatting with the dispatch workers, I always felt like I was part of a whole. Everyone from the Chiefs to my fellow students are respectful, friendly, and willing to answer my innumerable questions regarding the aviation industry.
Kent State’s aeronautics program is a tight knit group that prioritizes professionalism and safety. There is a comfortable atmosphere that surrounds the academics, and I was able to talk to the teachers about their experience with the industry and about potential career paths. All of the teachers and instructors have personal experience in aviation that transfers over to the content offered in class. The curriculum offers a fresh, real world perspective.
While I am still searching for my corner of the industry, after I complete my aeronautics degree, I would like to fly in a way that benefits people such as relief efforts or life flight. I think that it is the best possible way use the gift of flight. Looking back on my first year with the College of Aeronautics and Engineering, I am amazed at how quickly I was able to start flying. From being down on the ground and looking up at the planes wondering, “Who are those people?” to now smiling as they pass, proudly thinking, “Yup, that’s one of ours.”
My advice to those interested in Kent’s Aeronautics – Professional Pilot program is ask questions! Even if there is a slight interest in aviation, stop by and ask! Kent aviation has a student body full of diverse interests and “how I found aviation” stories. From those who wanted to become a pilot from birth, and those like me who were fortunate enough to find the passion later in college, there is no shortage of perspective. Introduce yourself, be polite and get curious!