The 22-year-old “@PlaneGirl” had such limited exposure to aviation that she was amazed by a “friend of a friend’s” post that he was learning to fly. “I did not realize there were these small aircraft and had no idea you could just fly for fun,” she said. She looked at flight schools in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area where she was in engineering school and whipped through all of her certificates in less than two years. She’s now a commercial pilot and CFI and the owner of a 1952 Beechcraft Bonanza C35, N5921C. When she’s not flying, she works full-time as a mobile software engineer.
How did you get started in aviation? When I was in high school, I saw a photo of someone with a small airplane on my Instagram explore page. I had absolutely no family in aviation, I had no idea that small airplanes even existed, and I never thought you could just go learn to fly! Learning to fly was always in the back of my head until the summer of 2018. I had an engineering internship that allowed me to fund my training and decided to give it a go. I fell in love with flying and the rest is history.
What were your biggest challenges? While I was getting my ratings, I was also a full-time student at the University of Michigan College of Engineering studying computer science. The biggest challenge throughout all my training was managing my schoolwork and flying at the same time. I had a lot of early mornings at the airport, a lot of late nights at the library, and a lot of coffee, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
What is your favorite aviation-related activity? My absolute favorite thing to do is to hop in an airplane with friends and go get breakfast at the Tin Goose Diner at PCW [Erie-Ottawa International Airport in Port Clinton, Ohio]. There’s nothing better than sharing aviation with other people. I’m really looking forward to going to fly-ins and airshows in the future; I love meeting people in the aviation community.
Favorite aircraft? Beechcraft V-tail Bonanza, but I might be a little biased!
Advice for students? First, don’t lose sight of the big picture. During training it can be easy to get frustrated when you’re stuck on one topic or maneuver. Remember to look back at how far you’ve already come and how much progress you’ve made. Even if you just started your training, you’ve already taken the most important step: getting started. Second, don’t forget to have fun. Every flight is a learning experience, even the flights to go get breakfast or to meet up with friends. Aviation opens the world in so many ways, take advantage of it!
@bayflight, @planegirl, youtu.be/6k0WHtJ-7T8