Road to Wings- Jeff Peterson

Road to Wings

By Jeff Peterson

Getting started as a flight student is similar to a good flight plan. You take the best information you have and start moving forward. Threats present themselves and your plan likely gets modified.  My road to wings was no different. 

I started my flight training during my college years. I had always wanted a degree that was separate from my flying certifications – thinking this would provide a knowledge base beyond the scope of flying in the event flying didn’t work out (medical, furlough, etc).  I also thought I was going to have to move a thousand miles away to attend one of the big flight schools in order to advance my aviation career.  I traveled to one of these flight schools for a visit.  I spent a day on campus collecting as much information as I could soak up.  I decided to sign up at this school at the end of my visit.  The long drive home from that visitation got me thinking.  How was I going to finish my bachelors degree while at this new flight school?  The thought lingered for days.  I was very unsettled.  If only there was a reasonable flight school nearby where I could complete my ratings while finishing my degree at my local university.  But would that flight school provide me the opportunities of the big flight school?

The uncomfortable feeling would not stop.  I decided to go check out a flight school about 30 miles from my home.  The visit to that school was spectacular.  While smaller than the big flight school, it was more personable and provided me the opportunity to pursue my ratings while completing my degree.  I valued my experience so much that I eventually applied to the school to work as a Certified Flight Instructor once I was qualified.  In the end, this school provided me every opportunity as the big flight school.

As you embark on this endeavor, I encourage you to chart out a plan with the best information you have.  I also encourage you to prepare for detours and deviations from that plan.  They will happen and it’s a very normal part of this process. With a solid goal in mind and flexibility in your heart, your wings are within reach too!