Following Her Dreams

By Natalie Miles, EAA 1478672

Natalie Miles, EAA 1478672, is currently pursuing her aviation dreams at the United Aviate Academy. She will be updating her progress on a regular basis as a scholarship student in the flight training program, where she has just completed her first month. Natalie received a joint scholarship at The Gathering 2022 from the EAA Aviation Foundation and United Aviate Academy. United Aviate is a major supporter and sponsor of the AeroEducate program.

In dreams, anything is possible. If you want to fly an airplane, you can. If you want to go to space, you can. If you want to become a millionaire, you can. No matter how big or how small your dream may be, it is always able to be accomplished. Yet in life, there seems to be a practicable limit restraining your goals. This confining limit can be the result of many different situations: finances, family, community, culture, personal relationships, or self-doubt. Taking this into consideration, most people seem to give up or put aside their dreams. But life is nothing more than a dream. The most successful people have faced more hardships than known. In order to accomplish your dream you must work hard, never stop learning, and never stop improving. Trust the process and eventually you will get where you want to be. All you need is one person to believe in you and your opportunities are endless.

My story begins in a small town in Indiana. Growing up, women seemed to have their future planned for them by the time they graduated high school. I always knew that I wanted to fight the odds and break norms. I wanted to do something adventurous and inspiring. After high school, I moved to Arizona to attend college. Every day, I would hike to the top of a small mountain just below the glide path of Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and watch United Airlines aircraft land. I started working as a front desk receptionist at a hotel where airlines had overnights and students/instructors stayed to train/teach ATP. I began talking with them and asking any and every question relating to aviation. I fell in love with the aviation industry and started applying to schools. I was accepted into United Aviate Academy and was ecstatic. But my dream had become a reality and life got in the way. I knew I would not be able to finance my way through school and would be drowning myself in debt. I knew I did not have much support in making the decision to become a pilot. I kept working hard, studying, and filling out scholarships. Eventually someone believed in me and it led to the most amazing opportunity an aspiring aviator could receive. EAA and United Airlines put faith in my ability as a student pilot and awarded me with a full scholarship to United Aviate.

I have been training at United Aviate Academy for a little more than a month now. The training environment that management has provided truly sets students up for success. Management and staff are extremely welcoming. It says a lot about a person and organization when the CEO, Dana Donati, will pause her busy schedule to listen to her students and make sure they are comfortable. I have improved so much in my training the short time I have been here. My first week was basic indoctrination. I learned the way of United: safety, caring, dependable, efficient, along with the personal-care level United Aviate’s management team applies. I learned standard operating procedures for the Cirrus SR20 G1000 I am privileged to fly. And I ended the week with a class cookout. With all the new adventure and excitement came a very overwhelming amount of study material. The second week was the start of my ground school. Once that was completed I moved to simulator lessons and eventually on to flying in the Cirrus. I have been learning preflight, run-up, taxi, takeoffs, maneuvers, and landings. There is so much to learn, but I am confident in myself, my instructor, Aviate management team, Cirrus Aircraft, and everyone at EAA who is supporting me through my training.

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