A Whole New World

By Natalie Miles, EAA 1478672

I began my journey of becoming a commercial pilot without knowing much about their way of life. I did not know how much training and studying was involved. I did not know the hours they had to obtain before they could go to a major airline. I did not know how their schedule was planned or the amount of work that is involved in order to get one flight in the air from point A to point B. I say this not because I was ignorant about the life of a pilot, but, because I simply was not around anyone in the industry. As I briefly mentioned in my first blog, my town did not have a variety of careers. Most everyone chose one of the few options and made a living to support their family. I always knew I wanted to chase a dream. Aviation was that dream.

Establishing myself in the world of aviation seemed extremely difficult. Attempting to research every question I had about schools, training, life, and how to start was stressful. Aviation is not an industry to survive on your own. After moving states and setting myself up around others in aviation, I was able to seek advice. And let me tell you, no one is more willing to help and see you succeed than other people in aviation. We are a small community and everyone you talk to will give you advice. You may not have even asked for their advice, but they are happy to give their two cents.

I have come to learn that associating yourself with organizations, management, mentors, and others in the aviation industry is vital to your success and to the success of others. There is so much to learn and so much to give.

The early stages of pilot training can be very overwhelming at times. You are beginning to learn a new way of life and it is difficult to set along a new road. Finding your groove is not the simplest task when you never know what the next day will bring. Just like starting any new hobby, job, or training, the beginning is strenuous. You see others around you doing what you want to do like it was second nature. But as long as you continue with an open mind, remain teachable, and put in the work, you will progress. Never stop learning. The moment you stop is the moment you fall behind.

My training at United Aviate Academy in Goodyear, Arizona has been very exciting. I am working on earning my private certificate and have begun the cross country stages of my training. Starting to fly cross-country really opens your eyes to the fact that you are actually FLYING above life under you and are viewing the world from a new perspective. A few days ago I had the opportunity to fly to Sedona and land on their “tabletop” runway. I am still in disbelief that my lesson was to fly a Cirrus, navigate to Sedona, and practice my short-field landings on top of a plateau. I also have begun flying at night, practicing unusual attitudes, and tracking VOR radials. As stressful as aviation can be, when you sit back and think of all the amazing things you are doing, you become dumbfounded.

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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 few months. Natalie is attending the academy via a joint scholarship awarded 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.

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