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Pilot Indy:

My name is Rachel, I’m 26 years old. I only recently became involved in aviation and have been hooked ever since! I was born in the Midwest moved around quite a bit, and am most recently from Minnesota. I currently reside in NY where I graduated from university with a degree in Archaeology, yes that’s right, quite different from aviation. I have worked on a few different dig projects since graduation. I attended a Field School in Kenya in the Turkana desert working on human evolution with a specialty in stone tools. After that, I worked on a project in Crete, Greece again as their stone tool analyst.

My passion has always been to travel as many places as possible, and while I love archaeology I just felt like I couldn’t progress any further than I wanted so I began making new lists and finding jobs that tick the boxes. I knew I could never do a desk job... and after a while of searching, my dad, who is an Instrument rated pilot, and my boyfriend, encouraged me to take a discovery flight. I was a little wary at first, since I had a fear of flying (haha)...but I took the flight and that was it. Ever since then I have been pursuing Aviation as a full time career. I caught the bug!

I currently train at a private flight school on Long Island and hold a Private Pilot certificate, working towards my Instrument Rating. I am fortunate to have a flight school that is still open and allowing training, but like everyone else, with the shutdowns we can only do so much. I am halfway through my instrument and love it so far. The more I learn the more I wonder how I ever flew without instrument knowledge! I couldn’t imagine being caught in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) with only a Private rating. I plan on earning my commercial single and multi, CFI, and CFII so that I am able to have instruction as an option for building my hours. Ideally I would love to fly out in the bush (or any mountainous areas) for various companies and build my hours that way. My goal is to work for the airlines, but of course I am open to all the opportunities that aviation allows for.

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned in aviation is to be patient and have a great sense of perseverance because there are so many variables, such as weather, planes breaking down, timing, money, etc that might set you off track and you just need to learn to adapt and continue on. For me personally, a major challenge/setback is trying to find funding because we all know it’s very expensive. I have definitely faced my fair share of setbacks with this.

I lost my loan due to COVID-19, and had to re-adapt my plan. In the end it actually ended up being the better route, and was very, very fortunate to have my father help me. But again, this is where patience and perseverance are so important. If one thing doesn’t work out, move on to the next. I would say just don't give up if it’s what you truly want. There are so many different options, and so many people in the aviation community that want to help you succeed. I think that’s been a really beautiful thing, is that there is such a sense of community and support. As for the actual flying, my advice would be study hard, the FAR/AIM is actually your best friend, and just have fun! This really is an amazing thing we get to do.

I would love to see myself in 10 years from now being a captain for an airline, living somewhere out west, and trying to help and encourage people who are just starting out on this journey as I am.


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