Hi! I am Kimberly Novak and I was born in New Jersey. I moved to Central Florida when I was 13 years old. I am a first generation pilot within my family and I always had my love for traveling. When I was 19 years old, I moved to Malaysia and the Philippines for two years. I have been to 26 countries and still counting. I moved back to the States and went back to college. I was sitting in accounting class one day and realized, “Why am I even doing this?”. I took an intro discovery flight when I was 18 years old and I loved it but I chose to attend a private college. I wouldn’t have been able to afford flight academy and college. So one day I woke up and said, “This will be my journey”.
I bartended day and nights and held three jobs while attending a flight school in Orlando. I was saving money because Arnold Tillman (my AME and mentor) informed me of ATP since they had expedited class graduation dates. I had roughly 30 hours and decided to take the plunge and start with the 0 hour program at Daytona Beach, Florida. Because of my journey, I have grown up to love myself even more than I could imagine and embrace my love for flying. I have grown in confidence with the help from my peers and mentors. My biggest advice I have told myself and still tell myself to this day is to never give up. Just because today may have been a “bad flight” doesn’t mean tomorrow will be a “bad” flight too. It’s only up from here.
After my time at ATP, I left to be a CFII for Air China cadets at Flight Safety International with my boyfriend Mark Zurick. Due to the global pandemic, we were fortunate enough to be hired by Skywarrior in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I currently screen future pilots and N.F.O.s in the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. In less than 13 hours, I train students for all of the private manoeuvres and landings. They all solo in less than 13 hours. I am also a cadet for Republic and hopefully will be based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
My biggest advice I tell my students is to always keep your chin up. No one is perfect and everyone will have a rough landing. If I could travel back in time and speak to 18 year old self, I would tell her to keep doing what she is doing because I wouldn’t change a thing. To those reading this, I encourage you to follow your dreams and take a leap of faith because you’ll never know how your life will be unless you try.