I was lucky enough to be raised in an environment where I was surrounded by pilots. My Dad flies 787’s internationally for American Airlines and was an attack helicopter in the Marines before he started working for the airlines. My grandfather was a Marine General and aviator himself. He flew pretty much every aircraft imaginable. He received a purple heart for being shot down in the military, breaking his leg, and making it back with his crew alive. Two of my uncles were fighter pilots and became Top Gun instructors. One of them would go on to be a Blue Angel pilot as well. I have an aunt who is a corporate pilot and she flies private jets out of the class delta airport in my hometown.
Due to my family’s involvement in the aviation industry, I grew up attending airshows regularly and hearing all sorts of stories. I thought this was normal and that every kid had this experience. I remember as a young kid watching my uncle perform amazing maneuvers with the Blue Angels where he was treated as a superstar. It was fascinating being surrounded by this during my childhood but made me take it for granted. I thought flying was amazing, but never really considered it as a career until I was much older.
Fast forward to college, I was planning on becoming a dentist. I always inspected people's teeth and it interested me until I started at my university with biology and chemistry classes. I then did the math of how many years of school I would need to complete to fulfill my dream of becoming a dentist. I took some time off school to reevaluate my future plans. That is where I looked at my father’s lifestyle and it finally clicked. He gets paid to travel the world while being home most of the month. I quickly switched majors and decided after I finished my degree I would enroll in flight school.
After graduation, I worked with my dad to find a competent flight school in my area. I knew that I was not ready to leave San Diego yet and wanted to do my flight training at home. I enrolled at ATP Flight School because of the speed of their program. I have now finished my private pilot license, Instrument add-on, Commercial license, and recently became a certified flight instructor. While I still have a few more ratings to finish up before becoming an instructor full-time, I am glad I took a step back to think about what I really want to do for a career. I could not be happier with the choice I made and I look forward to what the future holds.