The goal of this blog is to show the steps which I will be taking over the next few years in my pursuit of a Professional Pilot career. I will show step by step my path towards this goal, beginning with my first Flight Lesson. In addition, I will show you what inspires me in aviation from the flights I have taken to the people I have met. Along the way, I hope to inspire young or new pilots to follow their passion and take it to the next level.
Share Your Story: Sarina Houston, Aviation Writer, ERAU Graduate
Welcome to the 28th "Share Your Story" post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, novels, etc. These posts show students the diverse range of experiences/careers available to them in aviation. More details + how to participate can be found via the following: Click Here and Get Involved
--------------------- From Sarina Houston...
I was 15 or 16 years old and visiting my dad for a summer in
Idaho when I took my first flight. At the time he lived on a ranch north of
Boise that had a gravel landing strip. He was working on his pilot's license
and his instructor flew out to the ranch with a Cessna 172 for a flight.
When my dad woke me up at 6 a.m. unexpectedly one morning for
a "plane ride," I rolled my eyes and thought …here we go on another one of dad's 'adventures.' I dragged myself
out of bed rather reluctantly, not knowing that that precise moment in time
would shape my future.
This is where the value of a really great instructor is
often overlooked. I think back on that flight, about how little I knew about
airplanes, and about how this one instructor had the power to influence my
feelings toward aviation in one way or another. He could've been annoyed that I wanted to tag
along. He could've made me observe from the back seat. But he didn't. Instead, he
handed me the controls and let me fly. That day, he made me believe I could fly an airplane.
When I got back home to Michigan, I went to the local
airport on a whim and asked for a job. Days later, I was working at the local
FBO answering phones, washing planes and managing aircraft logbooks. Every two
weeks, I handed over my paycheck in exchange for flight time... To read more of Sarina's "Share Your Story" article, click below. (If you're already on the full article, ignore this)
The following summer I found myself applying for colleges. I
had my eye on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University but the cost made me focus my
efforts elsewhere. Then, at the last minute, a huge scholarship came through
for ERAU and I accepted it.
So in 2001, I moved to Prescott, Arizona to attend ERAU. It
was amazing. I was surrounded by aviation gurus. The airplanes were shiny and
the weather was gorgeous. I was in heaven.
Things weren't always perfect. I didn't have any financial
help from my parents, so for much of my college life I worked two jobs, had a
full course load and flew 2-3 times per week. I ate nothing but rice and
bananas for an entire semester. I bought a car for $1,000 that would break down
every now and then. I was the definition of "starving pilot" in every
possible way. But my persistence worked,
and during my last semester I was offered a coveted internship at my favorite airline.
It was only the beginning, but I felt like life couldn't get any better. ERAU Prescott Introduction Video:
And then it did. I graduated and married my best friend (now
an Air Force pilot) and we departed on this crazy thing called life, complete
with two children, lots of traveling and the constant hum of airplanes
My current job as an aviation writer came after we had children
and moved overseas. I found myself in the middle of nowhere in a foreign
country with a baby, and although I looked for jobs, there just wasn't anything
for me to do. Staying at home was nice, but I wanted to keep my brain active
and keep up with the aviation world, so I got a master's degree and focused on developing
a writing portfolio. Since then, my writing business has become almost a
full-time gig. Hopefully I'll be back in the airplane again soon - my aviation
bucket list is full of things to do, like a CFII, MEI, seaplane rating and
I've been able to see and do some pretty cool things in
aviation. Highlights include meeting Herb Kelleher, riding in a P-51, flying a
border patrol helicopter and a getting to fly on a brand new 737-800 out of
I've had a lot of great flights, but my favorite flight of
all was my CFI check ride. I had my
first job lined up at an FBO, pending successful completion of my CFI, so a lot
was riding on that flight. But I knew my stuff and I knew I could teach it. When
the exam was over, I wasn't surprised that I'd passed, but I got into my car
and cried tears of joy. The CFI check ride is like the Holy Grail of flight
training, and I had passed! And I had a job waiting for me. After years of hard
work, I had finally made it, andit was a good feeling.
You can find me on
Twitter @FlyTrueNorth, at www.tnwriting.com or at www.aviation.about.com.
Thanks so much Sarina for writing in and sharing your story. After having just visited Embry-Riddle, Daytona, it's great to be in touch with another graduate! I'm very impressed with how you've managed to combine two of your passions, aviation and writing, into one really great career. When I began flight training, I often read your about.com articles, never knowing that I'd soon know you personally... so cool!
Thanks again for writing in and participating in the Share Your Story section of the blog,
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot