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Why Start this Blog?

What other career field do you know of where the entry level position is an instructor?

Less than a year and a half ago, I had 0 flight experience and was answering questions like, "How do planes fly?" with the answer, "Magic!". Then I found myself, just over 200 flight hours later, having graduated from an accelerated professional pilot program with a piece of paper stating I was qualified to teach other brand-new pilots. Crazy right?!

I was lucky enough to land a flight instructor gig at a small school, in a small town, in Alaska. The only thing stronger than my excitement to live and fly in the location of my dreams, was my anxiety about the amount of "new" I suddenly found myself facing.

Dat New New:

- I studied in a very structured part 141 school and would be teaching for a part 61 school where I would create whatever structure was needed.

- I trained on all glass, G100 cockpits and would be teaching on 6 packs, even for instrument students.

- I came from a world of Piper, low wing aircraft and was transitioning to a school that had both low wing and high wing planes, but quickly realized the state as a whole revolved around high wings.

- I was familiar with towered airports, busy airspace, and procedures for everything under the sun. I would be instructing in a state twice as big as Texas, that held only 9 control towers, not all of which were full time.

- Alaska is the only state that actually relies on the use of weather cameras and flight service stations for briefings over foreflight of other online diagrams.

- In my sunny Arizona experience, rain meant cancelations and personal minimums came with a strict wind limitation. I quickly learned, if that was the approach I took in the last frontier, I would never fly. My limitations would need to grow and fast.

- I had been groomed to instruct in a part 141 school where there were separate ground school and flight instructors and where the lesson plans were detailed and organized for you. I found myself starting my instructor career at a school, where not only would I be providing the ground and flight instruction, but I had two weeks to do so. I would be teaching an accelerated course, my new school's specialty.

Fast forward a month later, three students and one checkride sign off in, and it dawned on me... I can't be the only one who's ever felt the weight of all things "new".

I also know it can be intimidating starting somewhere unfamiliar, doing something you're still trying to convince yourself you're ready to do. I know how it feels to have a question but be scared to ask it because you're supposed to be the expert now.

I've been made fun of, belittled, stared at, man-splaned to, and ignored. I've had cringy interactions and moments where I had to walk outside to keep from crying in front of others.

However, I've also found a few awesome people who really stepped up and offered some much needed guidance. I've found laughter and joy through my students. I've found resilience, patience, and strength within myself.

My journey is just getting started. But I'm proud of myself for what I've faced in one month as a flight instructor and in Alaska.

I'm excited to see what kind of person I'll become in another month from now!

So, here I am, sharing the highs and lows of my journey with you. I want to pass along what I've learned in the hopes to create a more progressive, cohesive environment for new instructors. I want you to know this platform is a safe place to ask questions and share stories.

Together, we can create a community that lifts one another up and encourages each other, as women, as flight instructors, and as individuals.

As my grandpa said to me, "Remember to have fun while flying!"

I'll just add, "Through this crazy thing called life."

Thanks for sharing my journey with me

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